Julie Rehmeyer's 'Through the Shadowlands'
Writer Never Give Up talks about Julie Rehmeyer's new book "Through the Shadowlands: A Science Writer's Odyssey into an Illness Science Doesn't Understand" and shares an interview with Julie ...
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Improve when I get a virus? Ideas anyone?

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by Bunchy, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. Bunchy

    Bunchy Senior Member

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    Hi all,

    I need some thoughts on the following:

    Every time I get a virus or “half virus” which doesn’t even develop properly (more common for me these days), my symptoms improve significantly, especially pain and sleep.

    Questions:

    Why could this be?

    What is happening to me when I get a virus that could possibly make my CNS/neuropathic pain improve so much?

    Is there any drug that I could take that would replicate this improvement?

    Probably have more questions but it’s late here.

    LoveEsperanza x
     
  2. Mattman1

    Mattman1

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    Hi Esperanza,

    I made a thread a few weeks ago on this, but involving Colds-- some forum members also seem to agree that there is something to this, and I'm currently trying to piece some of the puzzle together myself to try and see if I could find any more research on this, though I doubt there is currently much. I personally get optimistic because of this-- I think it's an interesting clue for some of us as to some of the mechanisms of an underlying disease, though we currently don't understand it.
     
  3. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1

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    Its probably something to do with the Th1/Th2 balance and possibly something thriving in the imbalance, the type of things u are catching are probably helping correct Th2 dominance which then could be allowing it to fight something else in your body which usually it cant fight (whatever is sitting happy with the ME, one of the ME coexisting viruses or maybe even whatever causes the ME itself).

    Dr Cheney on this http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=7639

    and yes there are some treatments which can help correct this incorrect balance, its something some ME specialists work on fixing.
     
  4. Adster

    Adster Senior Member

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    I'm going to speak to an immunologist about this early next year as I have the same thing happen when I catch a head cold(virus). I suspect it's an immune suppression/balancing thing. You could try Th1 immune boosters.
     
  5. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Which way does your sleep improve, more, less, timing? This could be a clue.
     
  6. Adster

    Adster Senior Member

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    I'm not sure who you were asking Alex, but mine improves along with my mood. Sleep is more restorative and less broken.
     
  7. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Thanks adster, I am trying to udnerstand the chemistry of ME sleep issues, every little bit is another clue.
     
  8. Adster

    Adster Senior Member

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    Cheers Alex, thanks for trying to work it all out! There are proven links between sleep and Th1/Th2 balance, but the other way around; ie sleep affecting the immune system.

    I wonder if there is a subset or entirely unique illness going on here, there seems to be a group with this particular trait.
     
  9. clive powney

    clive powney Senior Member

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    I seem to be very similar - except that I pretty much always feel quite a bit better the 2 or 3 days BEFORE a cold or whatever comes out on me. I dont get hardly anything anymore - perhaps 1 cold every year or 18 months, but when I do it happens as above.
    Also if it is of any significance - I ALWAYS (up to age 40) used to get at least 1 bad stomach bug a year - throwing up + diarrhea and I have gone through my whole life like this, UNTIL I got this illness. I have had 1 stomach bug in the last 10 years ??????
     
  10. Mij

    Mij Senior Member

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    I am thinking based on my own experiences that it does depends on which trigger/virus has come to surface.

    Alex, in general for the past 22yrs with ME my sleep has not been too much of an issue so I have a basic baseline. On 3 separate occcasions in the past, severe insomnia came on suddenly (was sleeping like a baby and then my sleep switched off like a light switch completely overnight for weeks and months) it came on without notice and was quite scary because I had no sleep meds.and felt like I was going off the edge. During that time I had neurological/viral symptoms, very different from flu like symptoms or other things I've experienced.
     
  11. Bunchy

    Bunchy Senior Member

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    Wow thanks :) - so many replies - I thought no-one would have any ideas! Seems quite a few of us have this phenomenon.

    I really don't get why doctors can't identify what is going on with this. I would have thought an immunologist, at least, would understand this as it seems as if it should be simple to work out for someone who studies the immune system in depth.

    I'm in the UK :rolleyes: and if I want to try anything new, I'm not going to get listened to or taken seriously unless I take in reliable convincing medical research to the consultation that will persuade my GP or an immunologist to give something a try in the absence of extensive blood tests showing anything significant to date except for some positive inflammatory markers in the past.

    I've always suspected the Th1/Th2 shift plays a big part in my illness but not sure how to explain this to a (sceptical in the UK!!) doctor and make them understand that if I could replicate this "improvement when I get a virus" with a drug, I would likely be significantly more functional and in a lot less pain.

    taniaaust1 - can you tell me which drugs might help address this? Dosing??

    alex3619 - sleep is deeper, more restorative and delayed sleep phase disorder improves.

    @Adster- I'd be really grateful if you could keep us updated on what your immunologist says about this.

    clive powney- yes, the few days before a virus is when I actually start to feel better.

    Any written info (medical) that I could print off for my doc on Th1/Th2 shift and drugs that address this?

    Anyone treated this successfully or even with partial success?

    Love Esperanza x
     
  12. Sparrow

    Sparrow Senior Member

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    I've never noticed that I'm any better when I'm sick. Will have to pay closer attention next time. But a lot of my issue is feeling sick all the time anyway, so maybe the difference just isn't obvious for me.

    I've read some things about autoimmune conditions getting worse or more prevalent in some cases when people treated long-standing infections. Not sure how much there is to back that up yet, but it might be a theory. Maybe if you have an overactive immune system, you feel a little better if it's busy fighting other invaders rather than your own tissues?

    I've sometimes wondered if this mechanism might be involved in why people tend to feel worse when they first start Valcyte. The immune system is still ramped up to crisis levels and ready for war, but you've taken away the enemy forces. Might take some time to adjust to the new situation.
     
  13. Bunchy

    Bunchy Senior Member

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    Another thing - when I do have a virus, it feels like something in my system that is usually over-reacting all the time (and therefore causing a lot of my symptoms) is being suppressed for the duration of the virus therefore giving relief from the usual symptoms.

    Can this be explained by the Th1/Th2 response also or does it mean something else?

    Love Esperanza x
     
  14. Sea

    Sea Senior Member

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    I'm another one who has experienced feeling much better in the few days before a cold really hits. The most notable for me is that I have energy and need less sleep. Doctors I've mentioned this to are speechless, they've no idea what to say. It obviously doesn't fit any pattern that they're aware of. I could always tell when I was getting a cold before I had any symptoms of it.

    This happened for me several times a year for the first 20 years. The last few years though it hasn't happened at all. I only know I have a cold now because of the symptoms and feeling much worse overall. I have wondered why and whether it's any indication of better or worse immune function.
     
  15. alwayshopeful

    alwayshopeful

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    Sparrow, I am like you. I always feel like I have the flu, so never know if that's what it is or not! But in the 6 years I have been sick, I haven't had even one cold. Don't know if that's a positive or not...LOL
     
    *GG* likes this.
  16. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    Your improvements in symptoms when you catch a virus (presumably a cold virus) may well be due to the fever effect.

    The symptoms of conditions like autism and ADHD are known to significantly improve during a fever.


    I experience this myself: I have always had ADHD, which means I find it hard to concentrate on information being presented (and my ADHD is even worse now that I have ME/CFS). However, on days that I come down with a cold, as my body temperature goes up, I often find my mental focus and concentration becoming razor sharp during that raised temperature / fever period.

    Nobody knows why fever is such a powerful (but temporary) improver of autism and ADHD symptoms, but there has been some speculation that changes which take place in the locus coeruleus area of the brain (which regulates fever) may underpin the improvements in symptoms seen during raised body temperature due to an infection.
     
  17. Sea

    Sea Senior Member

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    Interesting Hip. I don't think I get a fever with a cold, but my temperature may well rise closer to 'normal'. I haven't taken it to find out. My usual temperature is subnormal
     
  18. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    What is also interesting is that it seems the locus coeruleus (LC) is deeply involved in pain pathways: this study mentions that: "in addition to its well-known inhibition of acute and inflammatory pain, the LC facilitates the development and maintenance of neuropathic pain".

    So the activity in your locus coeruleus during the fever you get from catching a cold may well be modulating your pain sensations.
     
  19. natasa778

    natasa778 Senior Member

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    Yes that is true, but it is also true that there are some kids (and adults?) with autism that do MUCH worse during fever and/or illness. There is no research on those who do worse, but from personal observations and anecdotes kids from this group seem to be 'very anxious + irritable' types whose anxiety and irritability goes into extreme overdrive during illness with fever.
     
  20. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    Very interesting Natasa; I did not know that.

    The locus coeruleus and the amygdala are the main brain areas associated with anxiety disorder, and stimulating either area evokes anxiety states. So this might explain why the autistic kids/adults that you mention, who are predisposed to high anxiety levels to begin with, might then suffer significant elevations in anxiety levels when the locus coeruleus is activated through fever.
     

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