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Should Physical exertion and Mental exertion be separated for PEM?

Discussion in 'Post-Exertional Malaise, Fatigue, and Crashes' started by Firestormm, Aug 19, 2012.

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Should Physical exertion and Mental exertion be separated for PEM?

  1. Yes, physical/mental PEM should be separately studied and given new names

    33.3%
  2. No, both physical and mental PEM should studied together

    53.3%
  3. We should leave things alone - no further clarification is needed

    13.3%
  1. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

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    Levi posted originally what I thought was an interesting poll over on MECFS Forums recently: http://www.mecfsforums.com/index.php/topic,13121.msg140387.html#new

    It is probably not a clear-cut issue I suspect and you can read, should you wish, the replies thus far on the link above. I just thought it was something worth opening up to wider debate.

    I do have his permission to repost here.

    Levi's opening comment: 10 August 2012:

  2. Mij

    Mij Senior Member

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    Well physical and mental exhaustion are both caused by decreased ATP production, no? Not producing enough energy on demand. My simplified answer of course ;)

    I certainly would never tell a doctor that is unfamiliar with the pathology of ME that I have PEM. Un malaise means a "discomfort". You can have "un malaise" watching someone on t.v doing something embarrassing or inappropriate :rolleyes:
    Little Bluestem and Firestormm like this.
  3. peggy-sue

    peggy-sue

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    I found when I was first ill that physical and mental PEM would often trade off each other.
    Overdoing physically could make my brain stop, overdoing mentally could make my body stop.

    In payback for a big "overdoing", there are always a few days of clinical-type depression now too - mental.

    They can't be seperated, they interact. The interaction should be studied.
    So I can't really vote!
    taniaaust1 and Firestormm like this.
  4. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

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    I don't know Mij, are they? :)

    I think one of my later comments on the other forum was that whilst it seems from my own perspective that physical and mental exertion should be separated - it is perfectly reasonable to believe that at some point in the future it will be determined that an underlying mechanism is responsible for both - or at least is capable of influencing both.
  5. Mij

    Mij Senior Member

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    Firestorm, I agree with you. I guess we can speak from our own experiences too. For me, I didnt' have mental exhaustion/equilibrium difficulty/speech problems/nausea/unable to stand upright etc etc (PEM)after reading, preparing tax forms, concentrating etc for the first 10yrs of my illness. It was AFTER the 10yr mark when my health improved that I started to exercise a little and became more active physically that I starting experiencing this horrible "PEM" both physically and mentally. It appears as though the increase in physical activity affected my mental energy. Now both the mental and physical are affected and interchangeable; do too much physically it affects my brain, do too much concentrating then it affects my leg muscles and physical being.
    Ok, what I just wrote seems to imply they are both related lol Funny how my minds works when I actually write it down. I'll go vote on your poll now :))
    taniaaust1 and Firestormm like this.
  6. meandthecat

    meandthecat

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    I have always felt that the big problem with ME and such conditions is that they are firmly in the disputed region between mental and physical and that instead of that being acknowledged and studied we become part of the turf-war. Personally I find the distinction an anachronism but such is the inertia within medicine that's not going to change anytime soon.
    Any studies will come at it from one side or the other, but for me the symptoms are so intertwined that I think they should be studied together. This is such an opportunity to forge a new understanding of how we work there have to be smart doctors out there willing to take up the challenge. Unfortunately, living in the UK, it won't be happening here.

    My doc can't even acknowledge that I have CFS so what chance talking about PEM.
    Firestormm likes this.
  7. Mij

    Mij Senior Member

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    Why do you feel they should be separate?
  8. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

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    Oh right. Good question. Here is what I said on the other forum. I'm not saying it will help mind, because, well, you'll see:

    And then,

    So I think it isn't necessarily straightforward, but at present it is based on subjective patient reporting of symptoms and on that basis I think you can separate the two. Should science prove e.g. the central nervous system or immune system are abnormal it might prove these abnormalities do affect both mental and physical responses to exertion/exercise.

    And if that doesn't make sense. I'll try again tomorrow. Only my vision is blurred now and I'm not thinking clearly. Mental PEM you see ;)
  9. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

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    For me, they're connected. Mental exertion can make me mentally and physically exhausted (and lead to PENE). Physical exertion can make me mentally and physically exhausted (and lead to PENE). It seems to me to be all the same failure of the energy system.
    Ocean, Little Bluestem and L'engle like this.
  10. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    PENE/PEM are likely to have the same mechanism for mental and physical function, though this is not certain. However the impact will be different on the brain than on the muscles or heart. For this reason alone we should be looking wider in the research. A simple mind/body dichotomy wont do it though - I suspect we need to research this organ by organ.

    The organs with highest energy demand are heart and brain. They should at least be investigated separately. I do not recall the other organ systems, though I would be very interested in both liver and gastrointesintal function during PEM.

    Bye, Alex
  11. Mij

    Mij Senior Member

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    Firsestorm, I think you did contradict yourself.. I agree the symptoms that people are describing can be subjective, but PENE is distinctive for those who actually experience it.

    The mitochondria are our energy factories, this is where ATP is produced. They are found inside the brain where they do their hardest work. The brain consumes around 20% of the bodies O2 and half of our sugars we get from our diet. The brain is unable to store ATP and the mito are unable to share ATP from other mito in other organs.
    So, if the mito in our brain stop producing ATP, the ATP produced by the mito in our heart can not help out.

    My doctor explained to me that if we cause too much oxidative stress from exericisng etc, it can permanantly damage the mito DNA and once damaged that cell no longer produces energy.
    justy, peggy-sue and Little Bluestem like this.
  12. L'engle

    L'engle moderate ME

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    I think mental PEM is distinct from brain fog. Mental PEM is the painful physical sensations that are similar to those for the body, but they occur in the head. Headaches, a sense of overworked muscles, weakness. It is tied to brain fog, but brain fog seems to be there before during and after exertion, while for me mental PEM starts either on initiating mental activity, or on good days, after I have been able to do a small amount of mental activity. It is allied to physical sensations much more than brain fog is. It prevents continuing function, due to the exhaustion. It may trigger differently and require different treatment than physical PEM but I think it is basically caused by the same things. Brain fog seems a somewhat different category of symptom.
  13. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senescent on the Illinois prairie, USA

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    You do not need to take the search beyond the mitochondria. Mitochondria provide energy for the brain the same as they do for the muscles. When I was an undergraduate, a medical student on my dorm floor told us that a person who is seriously studying is using as much energy as a person who is power walking or jogging.
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  14. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senescent on the Illinois prairie, USA

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    I think the dispute could be extended to what is mental. Is it psychological issues or is neurological and cognitive function issues.
  15. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    i didnt vote as Im not sure.

    For me working my brain will cause brain PEM (not necessarily other kinds of PEM thou occassionally it does) but being physical can cause me PENE (including to my brain. my brain in this case thou may be having an after effect to the POTS).

    I personally think we know enough already to know that this symptoms is probably to do with the mitochondria. I'd just like to know more on the whys? and how do we fix the mito issue causing these symptoms?. Why arent our mito working right? So seeing the same thing with mito is probably going on whether its in our brain or elsewhere.. maybe they shouldnt be separated??

    Maybe thou people who dont get PEM in both the brain and elsewhere..should be a group which should be studied separate? as mito are everywhere in the body, so with mito issue one would expect that both forms of PEM to happen at times.

    Mij's post thou was very interesting being that brain PEM didnt happen for him/her the first 10 years. I dont know if mito issues would fit with that description or not.
  16. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

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    Some great comments - thanks.

    So for the past week the only exertion I have really engaged in has been mental. By that I mean I haven't pushed things physically by e.g. trying to go for a walk with my dog, which would usually result in purely physical payback.

    See, I can sit here working away, and push beyond by comfort zone, and suffer purely mental effects. No muscles are affected. Yes I am shattered, but mentally so, and take last night, it is the neurological symptoms that flare and feel depleted the following day.

    Now if I was to go beyond my physical exercise comfort zone, and incur payback, the symptoms are largely relating to muscle. And it is largely muscular problems I have the following day.

    I mean I'm exhausted or fatigued all the time, but specific exertion results in specific (in the main) and distinct consequences. Of course it isn't always realistic to exert oneself solely through mental or solely physical activity.

    But as I said I haven't discounted the notion that something connects it all, and yes, mitochondria would be one of the things I guess that if treated successfully could result in improvements all round in terms of PEM.
  17. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

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    Any thoughts on Levi's inaugural comments?

    Do studies involving mitochondria tend to report in terms of muscle fatigue/muscle energy for example?
  18. peggy-sue

    peggy-sue

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    When I was first ill I used to find I got bouts of symptoms in different body systems or parts.
    Sometimes it would be my brain, but other times my legs, sometimes it would be my chest and neck - that was awful - breathing was really hard - I had to remember to do it and I couldn't hold my head up, sometimes it would be my digestive system.
    The brain is just part of the body, and very often it's the bit that goes.
    I'm absolutely convinced it's mitochondrial.
    I'm still on the fence about whether mental and physical should be studied seperately.:confused:
    Each exerts completely different problems on us and how we cope, but the root cause is the same.
    SaraM and Firestormm like this.
  19. Mij

    Mij Senior Member

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    It appears there is also decreased blood flow to the brain in ME. I would love to know why. I don't know if this is the case for me since I was never tested, but it sure feels like. Mito needs O2 in order to manufacture ATP, so without adequate bloodflow to our brain less energy is produced.
  20. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

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    I think perhaps any confusion or concern arises because as a diagnostic symptom (something you have to have in order to get a diagnosis), PEM relates to any exertion response.

    What I think Levi and certainly me were wondering is if this symptom can/should be researched as a collective entity or sub-divided perhaps into looking at 'mental' and 'physical' responses/abnormalities.

    Does that make more/less/no sense? :eek:

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