Phoenix Rising Articles

Hyperparathyroidism: An Often Overlooked Differential Diagnosis to ME/CFS

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Hyperparathyroidism: An Often Overlooked Differential Diagnosis to ME/CFS

Andrew Gladman puts hyperparathyroidism under the microscope, exploring what the disease is, how it can mimic ME/CFS in presentation and how it is treated.

Chronic fatigue syndrome or ME/CFS is, whether we like it or not, by current definition a diagnosis of exclusion. The biggest diagnostic task is therefore differentiating it from the plethora of other disorders that also have a fatigue component.

ME/CFS may be distinguished from other causes of fatigue on the basis of certain presenting symptoms such as cognitive dysfunction, which is not present in almost all other fatigue-producing disorders. Once a specific cause of fatigue has been diagnosed, CFS is then excluded, by definition.

The problem that arises, however, is that almost any chronic illness that produces extensive...

ME/CFS and Beating the Clock

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ME/CFS and Beating the Clock

For Jody Smith, the ticking of a clock was enough at one time to chase her back to her bed. But with the passage of time, she has been able to reclaim her living room ...

I have two clocks in my living room. One clock is on the wall across from where I usually sit at my computer. The other is on the wall to my left. I guess this might be an unusual arrangement, not to be found in most homes, but it has been practical for me.

I have had long intense bouts of what I have called tendinitis over the years, affecting my neck, shoulders, arms, hands, legs and feet. My guess is that this is part of my particular brand of ME/CFS, but who knows.

Depending on what area was...

9th Invest in ME International ME Conference, 2014 - Part 1: Autoimmunity and ME

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Mark submitted a new blog post:

9th Invest in ME International ME Conference, 2014 - Part 1: Autoimmunity and ME

Mark Berry begins a series of articles on the 9th Invest in ME International ME Conference in London, with a look at three presentations on autoimmunity

This is the first in a series of articles reporting on the 9th Invest in ME International ME Conference (IIMEC9), held as usual in the Lecture Theatre at 1 Birdcage Walk in Westminster on May 30th, 2014.

You can view the full conference programme (with biographies of the speakers) here, and the Conference Journal is available as a PDF document...

Never Ask Us if We're Hungry -- The Answer's Always No

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Never Ask Us if We're Hungry -- The Answer's Always No

If you're ever at Jody Smith's house, don't bother asking anybody if they are hungry ...

One of the most ridiculous questions you can ask in my house is "Are you hungry?"

There are three of us here and for many years, none of us ever got hungry. When our brains would turn to mush, when our faces would go numb, and we would start the invisible vibration which is the signature dance of ME/CFS, we knew we needed to eat.

Or rather, we knew we should have eaten something about twenty minutes ago and saved ourselves this distress.

For me, this realization hit after I started eating low carb. I was making a point of eating about every four...

Part 2: Brain Cells Making us Sick? Messed up microglia could be driving symptoms

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Simon submitted a new blog post:

Part 2: Brain Cells Making us Sick? Messed up microglia could be driving symptoms

Simon McGrath looks at theories that microglia, the brain's immune cells, might be overactive and driving the symptoms of ME/CFS and fibromyalgia.

In Part 1, he described how the body reacts to infection or wounding with a “sickness response” that partly resembles ME/CFS, and how the microglia are the last step in the physiological mechanisms that lead to sickness response.
Could microglia be behind the symptoms of ME/CFS? Artist's image of a microglia. © 2012 Hagop...

Brain Cells Making us Sick? The microglia connection in ME/CFS & Fibromyalgia

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(click title to view blog properly)
Simon McGrath looks at theories that microglia, the brain's immune cells, could trigger and perpetuate the symptoms of ME/CFS and fibromyalgia.

'Sickness Behaviour': the immune system releases cytokines in response to infection, which activates microglia in the brain and creates symptoms including fatigue, pain and cognitive problems.

Your dog can’t tell you when she's feeling sick, but even so, you know. She moves slowly, she doesn’t eat, she sleeps a lot, she curls up in a corner by herself. “Sickness behavior" is shared by all mammals, and in humans...

Lessons from ME/CFS: Finding Meaning in the Suffering

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Lessons from ME/CFS: Finding Meaning in the Suffering

Andrew Gladman muses upon what lessons he has taken from two years of ME/CFS.

If you're aware of my previous articles here at Phoenix Rising then it's pretty clear that I don't generally spend my time musing upon the philosophy of the disease. I find it better to spend my time reading research and trying my best to break it down to its core elements and write about it.

Every now and then, however, I like to dip my toes in and test the waters per say at the other end of the spectrum.

Recently I've been musing upon what my illness has taught me about myself and the greater world we live in. I'm not a believer in the notion...

ME/CFS: In Free Fall Through the Looking Glass

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Phoenix Rising Team submitted a new blog post:

ME/CFS: In Free Fall Through the Looking Glass

Jody Smith continues to try to put into words the horror of the altered state that hobbles the brains of those with ME/CFS...


If you're not a fan of hallucinatory drugs you're gonna hate ME/CFS.

When I first became ill in March of 1992, the feeling of altered reality inside my head, the shaking which could not be seen in my arms and hands and which later spread to the rest of my body, the uncertainty with which I navigated, never quite sure I could physically accomplish a walk across the floor without falling or bumping into things ... these things were bizarre and alarming.

The inability to think clearly, to be able to comprehend what...

No Longer Naive in the Ways of The Beast

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After having lived for years with ME/CFS, Jody Smith learned there's more to this beast of an illness than she realized, and that what might help one person may not help others ...

When I first got back online five years ago, I was naive in the ways of this beast we call ME/CFS. I guess I thought that whatever it was that I had was what you had ... what they had ... what that person laying on their face over there had ...

Turns out I couldn't have been more wrong.

I had been slowly recovering and I wanted so much to share what I learned with other people who were sick because then they would all get better too.

Yeah. Kind of naive.

I started supplying free articles on ME/CFS to...

The Fable known as The PACE Trial

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Graham, Janelle and Bob, have once again excelled themselves with their latest take on the 'poisoned apple' that was the PACE Trial...

Once upon a time, long, long ago a king and queen ruled over a distant land. The queen was kind and….

Whoops, sorry there! I got confused for a moment. Wrong fantasy tale...

Several years ago a team of psychologists and psychiatrists published the first of their fables about the effectiveness of CBT (and graded exercise) in treating ME/CFS. It was known throughout the world as “The PACE Trial”.

A group of valiant, honest crusaders, mostly members of Phoenix Rising, struggled...

First Direct Evidence of Neuroinflammation - 'Encephalitis' - in ME/CFS

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Simon McGrath reports on the new study that indicates low-grade encephalitis in ME/CFS ...

A small study with just nine patients has captured the attention of patients and researchers alike after reporting direct evidence of inflammation in the brain of ME/CFS patients. The finding was one of the highlights picked out by Professor Anthony Komaroff in his IACFS/ME conference round up.

Neuroinflammation may be behind ME/CFS symptoms
Photo credit: Canstock...

The Mighty Egg: New Life Springs Forth Despite ME/CFS

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Jody Smith finds that even with ME/CFS, new life as symbolized by the mighty egg, can still spring forth ...

The egg has been a symbol of new life since ancient times. Recently, this symbolism has struck home for me personally.

I've eaten a lot of eggs in my time. Particularly in my vegetarian years, I leaned heavily on eggs. Fried, boiled, on their own and in omelets ... And I confess in retrospect that I took them for granted. They were a mainstay that I perhaps didn't fully appreciate till I could no longer eat them.

In February of 2002 I was vaguely aware of a queasiness that...

The Chronic Fatigue Initiative and Interview with Mady Hornig

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In a follow-up article to the recent IACFS/ME conference presentation in San Francisco, and after speaking at length with Dr. Mady Hornig, 'searcher' delves deeper into the impressive work being completed by the Chronic Fatigue Initiative, and focuses in on those cytokine results ...

Members of the Chronic Fatigue Initiative (CFI) and Scott Carlson, the executive director of the Hutchins Family Foundation, gave a talk at lunch-time on the second day of IACFS/ME to share their research thus far and their future plans.

This presentation was one of the highlights of the conference to me because of the high quality research...


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Andrew Gladman reflects upon the recent IACFS/ME conference and the buzz surrounding a small molecule, leptin.

It's safe to say that the past couple of weeks, following the IACFS/ME 2014 conference, have been something of a whirlwind in terms of new ME/CFS research being unveiled.

Now that the dust has had a chance to settle let's take a step back and discuss a topic that many consider to be one of the most promising findings discussed at the conference.

Leptin Molecule. Image by I, Vossman via Wikimedia Commons

Leptin seemed to be the...

Patient Experience: "What Bronllys taught me about pacing."

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In 2012, Maya, who had tried to cope with ME/CFS on her own for many years, attended a pain management centre in Wales, U.K., and is now able to achieve more through pacing and acceptance, than she had been able to before the course...

My name is Maya, I’m 42 and live in Mid- Wales. I have had ME for 8 years, am mostly housebound and use a wheelchair outside.

In April 2012, I underwent a three week residential ME/CFS management programme at Bronllys Pain and Fatigue Management Centre, based in Brecon, Mid-Wales.

My GP has been very supportive since my diagnosis but had run out of ideas so, when she suggested pain management, I felt I had to give it a go.

Pain was...

Science to Patients: Talking ME, Exercise and the Mitochondria - with Dr Charles Shepherd

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The latest video release from the Dutch group ME/cvs Vereniging, with Dr Charles Shepherd from the UK ME Association, and announcing a live chat session to be held Thursday, April 10, 2014...

Dutch group ME/cvs Vereniging present their latest video followed by a chat session with Dr Charles Shepherd from the UK ME Association

ME/cvs Vereniging launched a series of broadcasts from expert clinicians and researchers in January 2013, as part of a government subsidized project called, “Science to...

Time Change Equals Jet Lag, ME/CFS Style

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Jody Smith marvels at how much difference one hour can make to those with ME/CFS, as much of the world has endured The Time Change in recent weeks ...

Where I live, we recently went through a time change, compliments of Daylight Savings Time. Having ME/CFS, I don't need to travel anywhere to get jet lag. I just need the clock to be turned ahead, or backward by one hour.

I know that not everyone lives according to Daylight Savings Time but it happens twice a year in much of the world. Do you experience a crash that happens to occur after one of the time changes of the year?

The one that took place this past November really rocked my household. My son Jesse, who has ME/CFS as well...

In Brief: The Adrenal Glands and ME

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The second in a new series of ‘In Brief’ articles, where Andrew Gladman provides a helpful insight into the science behind fairly common topics, exploring how they relate to ME/CFS. This time he discusses the adrenal glands and why they can be such a talking point ...

Diagram showing the location of the adrenal glands, above the kidneys

While the frequent topics of conversation relating to ME/CFS appear to now be infectious agents, autoimmunity and often a dysfunctional nervous system, many patients and researchers still turn their attention to problems within the endocrine system, namely the adrenal gland.

As the gland within the body centred around stress responses, it is...

The Lipkin Microbiome Crowdfunding Campaign Launches!

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An ambitious $1.27m international, patient-led fundraising campaign storms into action. Sasha invites you to join it!

Dr. W. Ian Lipkin.
Image courtesy of the Columbia University
Center for Infection and Immunity

This week sees the launch of a major new crowdfunding campaign: the Microbe Discovery Project. The campaign aims to raise $1.27 million (£760,000; €910,000) by 31 December 2014 to fund world-famous virus-hunter Dr. Ian Lipkin’s ground-breaking study of ME/CFS and the gut microbiome – our intestinal ecosystem of bacteria, viruses and fungi.

The study

The study is spectacular...

California 2014: IACFS/ME Day Four: Translating Science into Clinical Care: 23 March 2014

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It is Day Four and the final conference session from San Francisco. In this review we hear from Searcher about the neurosciences session, and PET and EEG analysis, then a study on cognitive functioning, followed by a debate on the revised 2014 IACFS/ME Primer, and then we wrap-up the conference with a terrific summary from Dr. Antony Komaroff...

The 11th biennial IACFS/ME conference is being held in San Francisco.
Day Four, the finale, March 23, 2014.

A very warm welcome to our final review from Day Four (March, 23, 2014), of the IACFS/ME four-day conference. It has been a marathon series of presentations and a real team effort to keep...