Dr Vernon Impact of acute psychosocial stress on peripheral blood gene expression ...

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kelly's submission to CO-CURE was posted Dec 8 09 (I'm still trying to catch up)

k:]Dr. Suzanne Vernon of the CFIDS Association continues to collaborate with neo-Freudian Dr. Christine Heim on research regarding the working hypothesis of the physiological role of psychosocial stress.
Biol Psychol. 2009 Oct;82(2):125-32. Epub 2009 Jul 3.
Impact of acute psychosocial stress on peripheral blood gene expression pathways in healthy men.

Nater UM, Whistler T, Lonergan W, Mletzko T, Vernon SD, Heim C.

Chronic Viral Diseases Branch, National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-borne and Enteric Diseases, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd, MS-G41, Atlanta, GA 30329, USA.

We investigated peripheral blood mononuclear cell gene expression responses to acute psychosocial stress to identify molecular pathways relevant to the stress response. Blood samples were obtained from 10 healthy male subjects before, during and after (at 0, 30, and 60 min) a standardized psychosocial laboratory stressor.

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) was extracted and gene expression measured by hybridization to a 20,000-gene microarray. Gene Set Expression Comparisons (GSEC) using defined pathways were used for the analysis. Forty-nine pathways were significantly changed from baseline to immediately after the stressor (p<0.05), implicating cell cycle, cell signaling, adhesion and
immune responses.

The comparison between stress and recovery (measured 30 min later) identified 36 pathways, several involving stress-responsive signaling cascades and cellular defense mechanisms.

These results have relevance for understanding molecular mechanisms of the physiological stress response, and might be used to further study adverse health outcomes of psychosocial stress.

PMID: 19577611 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE
 

Dr. Yes

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And the CAA's Scientific Director is doing psychosomatic research in healthy people why??

I hope, at least, that none of the CAA's funds went into this, or any of her other work with her "neo-Freudian" colleague on psychosocial stress... and that she's spending all her time now on investigating physical mechanisms in ME/CFS.

Anyone else find this disturbing?
 

fresh_eyes

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Wait, what??? Vernon is authoring psychosocial research in conjunction with Emory/CDC in 2009???

ETA I found Hillary Johnson's take on Christine Heim (Vernon's coauthor here) and her research:

http://www.oslersweb.com/blog.htm?post=619089

Were in a whole lot of trouble, people. Im sorry, but its bad. Theres no easy way to break this and one shouldnt even try because this requires real speak.

Appreciation and hats off to Craig Maupins excellent summary on July 30 (posted on Co-Cure) of an editorial in a journal called, Future Neurology. The five-page (including citations) editorial was penned by a former CDC-employee (Senior Scientist, 2001-2006), now employed in the psych dept. at Emory University. Her name is Christine Marcelle Heim; she reveres Sigmund Freud and she even has a breathy German accent to complement that veneration. You can write to her at cmheim@emory.edu.

Thank you Mr. Maupin, once again, for putting it out there. You are not an army of one. You are not alone. You get it, and I suspect there are thousands of others who get it, too, people who are so discouraged and ill and lacking a voice they can only acknowledge the purport of Heims pretend-authorityand roll over in despair.

Christine Heim cut her teeth in the Centers for Disease Control and Promotion CFS program, the little propaganda mill run by Bill Reeves at the agency in Atlanta. Shes a graduate of that pogromI mean, program. If there was any doubt that she is a mouthpiece for the CDCs attack strategy, the first sentence in her competing interests disclosure is, The work discussed in this editorial was supported by the CDC (Atlanta, Ga., USA).

She is a psychologist and a member since 1988 of the American Psychosomatic society. She put in her time with Wm. Reeves, thereby copping enough CDC swagger to allow her to make the short trip from 1600 Clifton Road to Emory and be awarded an associate professor title and tenure. Emory is lousy with CDC migrs; the moneys better; its more prestigious. Just a quick turn to the right and a ten minute walkand a demonstrated commitment to CDC pod-speakwill get you there. Heim carried the CDC mission statement into the department of psychiatry, whose shrinks and hangers-on, as the redoubtable Mary Schweitzer noted in her July 19 blog post, Political Psychiatry vs. Medical Theories of Illness in ME and CFS," have received more CFS consulting contracts from CDC than any other single group of researchers.

Allow me a big digression here: I would amend Schweitzers excellent observation to name two more beneficiaries of CDC largesse: let us never forget Abt Associates, the Haliburton of chronic fatigue syndrome. Abt has been clowning around purporting to collect data on CFS since 1988.

And let us also never forget the Bechtel of CFS: the CFIDS Association of America, its director Kim McCleary, and its lobbyist, Tom Sheridan. The latter two dont qualify as researchers, of course; they qualify as the principal enablers of Reeves and his strategies given that they a) coddled and protected Reeves from public disapprobation and possibly arrest for more than a decade and b) put their backs into the job of keeping the agencys lies front and center in the media after accepting $4.5 million in a no-bid contract by the CDC to do so. Is it coincidence that the two websites Heim apparently feels worthy of listing at the end of her editorial for additional information about her child abuse+stress theory of chronic fatigue syndrome are the CAA and the Centers for Disease Control?

A final digression while Im on this subject: Does it make your skin crawl, like it makes my skin crawl, to think of Kim McCleary speaking on behalf of people who are sick with this appalling disease to members of Congress? Or to the press? Or cutting deals with CDC on behalf of patients? Heres an idea: Kim Must Go. Put that on a T-shirt or a coffee mug. She doesnt get to explain. I dont care what her explanation is. All Kim gets is the sound of the door slamming behind her.

I knowwith so much betrayal going on--by our friends and families, by our government, by our medical establishmentits almost more than one can bear to acknowledge our betrayal by a very rich organization whose extremely well-compensated director has for twenty-two years claimed to represent patients but has instead represented the U. S. government in its pogrom against patients. For the moment, on this incredibly painful issue, lets simply try to remember that what doesnt kill us makes us stronger. I know there will be no group hugs after such a desolate declaration of What I Really Think. But maybe it's time to take the idea under advisement. With CDC laying down its glove, time is running out.

Back to Heim: By my count, she is the third member from the CDC cfs shop to make that quick stroll over to Emory. Reeves was the first. James Jonesformerly a respectable clinician researcher in this field in the early 1980s, now a shadow of a man mouthing Reeves-like-like pod-speakwas the second. There may be more before this reign of terror ends.


Heims editorial is, as I read it, a formal-if-gently stated declaration of war on people who suffer from myalgic encephalomyelitis. It is more a declaration of war even than the agencys 2006 press conference, hosted by Kim McCleary, wherein Kim introduced, one by one, agency quacks with whom shes had such cozy relations over the years and invited them to unveil their comprehensive cfs strategy. By then, after years of trial and error, the agency seemed to have finally settled upon a lie that they hoped would stick to the wall like well-cooked pasta: blame the pandemic on ill-defined genetic predispositions to being unable to handle stress, and the equally vague, scientifically unquantifiable child abuse.

In other words, cast the outbreak in such a way that all blame falls on people who have this illness (pod-speak doesnt allow the word disease) or their abusive parents, link its origins to psychiatry and simultaneously assure the public that, although realat least in the minds of those who sufferand costly, chronic fatigue syndrome is the last thing they need to worry about. Obesity? Certainly. Swine Flu? For sure!

Heims editorial will receive greatly less publicity than the 2006 blow-out press conference. Its highly unlikely that the Associated Press or the New York Times will feel obliged to describe it. In my view, its significance is hardly diminished, however. I read it as a comprehensive preview of the governments strategic operating plan for the foreseeable future. It has the leaden feel of policy, of mission accomplished, and not in the ironic sense that the Bush administrations premature announcement about its effort in Iraq came to represent. Read Heims treatise and weep.

Anyone who thought, for instance, that the request by that little committee in Washington for new leadership at CDC would somehow actually lead to new leadershipin the sense of a new day wherein upper-level agency staff actually ingest the massive accretion of scientific data about cfs and belatedly bear down on isolation of the pathogen causing this diseasemay have to get a grip.


Heims piece is as much a roadmap as it is a clever piece of propaganda. She hews to the government lies on everything from excessive prevalence rates (2.5 percent) to excessive under-diagnosingless than 20 percent and claims people are ill an average duration of 5-7 years. (If only!) Some of her sentences seemed ripped from the CDC website, the CAA website, or the agencys 2006 press release. Like the agency pods who spawned her, she predictably employs that irritating phrase thats part of the fake-compassion sentence that inevitably pops up whenever we are in pod-speak territory: cfs confers suffering and debilitation upon the (sic) affected individuals.

Do we hear this peculiar phrase, about how the disease imposes its burden of suffering on the (sic) affected individuals, when the topics are diseases like cancer, heart failure, COPD, AIDS or lupus? Isnt that implied, as in, who else would the disease cause to feel debilitated? The cockatoo? The guy who reads the water meter? Call me a nit-picker, but the phrase seems to broadcast a message that one must feel sorry for cfs sufferers--even if (wink, wink) its all in their heads. Someone please furnish an example where this odd turn of phrase appears in discussions of other diseases and prove me wrong. I would be happy to concede this point.

And if you read Heim, that IS the message. Her arguments swing between the 1930s relic Hans Selye, who invented the concept of stress," and the 19th century relic, Sigmund Freud, who invented the concept of female hysteria.

Heim points out that some people believe cfs is a classic manifestation of Freuds concept of hysteriathe unconscious simulation of organic disorders Some people being perhaps herself, the pods at CDC, and that charmer Peter Manu in Connecticut. She adds, helpfully, Of note, Freud thought that hysteria is brought about by an infantile traumatic experience. This is important to Heim, because the new, post-Oslers CDC has become a towering monument to the childhood sex-abuse=CFS mantra. (When I started covering this story in 1986, the theory was just a gleam in their collective eye; they began by creating questionnaires, never actually administered, which focused quite intensely on bed-wetting histories.)

Heim conveniently avoids noting that Freud denied the reality of much of the sexual abuse adult women told him that they experienced in their childhoods. His grounds? He refused to believe sexual abuse of female children could be so widespread. Ergo, it was all in their heads.

Heim shows little interest in science that has come civilizations way since Hans Seyle invented stress. Stuff like penicillin, artificial hearts, organ transplantation, stem cell research, MRIs, CAT scans, anti-viral drugs, immunology. Heim so conveniently ignores developments in modern medicine, even her citations at the end of the paper were published years ago, and in the case of one, published by none other than Hans Seyle in 1949! A little writerly advice to Heim: I would not try to make my readers feel more confident about my argument by referencing a sixty-year-old paper.

Heim fails to cite a single study having to do with biological abnormalities in cfs, but there are papers on stress, childhood abuse, and even one about stress in baby rats and their mothers. Awesome. Her referenced authors include a few from the UKs toxic shrink lobby, one from Canadas denialist in chiefan old hack from way back named Irving Salitand some authored by Heim and her colleagues at CDC.

Grasping the depraved agenda in Heims piece requires almost sentence by sentence deconstruction in order to demonstrate how much is being covered up rather than revealed.

Take this line, wherein she argues on behalf of the disease being a psychiatric problem because, To date, more than 4,000 research studies have failed to identify a unanimous cause of CFS.. Her figure is actually fairly representative, if a tad understated, of the number of papers which have in fact demonstrated a multitude of grave biological abnormalities. She might have stated that these 4,000 papers all find serious abnormalities, but one can easily imagine how inconvenient to her argument such information would be. Indeed, not only would her career at Emory be in jeopardy, she would be committing an unforgivable act of disloyalty to staff at the Centers for Disease Control next door, who prepped her for her post at Emory. As we know, a critical piece of the agencys marketing strategy is wrapped up in maintaining the lie that there are no biological abnormalities in cfs.

High rates of psychiatric comorbidity have been reported for cases with CFS, she lies in order to buttress the child abuse+stress=cfs explanation for the disease.

Check out this paragraph:

Psychological or behavioral factors contributing to the development or maintenance of CFS include inactivity, avoidance behavior, anxiety sensitivity and stressBehavioral interventions, such as cognitive-behavioral and graded exercise, are among the most effective treatments for CFS, perhaps providing the strongest support for the importance of psychological factors in CFS.

I wont drag you through Heims piece paragraph by paragraph, but will quote a choice line from her concluding paragraph, in which she exalts modern developmental neuroscience as the key to CFS.

Insights from this line of research may help to overcome the prevailing rejection of the idea that psychological factors may play a role in CFSPerhaps patients and advocacy groups fear to be labeled with the stigma of simulating symptoms, as initially suggested by Freud

You bet, Chris! Fear doesnt even cover it. Chris, can you say, Cover up?

Lastly, I would add that we are unfortunate to be suffering from an appallingly severe infectious disease during a period when the entire nation, indeed, Western culture, has come under the spell of a kind of neo-Christian Science. Should we blame Bernie Siegle and his wildly popular books in the 1980s about curing cancer with optimism? Do we look to the pompous Depak Chopra, or the quackish Dr. Weill, who have popularized the notion that vibrant health is within anyone's control if they think the right thoughts and eat the right food?

In this era of unconscionable scientific behavior on the part of our own government, it seems nearly every malady but cancer and HIV disease, the only two that appear to be unassailable, can be blamed on personality failings--or simply personality--but none more so than the grotesquely named "chronic fatigue syndrome." Indeed, it is the premier model for this distorted thinking; it's not only driving the movement, it's become the primary focus of the movement.

The CDC has had 26 years to bury reality under a barrage of propaganda. A generation has passed, a period during which collective memory of what actually occurred has dimmed. At the beginning of the 1980s the number of "cfs" cases was so small the disease went unmentioned in the medical literature. By the late 1980s, the emergence of "cfs" was an intensely debated and reported phenomenon due to the astonishing numbers of people affected. An entirely new generation of people diagnosed with "CFS" in recent years may not even appreciate the degree to which they've been maligned and victimized. They may not even understand that if the CDC had done it's due dilligence twenty-five years ago, there is a reasonable possiblity their lives would NOT have been ruined by so-called "cfs" at all, because preventative measures would have been initiated long ago.

What is fearful to me is not anything Heim has to say--because it's nonsense. I fear that the agency will increasingly be able to get away with this propaganda because the collective memory will begin to forget, if it hasn't already, how this all began.
 

starryeyes

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k:]Dr. Suzanne Vernon of the CFIDS Association continues to collaborate with neo-Freudian Dr. Christine Heim on research regarding the working hypothesis of the physiological role of psychosocial stress.
Neo-Freudian? That's just frightening.

I hate to say it but I am not at all surprised that Vernon would be authorizing psychosocial studies in 2009.
 

fresh_eyes

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Co-cure commentary on Heim's research:

Craig Maupin's post to Co-Cure, July 30, 2009

"The following is a summary and a link to a recent editorial from one
of the principal voices of the CDC's Emory collaboration. (Future
Neurology July 2009, Vol. 4, No. 4). Dr. Christine Heim is a psychiatrist
and expert in stress/anxiety disorders. She was brought onboard the CDC's
efforts at Emory around 2002. The CDC has promised CFS advocates that they
would do more to use their position to educate researchers, clinicians, and
the public on CFS.


In her editorial, Dr. Heim explains the CDC program and the CDC's
conceptualization of CFS. Some of her main points revolve around a staple
of introductory-level psychiatry texts, how past experiences affect the
brain and neuroendocrine system.

"It must be demonstrated that early adverse experience is a risk factor for
CFS and: second, that this risk factor is associated with the cardinal
biological features of CFS." She encourages readers to conceptualize CFS
as a plastic encephalopathy -- "the causes of CFS are most likely to be
found at the brain level". Stress/trauma leads to brain deregulation,
which leads to low levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This biological
model is the same seen in post-traumatic stress disorders and, to some
extent, anxiety disorders.

Heim also covers the demographics of the CDC's CFS research
subjects:

"First and foremost, the condition is very common with up to 2.5 percent of
the population suffering from CFS in the USA. CFS affects four-times more
women than men, and most cases are middle aged individuals. The average
duration of CFS is cases identified form the population is 5-7 years."

According to Heim, an abusive and neglectful childhood environment
has been the best predictor of who will suffer from CFS. She bases this
claim on the research subjects who have been enrolled in CDC studies:
"Emotional neglect and sexual abuse were the best predictors of CFS....
Childhood trauma was further associated with CFS symptom severity and with
depression, anxiety and post-traumatic disorder (PTSD) symptoms".

She talks about what she feels is the importance of research into
subgroups of CFS. However, she is clear that future "subgroups" will lead
to the "same clinical picture".

In her final conclusion, Heim cites Freud and contends that
neuroscience will build a bridge of understanding and cooperation between
psychiatry and CFS patient groups who, she believes, have an irrational fear
of non-biological approaches to CFS research/treatment:

"In conclusion, adopting a developmental neuroscience perspective has
significant potential to advance our understanding of CFS. Insights from
this line of research may help overcome the prevailing rejection of the idea
that psychological factors may play a role in CFS, at least for a proportion
of cases. Perhaps patients and advocacy groups fear to be labeled with the
stigma of 'simulating' symptoms, as initially suggested by Freud.
However, modern neuroscience clearly demonstrates that experience shapes
biology (and vice versa), and, in this way, can create 'real' organic
symptoms."
 

MEKoan

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And the CAA's Scientific Director is doing psychosomatic research in healthy people why??

I hope, at least, that none of the CAA's funds went into this, or any of her other work with her "neo-Freudian" colleague on psychosocial stress... and that she's spending all her time now on investigating physical mechanisms in ME/CFS.

Anyone else find this disturbing?
YES, I do!
 

Kati

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Guilty...

Criminals are deemed innocent until proven guilty.
CFS/ME patients are deemed guilty (of a psychosomatic illness/mental disease/it's in your head/ get out of my office) until proven otherwise(indeed very ill people just like HIV, cancer, MS, lupus, etc)
 
K

Katie

Guest
Hmm, has Dr Kerr's work put a little fly in their ointment? Seems like they are trying to offset his diligent work in differentiating ME/CFS from depression so that the pyschbrigade have something to reference as the pat each other on the back. Grrr, my first post of the new year and I'm all stroppy, this just isn't right.

What weird, if I didn't feel like they were forcing a hypothesis on me, I'd find the physical effects of stress fascinating. I know that stress can run you down and make you vulnerable to picking up colds etc. but massive ongoing illnesses that improve/worsen whether under increased stress or not? Nothing is that simple, we certainly are not. They can only look at an issue through their psychiatric lens, they can't see the physical evidence because the just can't focus on it, all they see if the evidence that fits their world view. So very, very sad.

Come on Dr Kerr and Mikovits, make these papers obsolete! A joke. A textbook footnote of the dark days. Please.
 

MEKoan

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I find it fascinating how adaptive doctors are when protecting their turf.

If PWC have no biological anomalies, they are neurotic.

If PWC have biological anomalies, these anomalies measure how neurotic they are.
 
K

Katie

Guest
I find it fascinating how adaptive doctors are when protecting their turf.

If PWC have no biological anomalies, they are neurotic.

If PWC have biological anomalies, these anomalies measure how neurotic they are.


Yes. Gosh you've got a fantastic way of summing that up beautifully. Tragically, but beautifully.
 

sarahg

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Here is one thought- Could her name go on the paper if it was based on data she compiled years earlier, even if she was not directly involved in this study? Like she collected data for some other purpose and they used it for this so they put her name on it? because that would be more a case of CDC trying to make their erstwhile researcher look bad to all of us than of any actual impropriety. Can someone more sciency tell me if this is possible? It seems like that that might be the kind of thing they do with science papers, you know, give credit for all involved even if it was years ago and not really related. Cause last I heard this lady was not on their payroll.
 

Dolphin

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My guess is, like sarahg, I think it was done when she was on the payroll of the CDC.
Maybe somebody could see on the full paper when it was submitted. Often there can be a gap of over a year between when something was submitted and when it was finally published - because the authors can be asked to re-submit a revised version and generally the peer-review process can take a while.

What I'd be interested in knowing is whether the money used to pay for it came from the CFS budget. The CDC have used some of the CFS budget for non-CFS patients in the past (even after the GAO report). They may be planning to use the data when looking at the responses in the Georgia cohort of CFS (empiric/Reeves critieia) to psychosocial stress e.g. they are seeing the effect of public speaking on them. I'm not happy that studies on healthy groups should come out of the CDC CFS budget but it's all rubbish these days because of the empiric/Reeves criteria so maybe it is not so bad they are spending it on the study highlighted in this thread!
 

Dolphin

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K

_Kim_

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My guess is, like sarahg, I think it was done when she was on the payroll of the CDC.
Maybe somebody could see on the full paper when it was submitted.
I thought the same thing when I saw the article. When did she start working for the CAA?

 

Dr. Yes

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Kim:
I thought the same thing when I saw the article. When did she start working for the CAA?
"Charlotte, North Carolina- November 7, 2007. The CFIDS Association of America announced today that Suzanne Vernon, PhD, has been named scientific director and will lead the Association’s research program for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)."

(from the Houston CFIDS Association: http://houstoncfids.org/?p=54 )

EXACTLY a year (funny coincidence) before this paper was "received".
 
K

_Kim_

Guest
Here's another interesting bit from the article. She is listed on the author list as an employee of the CDC, but then, there is a footnote about her new "address" @ the CAA



 

Dolphin

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I wouldn't see as much of a problem if there were also other studies that looked at other types of stress (physical trauma, injury, infection, etc.) and gene expression..
Yes, me too. I haven't seen the full text so don't know if that is much different.

What I don't understand is why this type of research is done under the National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-borne and Enteric Diseases.
As I say, my guess is it's the control data for the CFS research. Nater, Whistler, Vernon and Heim seem to be part of the CDC CFS team (names of others don't ring bells but maybe they would show up in other CDC CFS studies or they could be stat people etc)