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Fivefold to eightfold increase in the incidence of ME from 1980 to 1989

taniaaust1

Senior Member
Messages
13,054
Location
Sth Australia
@taniaaust1
Hard to say, but don't forget that the UK's famous outbreak in the Royal Free Hospital, London in 1955 led to the creation of the name myalgic encephalomyelitis, and the modern understanding of the characteristics of this disease. So I would have though that ME was already well known in the UK.

Yeah I forgot about the Royal Free Hospital outbreak in the 1950s. ..thanks ... as I said in one of my other posts here that there was outbreaks of ME around the world in the 1950s.. ALL over the world as outbreaks then were reported in so many different places. I would have to say world wide there was a ME epidemic going on at that time.

Whatever you want to try to attribute to causing ME/CFS.. would of had to be going on back then.

Can you relate to whatever you think lead to an increase in the 1980s.. to an increase in the last couple of years of the 1940s to mid 1950s after which these outbreaks seem to have died down again? Also ask yourself why did this die down?? (could it just be a normal viral pattern? or was something which was triggering this off stopped???)

I personally think the environmental factors is just something which knocks the body around to make it more susceptible to whatever ME is. No not causitive as such. I also think there is many different things which are making us more susceptable, not necessarily just chemical exposures.
 

Hip

Senior Member
Messages
17,793
Can you relate to whatever you think lead to an increase in the 1980s.. to an increase in the last couple of years of the 1940s to mid 1950s after which these outbreaks seem to have died down again?

Outbreaks are a different thing. And in fact, outbreaks themselves probably don't affect the yearly incidence figures very much, because you probably get around one or two hundred new cases of ME/CFS occurring in an outbreak, but the total number of new cases that you will get in a country like the UK each year will be around a couple of thousand.

So the cases from a local outbreak will be small in comparison to the total sporadic new cases from across the whole country.

The only way I can see that an outbreak might have a nationwide (or even global) effect is if the outbreak introduces a new virus into circulation, and then as that virus spreads to the whole country, it causes increased ME/CFS incidence across the nation. Though I have never seen any evidence of that happening.



I personally think the environmental factors is just something which knocks the body around to make it more susceptible to whatever ME is. No not causitive as such.

Environmental factors such as chemical exposure tend to be linked with specific diseases. For example, organophosphate pesticides have been specifically linked to ME/CFS, Parkinson's disease, and Gulf War Illness.

But I don't think there is any link between organophosphates and multiple sclerosis, for example.
 

alex3619

Senior Member
Messages
13,810
Location
Logan, Queensland, Australia
outbreaks of ME around the world in the 1950s.
We had them starting here in 1948 and 1949, two outbreaks in Adelaide. This led to the famous animal study that was published in 1955 in which the blood or serum, I do not recall which, caused spinal lesions in monkeys. I think rabbits died, and mice were OK, or vice versa.
 

cigana

Senior Member
Messages
1,095
Location
UK
I find mold exposure is quite a good fit as it not only could explain the increase in cases in the developing world but also explain why the disease sometimes occurs in outbreaks localized to a particular building (eg. Royal Free) or area.

An interesting, related story is how scientists were able to link increased cancer rates to nuclear testing via analysis of teeth: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/samuel-s-epstein/atomic-bomb-did-the-atom_b_797822.html
 

caledonia

Senior Member
Edit: If you are older then 35 or 40, you can slowly remove the toxic lead from your body by using vitamin C daily in mega-doses of at least 1000 mg or more. I use 3000 mg per day.

It will not cure CFS/ME/SEID, but overall I believe vitamin C should be taken daily by everyone. Unfortunately humans cannot produce our own internal vitamin C, like most mammals can, and cooking foods can destroy much of it. Its very good for all manner of ills and promotes collagen formation and healthy gums. I have taken Vitamin C since I was 12 years old, and I always will.

I've done some research on lead removal. It has a 22 year half life if you don't do anything.

You need to take DMPS or DMSA to chelate lead. The chelators need to be taken on a frequent dose schedule according to their half life or the lead will redistribute instead of coming out, causing more issues.

Vitamin C will help recycle oxidized glutathione back to reduced glutathione. (Glutathone being the body's major antioxidant and detoxifier.)

If you're only doing vit. C, I think you're going to be waiting a long time for the lead to come out.

See the Cutler protocol for more information.
 

Hip

Senior Member
Messages
17,793
I find mold exposure is quite a good fit as it not only could explain the increase in cases in the developing world but also explain why the disease sometimes occurs in outbreaks localized to a particular building (eg. Royal Free) or area.

I was also trying to think along the lines of increased mold exposure being a possible factor to explain the elevated number of ME/CFS cases in the 1980s.

One major change that happened in UK during the 1970s was the installation of central heating in homes. When I was a kid, I remember waking up for school in a freezing cold house in the winter, as we did not get central heating fitted until the early 1970s.

However, if anything, I wold have thought that central heating, which tends to drive out dampness, would reduce mold in the home.


Central heating could of course introduce its own factors. For example, central heating when being used increases formaldehyde levels in the home, as formaldehyde is off-gassed from the paint used on radiators when that paint gets heated. I have read that this radiator off-gassing can be the largest source of formaldehyde in the home.

Other sources of formaldehyde in the home include off gassing from medium-density fibreboard (MDF) panels in furniture and cupboards. And interestingly enough, I just read now that large-scale production of MDF began in the 1980s, in both the US and Europe.

So both central heating and MDF furniture may have substantially increased formaldehyde levels in indoor air during the 1980s. And of course we are still using MDF furniture and central heating today.


But looking at Google, I could not find a great deal linking formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds (formaldehyde is considered a VOC) and autoimmune conditions. Though formaldehyde is neurotoxic.

Also, if this indoor air formaldehyde theory were correct, there would only be an increase in ME/CFS in cold countries or regions, where central heating is used and house windows and doors are kept closed throughout the winter. In hot countries were windows are kept open most of the year, any formaldehyde in the indoor air would disperse.
 
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Hip

Senior Member
Messages
17,793
I've done some research on lead removal. It has a 22 year half life if you don't do anything.

I read that the half life of lead in soft tissues is in the order of months, but the half life of lead in the bone is 20 to 30 years. So any of us that lived through the period of approximately 1960 to 1980, when exposure to lead in petrol (gasoline) was at its maximum, will still have a lot of lead in our bones.

I wonder if this lead could affect the bone marrow and its hematopoietic cells? New microglial cells are also produced in the bone marrow, and then migrate via the bloodstream into the brain.
 

caledonia

Senior Member
Mercury amalgams were switched to a new formula circa 1977 which released a lot more mercury than previously.

I got my first amalgam in 1981...

Mercury is the world's second most toxic substance (after polonium). It is a very powerful neurotoxin.

The symptoms of mercury toxicity track well with the symptoms of ME/CFS. The mercury exposure from amalgams in ongoing and constantly accumulating until the amalgams are removed. The mercury that your body can't detox gets stored in the lipids (i.e. your fat, and also your brain which is mostly made of fat).

The mercury will stay in your brain forever, causing issues unless you chelate it out with ALA. The ALA must be taken on a frequent dose schedule according to the half life of mercury, otherwise it will redistribute causing more issues.

Even if you don't have amalgams, there are other sources of mercury such as receiving 60% of your mother's body burden when you were in utero, vaccines, coal fired power plants, fish.

Fortunately dentists seemed to have switched to the non-mercury fillings for the most part, even though it hasn't been banned. So if this hypothesis is correct, I would expect to see a gradual reduction in ME/CFS (and many other chronic illnesses) over time, but it would likely be generations.

As far as epidemics, mercury damages the immune system, so most any sort of virus, bacteria or environmental toxin could be a tipping point that makes a person chronically sick.

People with MTHFR and detox SNPs are more prone to having trouble detoxifying mercury. Mercury itself causes problems with detoxification, so it's a vicious downward cycle.

Add up mercury, lead, arsenic, formaldehyde, and all the other zillions of chemicals we're exposed to and not detoxifying and it's no wonder we're sick.
 

Hip

Senior Member
Messages
17,793
Mercury amalgams were switched to a new formula circa 1977 which released a lot more mercury than previously.

Would you have any references for that?


If you look at this article:
Is there an association between exposure to chemicals and chronic fatigue syndrome? Review of the evidence
it says:
An association of amalgam filling and mercury has been claimed, and severe fatigue identified in 32% of patients with chronic mercury toxicity in one study (24). However, the burden of evidence indicates a lack of association between amalgam fillings and CFS/ME (25).

In other words, just because mercury poisoning can produce fatigue, that does not imply that mercury is linked to triggering ME/CFS.

Also note that dentists and dental assistants have exposure levels to mercury vapor much higher than the general population. But there is no epidemic of ME/CFS in the dental profession, as far as I am aware.


Of course if you had both mercury poisoning and ME/CFS, and you detoxified mercury, you might feel less fatigue by reducing the component of your fatigue that comes from mercury.
 
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cigana

Senior Member
Messages
1,095
Location
UK
I was also trying to think along the lines of increased mold exposure being a possible factor to explain the elevated number of ME/CFS cases in the 1980s.

One major change that happened in UK during the 1970s was the installation of central heating in homes. When I was a kid, I remember waking up for school in a freezing cold house in the winter, as we did not get central heating fitted until the early 1970s.
Molds often grow better in warm conditions, so central heating might help them. The other change that started around the same time was double glazing and other energy-saving home modifications, which increase the humidity. This potentially created conditions for certain species to thrive indoors.
 

halcyon

Senior Member
Messages
2,482
I find mold exposure is quite a good fit as it not only could explain the increase in cases in the developing world but also explain why the disease sometimes occurs in outbreaks localized to a particular building (eg. Royal Free) or area.
I don't think mold is a good fit. Look at valley fever for an example of what widespread mold illness looks like. The symptoms are mostly respiratory not neurological like ME.
 

Hip

Senior Member
Messages
17,793
Look at valley fever for an example of what widespread mold illness looks like.

I think the symptoms produced by mold exposure depend on the particular mycotoxins secreted by the mold.

In the case of mold growth in your home or workplace, you will be exposed to the mycotoxins that the mold secretes; but you may or may not actually have a mold infection growing in your body. So I think mold problems will often be more like toxic chemical exposures (to mycotoxins) rather than infectious exposures (to mold).

Though Dr Joseph Brewer found that in his ME/CFS patients who reported exposure to moldy environments (typically water-damaged buildings) some harbored mold growth in their sinuses (which would be continually releasing mycotoxins into the body).
 

cigana

Senior Member
Messages
1,095
Location
UK
I don't think mold is a good fit. Look at valley fever for an example of what widespread mold illness looks like. The symptoms are mostly respiratory not neurological like ME.
It completely depends on the mold type(s), there are a lot of different species of mold and they mutate rapidly.
 

Hip

Senior Member
Messages
17,793
I just found some more corroborating evidence of an explosion of ME/CFS cases in the 1980s and onwards.

This evidence come from pages 20 to 22 of Dr John Richardson's book, Enteroviral and Toxin Mediated Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Other Organ Pathologies, which can be read online here.

Dr Richardson, who died in 2002, was a GP who observed and treated ME/CFS patients in the Newcastle area (north of England) for nearly 50 years. Dr Richardson was the first ME/CFS expert to perform a brain autopsy on a deceased patient (where he found enterovirus infection of the brain). So he is in a good position to observe changes in ME/CFS incidence over the decades.

The following graph comes from page 22 of his book, and shows the number of viral illness cases Dr Richardson saw each year in his practice near Newcastle. Of particular relevance is group 3&4 (shown as the dark bars in the graph), as these are patients with ongoing organ pathology arising after the viral infection. Group 1 is the number of cases of new viral illnesses, and group 2 is the number of recurrent viral illnesses.

Note how the number of cases of ongoing organ pathology (group 3&4) shoot up from around 1978 and onwards.

The dark bars in the graph show the yearly incidence of organ pathology following viral infection
Figure A - Yearly Number of Patients by Outcome Group.png

Note that these figures are not necessarily ME/CFS cases. These are all new viral illnesses (group 1), all recurrent viral illnesses (group 2) and all organ pathologies such as cardiomyopathies subsequent to viral infection (group 3&4).



Here are the actual figures for the number of patients Dr Richardson saw with organ pathology following viral infection in each decade:

Number of patients with organ pathology following viral infection in each decade:

Decade 1954 to 1963: 22 patients
Decade 1964 to 1973: 56 patients
Decade 1974 to 1983: 245 patients
Decade 1984 to 1992: 571 patients

You can see that from the late 1970s onwards, there was a huge explosion in the number of patients with ongoing viral organ pathology .


Dr Richardson says in his book (page 20) that: "it is of considerable interest that these rises happened at the same time as those demonstrated independently by Dr Byron Hyde in Canada and Dr Betty Dowsett in the south of England".
 
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knackers323

Senior Member
Messages
1,625
We had them starting here in 1948 and 1949, two outbreaks in Adelaide. This led to the famous animal study that was published in 1955 in which the blood or serum, I do not recall which, caused spinal lesions in monkeys. I think rabbits died, and mice were OK, or vice versa.

Do you have more info on this?
 

u&iraok

Senior Member
Messages
427
Location
U.S.
Studies have shown that pesticide exposure significantly increases the risk of developing ME (ref: 1). In one study, farmers using organophosphate-based "sheep dip" in Scotland were found to have rates of ME four times higher than the national average (ref: 1). So this study suggests major exposure to organophosphates increases the risk developing ME by 4 times.

Pyrethroid pesticides have been linked to ME as well (ref: 1).

Organochlorine pesticides such as DDT and dieldrin have also been linked to ME (refs: 1 2), but most organochlorines have been banned for several decades now.

So the significant increase in pesticide usage that peaked in the 1980s and has remained high ever since might explain the huge increase in ME incidence in the 1980s that has also remained high ever since.

Very interesting. Here's an article showing that pesticides caused Gulf War Syndrome: "Twenty-five years after 700,000 US troops fought and won the first Gulf War with remarkably low casualties, research “clearly and consistently” shows that exposure to pesticides and other toxins caused Gulf War Illness[...]" www.bu.edu/.../toxic-exposures-caused-illness-in-gulf-war-veterans/

Posters here also mention mercury and lead. Was there more of these in the atmosphere, water in the 1980's? The graph posted on this thread shows a peak of lead from leaded gasoline in 1970--how much exposure to people alive then, only 10 years prior to 1980? Here's an article showing a peak of mercury in Florida birds in the 1980's and 90's: www.wec.ufl.edu/.../feather%20mercury%20in%20s%20fla.pdf

upload_2016-3-15_9-41-28.png


Finally, what are the additive and synergistic effects of toxins? It's known that lead and mercury have a synergistic effect, making them worse than lead or mercury alone. What about other toxins combined with mercury? Here's an study entitled 'Effects of Methyl Mercury in Combination with Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Brominated Flame Retardants on the Uptake of Glutamate in Rat Brain Synaptosomes: A Mathematical Approach for the Study of Mixtures' in which was found: "The toxicants had primarily additive effects, as shown with both models, although tendencies towards synergism were observed"


"The joint toxicity of nine binary mixtures of a metal (arsenic, copper, or cadmium) and a pesticide (carbofuran, dichlorvos, or malathion) was determined in the marine microcrustacean Tigriopus brevicornis (Müller) (Copepoda) by 96-h LC50 tests and measurement of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibition. Acetylcholinesterase is used in the marine coastal environment as a biomarker to evaluate exposure to neurotoxic pollutants, including organophosphorous (OP) and carbamate (C) insecticides and most metals. A toxic unit (TU) approach was used to test the response addition model for mixtures of chemicals with different action modes. Studies of mixtures showed synergistic lethal effects in all cases (the strongest acute effects being observed in coppermalathion, cadmium-malathion, dichlorvos-malathion, and cadmium-dichlorvos combinations). At the sublethal level, the presence of the three metals tested seemed to enhance the inhibitory effects of certain OP and C insecticides."
From Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Journal, May 1999.

One other question I have is, is there a connection to the polio vaccine give in the 1950's? People who had that vaccine as a child would have been in their 30's or 40's in the 1980's and we know that late 30's is a peak age for onset of ME/CFS.

I'm very interested in the additive and synergistic effects of all these possible causes combined with low nutrition due to depleted soils: "A landmark study on the topic by Donald Davis and his team of researchers from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry was published in December 2004 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. They studied U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional data from both 1950 and 1999 for 43 different vegetables and fruits, finding “reliable declines” in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C over the past half century. Davis and his colleagues chalk up this declining nutritional content to the preponderance of agricultural practices designed to improve traits (size, growth rate, pest resistance) other than nutrition." www.scientificamerican.com/.../soil-depletion-and-nutrition-loss/

And increase of stress starting in the 1980's: "Anxiety is so high now that normal samples of children from the 1980's outscore psychiatric populations from the 1950s (Levitt, 1959). From an article entitled 'The Age of Anxiety? Birth Cohort Change in Anxiety and Neuroticism, 1952-1993' www.apa.org/pubs/.../psp7961007.pdf
 
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