New This Week: January 11, 2010
Two New XMRV Studies Offer Both Hope and Controversy
As expected, the XMRV virus research has stimulated interest in a host of studies to see if the initial study results can be replicated and to discover treatments for XMRV. Since our last newsletter gave updates on XMRV testing and research, two interesting new studies have been reported.
The first study suggests that of the 10 most common antivirals used against retroviruses, the only one that showed any effectiveness against XMRV (in test tubes) was AZT. This will give researchers an important starting point in exploring treatment for XMRV. I would NOT recommend this treatment yet for CFS though, as it can be fairly toxic and we don’t know if it will have any benefit.
The second study was done in the UK, and screened 186 CFS patients for XMRV using PCR testing (looking for genetic material). None of these patients tested positive for XMRV. This finding should be tempered by the same issue being found for prostate cancer and XMRV. Where the American studies found XMRV to be more common in prostate cancer, this association was not found in other European studies. This suggests that either XMRV infection is more of an issue in the US or that the testing methodology used in the European study was inadequate (which is what the WPI is claiming).
As a medical reporter who has been closely involved in the CFS & fibromyalgia field as a patient, physician and researcher for over 30 years, I find both the science and politics to be fascinating. You will hear some hard hitting attacks (sometimes done subtly, sometimes not so subtly) coming from both sides. And I suspect the melee has just begun.
In this newsletter, we will present the two above studies in more depth. In addition, we’ll look at initial reader comments on treatment from our community bulletin board, and look at the rebuttal of the UK findings by the WPI (which did the initial study) and some background on a few of the new study authors — significant, as one of them seems determined to have CFS be treated as a psychological problem!
MY NEW BOOK
I will be sharing information about the release of my newest book, which will be out in March. Stay tuned for the announcement!
We will begin with two new studies on XMRV virus, and then look at a third review which suggests that CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and exercise are harmful in CFS (happy to offer my "not so delicate" analysis here;-)
Though XMRV has received a lot of the media attention (and we will continue to update you on new research as it comes out), in our next newsletters, we will return to looking at other exciting new helpful research and controversies — whether they be on CFS, or on natural remedies and health in general.
Antivirals for Treating XMRV Virus
XMRV virus is sensitive to the antiviral AZT, but resistant to the other nine common anti-retroviral medications. Read more »
XMRV Not Present in UK/England CFS Patients?
A new study of 186 CFS patients in UK/England showed no evidence of the XMRV virus. Serious questions have been raised about how the testing was done. Read more »
Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Harmful in CFS?
Are coping/counseling treatments (cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT) and graded exercise therapy (GET) the only effective treatments (as those who want to treat CFS patients as though they are crazy would propose) or are they toxic, as this new study/review proposes? Hint — I think that both sides are a bit off the deep end! Read more »
The Piano Stairs: Another Fun Theory!
Behavior modification at work!
QUOTE/JOKE OF THE WEEK
Fake Fur Coat
A young enthusiastic vicar was taking up a new post.
This chap had a particular passion for animal rights. So you can imagine his utter disgust when one day he witnessed one of his parishioners walking down the street in the longest fur coat you’ve ever seen. Storming over to her, he shouted, "And what poor creature had to die so you could wear that fur coat?" The lady parishioner was stunned but managed to stammer, "M-m-m-my mother-in-law."
Priceless — Thoughts After Christmas
There was a man who worked for the Post Office whose job was to process all the mail that had illegible addresses.
One day, a letter came addressed in a shaky handwriting to God with no actual address. He thought he should open it to see what it was about.
The letter read:
I am an 83 year old widow, living on a very small pension.
Yesterday someone stole my purse. It had $100 in it, which was all the money I had until my next pension payment.
Next Sunday is Christmas, and I had invited two of my friends over for dinner. Without that money, I have nothing to buy food with, have no family to turn to, and you are my only hope. Can you please help me?
The postal worker was touched. He showed the letter to all the other workers. Each one dug into his or her wallet and came up with a few dollars.
By the time he made the rounds, he had collected $96, which they put into an envelope and sent to the woman.
The rest of the day, all the workers felt a warm glow thinking of Edna and the dinner she would be able to share with her friends.
Christmas came and went.
A few days later, another letter came from the same old lady to God.
All the workers gathered around while the letter was opened.
How can I ever thank you enough for what you did for me?
Because of your gift of love, I was able to fix a glorious dinner for my friends. We had a very nice day and I told my friends of your wonderful gift.
By the way, there was $4 missing.
I think it might have been those SOBs at the post office.