Yet more nails in the coffin of the psychiatric lobby. Perhaps with more publicity like this, we can finally get the necessary differentiation between post-viral CFS and all those psych conditions they like to lump in with us so they don’t have to admit that CFS is a physical illness with a purely physical cause, and not "stress", "emotional trauma", or the ever-present "delicate hothouse flowers unable to cope with real life". (No "delicate hothouse flower" could possibly put up with the BS that CFS patients deal with on a daily basis, from verbal abuse to false accusations to the constant pain.)
HHV-6 FOUNDATION NEWS
The 6th International Conference on HHV-6 & 7 and satellite conference on Viruses in CFS held in Baltimore June 19- 23rd were very successful, with over 230 scientists and clinicians in attendance. We were also pleased to welcome representatives from five drug companies and half-dozen diagnostic companies who are exploring therapeutic options and new diagnostic assays.
Among the highlights:
International Conference on HHV-6 & 7:
Kazuhiro Kondo, MD, PhD, of the Jikei University Medical School in Tokyo identified a novel human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) protein present in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) patients but not healthy controls that may contribute to psychological symptoms often associated with that and other disorders. http://www.hhv-6foundation.org/PRKondo_PFS.pdf
Italian researchers, professors Arnoldo Caruso of the University of Brescia and Dario Di Luca of the University of Ferrara presented data suggesting that human HHV-6 infects and persists in a dormant state in endothelial cells, the cells lining blood vessels, and that the latency protein U94 causes these cells to lose their ability to grow, to form new blood vessels, and to take part in healing processes. This finding has potential consequences for both cardiac disease and tumor control. http://www.hhv-6foundation.org/U94DiLuca.pdf
Danish scientists Professor Per Hollsberg, MD and his PhD student Vanda Lauridsen Turcanova from the University of Aarhus In Denmark demonstrated that HHV-6 activates endogenous retrovirus HERV-K18 with possible consequences for autoimmunity. Viral infections are known to worsen autoimmune conditions. http://www.hhv-6foundation.org/PRK18retrovirus.pdf
Dr. Jose Montoya, an infectious disease specialist at Stanford University, released preliminary findings on his double-blind placebo-controlled antiviral trial of Valcyte for a subset of patients displaying high antibody levels to human HHV-6 and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Statistically significant cognitive improvement was noted in the Multidemensional Fatigue Inventory (MFI-20) Mental Fatigue subscale and on patient self-reported of cognitive functioning, but there was not a significant result on the overall MFI-20 index. Data from treadmill testing, cytokine analysis, gene expression and other viral markers is still pending and will be announced at a later date.
Symposium on Viruses in CFS & Post-viral Fatigue:
Brigitte Huber, PhD, of the Tufts University School of Medicine presented evidence at a medical conference that suggested a reactivated ancient retrovirus embedded in the human genome may be active in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Dr. Huber found that both MS and CFS patients (whose illness had been triggered by infectious mononucleosis) were at a higher relative risk for containing a HERV-K18 variant known to be particularly potent at inducing superantigen activity. Superantigens are proteins that are able to induce a strong undifferentiated T-cell response believed to impair the regulation of the immune system over time.
(~jvr: because the hyperlink on this site doesn't work, I repost this text below for the sake of completeness)
Birgitta Evengard, MD from the Karolinska Institute reported that 33 twin pairs discordant for CFS, the twins had higher median EBV Early Antigen antibody levels than matched controls. VCA and EBNA antibodies did not differ between the two groups. The median HHV-6 Antibody levels did not differ between patients and controls. The data on both is preliminary since only two dilutions were done. No data was supplied on whether there was a subset of patients with significantly elevated antibody levels to HHV-6.
OTHER NEWS IN HHV-6:
* HHV-6A was associated with rhomboencephalitis in immunocompetent children, characterized by new onset seizures, ataxia and opsoclonus-myoclonus. (Crawford 2007)
* HHV-6 was found in79% of lymph nodes from Hodgkin's Lymphoma patients (Lacroix, 2007) compared to EBV in 62%.
* HHV-6B was associated with post-transplant acute limbic encephalitis, characterized by anterograde amnesia, syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion and temporal lobe abnormalities. (Seeley 2007)
* HHV-6 antibody titers were elevated in army recruits six to 12 months previous to diagnosis with schizophrenia (Niebuhr, 2007)
* HHV-6 was frequently found in the gastroduodenal mucosa of transplant and immunocompetent patients with gastroenteritis; 94% of transplant recipients with biliary complications had HHV-6 or CMV in the duodenal mucosa. (Halme 2008)
* Two thirds of resections from patients with refractory mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) were found to have very high levels HHV-6B infection (Fotheringham, 2007); chronic viral infection may alter glutamate transport to cause seizures. (Fotheringham b, 2007) `
*Retrovirus & ME/CFS, MS and Autoimmunity*; Help ME Circle, 24 June 2008
SOURCE: HHV-6 Foundation
Jun 23, 2008 10:00 ET
Ancient Retrovirus May Contribute to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis and Autoimmunity
Smoldering Infections of Two Common Viruses EBV and HHV-6 Cause Inherited Retrovirus Genes to Activate
BALTIMORE, MD--(Marketwire - June 23, 2008) -
Brigitte Huber, PhD, of the Tufts University School of Medicine, presented evidence at a medical conference that suggested that a reactivated ancient retrovirus embedded in the human genome may be active in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Danish scientists at the same conference suggested that the activation of this retrovirus, dormant in healthy individuals, could be the reason why autoimmune conditions worsen with viral infections.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Multiple Sclerosis Patients at Increased Risk From the Effects of HERV-K18 Activation
"Patients with profoundly fatiguing diseases such as MS and CFS may be particularly susceptible to HERV-K18 activation," said Dr. Huber. The announcement was made at the International Symposium on Viruses in CFS and Post-Viral Fatigue, a satellite conference of the 6th International Conference on HHV-6 & 7. Using an SNP-based genotyping method, Dr. Huber found that both MS and CFS patients (whose illness had been triggered by infectious mononucleosis) were at a higher relative risk for containing HERV-K18 variants known to induce superantigen activity. Superantigens are proteins that are able to induce a strong undifferentiated T-cell response believed to deplete the immune system over time.
Viral activity and/or immune activation has been shown to trigger HERV-K18 activity. Both Epstein-Barr virus infection (infectious mononucleosis) and interferon-alpha administration are associated with HERV-K18 activity. "HHV-6 activates HERV-K18 as well," said Danish investigator Per Hollsberg, MD and professor from the University of Aarhus In Denmark. His PhD student Vanda Lauridsen Turcanova presented this data at the same conference. "Furthermore, this retrovirus activation may have important consequences for autoimmunity," he added.
HERV-K18 activation may be the endpoint of an HHV6/EBV interferon pathway operating in both MS and CFS. HHV-6 is being investigated as a co-factor in both diseases. Other retroviruses, HERV-H and HERV-W, have been implicated in MS by other researchers. Over 75% of MS patients meet the criteria for CFS. Fatigue is often the most disabling symptom for MS patients. The two diseases also share characteristics such as grey matter atrophy, impaired cerebral glucose metabolism, autonomic nervous system activity and altered patterns of brain activity.
Dr. Huber's study suggests that endogenous retroviral activation in CFS and MS could produce some of the symptoms associated with both diseases. She has received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to study these issues. Per Hollsberg has done extensive research on the role of EBV and HHV-6 in multiple sclerosis.
The HHV-6 Foundation
The HHV-6 Foundation encourages scientific exchanges and provides grants to researchers seeking to increase our understanding of HHV-6 infection in a wide array of central nervous system disorders. Daram Ablashi, the co-discoverer of the HHV-6 virus, is the Foundation's Scientific Director.
Contact: Kristin Loomis Executive Director HHV-6 Foundation Santa Barbara, CA 805-969-1174
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Tom's first impressions of the HHV-6 Foundation's Satellite Conference are now posted on the RESCIND site. Since most newsletters will probably be geared toward the research itself, we decided to do a "fly on the wall perspective" of the conference. We'll have more musings on the conference as we are able. And as always, if you haven't signed the petition, please do so!
Tom & Jerry