It's unconscionable. In America you can sue a health insurance executive for giving you the finger, but not for denying your daughter a life saving liver transplant. Ask your Senator today to change this legal loophole.
Today's Los Angeles Times reports that the family of Nataline Sarkisyan was prevented from going to court over her death because of a legal loophole that prevents wrongful death cases when health insurance is paid for by private sector employers. However, Nataline's family was allowed to sue for emotional distress because an insurance executive made an obscene gesture at the family during a rally at CIGNA's headquarters.
Consumer Watchdog has joined with Nataline's parents to call on Congress to close the legal loophole that bars her family and 132 million Americans from having their day in court. The lack of accountability allows health insurers to deny access to care without fear of reprisal when private employers pay for health coverage.
Please ask your US senators to introduce Nataline's Law and close the legal loophole that allows heath insurers to get away with murder.
Thanks for weighing in,
President, Consumer Watchdog
Consumer Watchdog is a nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer protection organization. Your contributions are tax-deductible.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
From Chronic Fatigue to Lyme: Medically Unexplained No More
Labeling sick patients psychiatric is medical abuse.
Over the past year, some forces in the highest reaches of medicine have
made ever stronger efforts to burden the sick, diseased, and infected with
psychiatric labels, and thus, to invalidate them and consign them to lives
of numbing medication and endless untreated pain. Some pundits see this as
psychiatric abuse perpetuated by non-psychiatrists --since it is rarely the
psychiatrist, but rather, those in other specialities who step outside the
circle of their formal training to impose these crude diagnoses on the
to read the entire blog, visit:
Mac Angel has been a busy little beaver scouring the web for information on the new development!
Dr. Cheney's Research page has posted some of his comments
in a number of posts commenting on the current issues we have been discussing.
bombard you know who with after this latest set of News..
a TV program would be PERFECT very soon, don't ya think?
TO: @DrOz Please listen to the Researchers about NEW Retrovirus
and #MECFS & Pls Help http://bit.ly/1tdvnw RT
(links to audio embedded on pages)
'All Things Considered' with Dr. Mikovits and Annette Whittemore - length: 03:37
'Morning Edition' with Dr. Peterson(includes transcript of interview)
- length: 04:34
Friday, October 9, 2009
"It is almost unheard of to find an association of this magnitude in any
study of an infectious agent and a well-defined disease, much less an
[ill-defined] illness like chronic fatigue syndrome," he said in an e-mail.
It is extremely difficult to prove causation with a ubiquitous virus like
XMRV, and it "is even more difficult in the case of CFS, which represents a
clinically and epidemiologically complex illness," he said.
This quote is similar to the last quote so the same points apply except that
he is now saying that XMRV is a "ubiquitous virus".
Some viruses could be said to be "ubiquitous" e.g. most of the adult
population will have some sort of antibodies to EBV.
However, the XMRV virus was only identified in 8 of 218 (3.7%) healthy
controls (compared to 68 of 101 patients (67%) of the patients).
The researchers also did some extra experiments, summarised in plain English
"Testing the white blood cells from thirty CFS patients showed that 63% (19
people) of the samples tested showed viral proteins. Tests on samples from
five healthy controls did not show any viral proteins.
"Overall, samples from people with CFS were 54 times as likely to contain
viral sequences as samples from healthy controls.
"The researchers found that XMRV found in the white blood cells of CFS
patients could be transmitted to prostate cancer cells when grown together
in the laboratory. In 10 out of 12 people with CFS (83%), fluid taken from
their blood samples could also infect the prostate cancer cells in the
laboratory. Similar results were found when uninfected white blood cells
were exposed to this fluid. Fluid from the blood samples of twelve healthy
controls did not infect the prostate cancer cells.
"The researchers found that half (nine out of 18) of CFS patients carrying
XMRV DNA had antibodies against a similar virus, while none of the seven
healthy controls tested showed an antibody response. This suggested that
half of the CFS patients had had an immune response to the XMRV."
To summarise, these experiments (admittedly using smaller sample sizes)
again don't show XMRV to be ubiquitous like Bill Reeves claims.
Don't support the Reeves/empirical definition/criteria for CFS?
Sign the petition at: http://CFSdefinitionpetition.notlong.com
>>>> 9 October 2009 <<<<
Editorship : firstname.lastname@example.org
mail scanned by Comodo I. Security
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Linked to Chronic Fatigue
By AMY DOCKSER MARCUS
Researchers have linked an infectious virus known to
cause cancer in animals to chronic-fatigue syndrome,
a major discovery for sufferers of the condition and
one that concerned scientists for its potential
An estimated 17 million people world-wide suffer
from chronic-fatigue syndrome, and the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention puts the U.S. figure
at between one million and four million.
CFS is characterized by debilitating fatigue and
chronic pain, but there are no specific treatments,
and the diagnosis is often made by ruling out other
Thus there is disagreement in the medical
community as to whether CFS is a distinct disease.
A study showing a strong viral association with CFS
could change that equation.
But the significance of the finding, published
Thursday in Science, extends far beyond the
community of people living with CFS.
Researchers are just as concerned about the finding
that nearly 4% of healthy people used as controls in
the study were also infected with the virus, called
If larger studies confirm these numbers, it could
mean that as many as 10 million people in the U.S.
and hundreds of millions of people around the world
are infected with a virus that is already strongly
associated with at least two diseases.
The study was done by researchers at the
Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune
Disease in Reno, Nev., the National Cancer Institute
and the Cleveland Clinic.
In September, researchers at the University of Utah
and Columbia University Medical Center found XMRV
in 27% of the prostate-cancer samples they
That study also showed that 6% of the benign
prostate samples had XMRV. The chronic-fatigue
study is the first to find live XMRV virus in humans.
Neither study conclusively shows that XMRV causes
chronic-fatigue syndrome or prostate cancer. But the
National Cancer Institute was sufficiently concerned
to convene a closed-door workshop in July to discuss
the public-health implications of XMRV infection.
"NCI is responding like it
did in the early days of HIV,"
says Stuart Le Grice, head of the Center of
Excellence in HIV/AIDS and cancer virology at NCI
and one of the organizers of the July workshop.
Like HIV, XMRV is a retrovirus, meaning once
someone is infected, the virus permanently remains
in the body; either a person's immune system keeps
it under control or drugs are needed to treat it.
The virus creates an underlying immune deficiency,
which might make people vulnerable to a range of
diseases, said Judy Mikovits of the Whittemore
Peterson Institute and one of the lead authors on
So far, XMRV, known fully as xenotropic murine
leukemia virus-related virus, doesn't appear to
replicate as quickly as HIV does. Scientists also don't
know how XMRV is transmitted, but the infection was
found in patients' blood samples, raising the
possibility that it could be transmitted through blood
or bodily fluids.
Dr. Le Grice of the NCI said the highest priority now
was to quickly develop a validated blood test or
other assay that could be used in doctors' offices to
determine who has XMRV.
At the workshop, participants also raised the issue of
protecting the nation's blood supply. Dr. Le Grice
said there isn't enough evidence yet to suggest that
people with XMRV shouldn't be blood donors but that
determining how XMRV is transmitted was a critical
"A large effort is under way to answer all these
questions," he said. "I do not want this to be
cause for panic."
Although Thursday's scientific paper doesn't
demonstrate conclusively that XMRV is a cause of
CFS, additional unpublished data make it a very
Dr. Mikovits said that using additional tests, the
scientists determined that more than 95% of the
patients in the study are either infected with live
virus or are making antibodies that show their
immune systems mounted an attack against XMRV
and now had the virus under control.
"Just like you cannot have AIDS without
HIV, I believe you won't be able to find a
case of chronic-fatigue syndrome without
Dr. Mikovits said.
At the July workshop, Dr. Mikovits also presented
preliminary data showing that 20 patients of the 101
in the study have lymphoma, a rare form of cancer.
The link between XMRV and lymphoma is still being
investigated, but it raised the possibility that XMRV
may be associated with other cancers in addition to
NCI's Dr. Le Grice said studies will be launched to
determine whether XMRV is associated with other
diseases. At the Whittemore Peterson Institute, Dr.
Mikovits said they also found XMRV in people with
autism, atypical multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia.
The Science study was based on blood samples from
a national repository at the Whittemore Peterson
Institute collected from doctors in cities where
outbreaks of chronic-fatigue syndrome occurred
during the 1980s and '90s. One of the key questions
that the NCI's Dr. Le Grice says must now be
answered is whether XMRV shows up in large
numbers of CFS patients all over the country.
Robert Silverman, a professor at the Cleveland Clinic
Lerner Research Institute who is one of the
co-authors of the study and one of the discoverers of
the XMRV virus, said he believes the virus began in
mice and then spread to humans, and that:
"in most cases, people's immune systems are
probably able to control the virus."
Researchers are already starting to test antiretroviral
therapies developed for AIDS to see if they are
effective against XMRV.
The work on XMRV in chronic-fatigue patients initially
was funded by Annette and Harvey Whittemore and
the University of Nevada, Reno.
The Whittemores set up the institute in 2006 after
watching their daughter Andrea suffer from
chronic-fatigue syndrome for most of her life. They
spent millions of their own money to pay for
administrative services, office space, lab equipment
and research operations.
They were frustrated by the lack of government
funding for scientific research into the disease.
At their home in Reno, Andrea Whittemore-Goad, 31
years old, used oxygen before speaking about the
devastating toll CFS has taken on her.
Ms. Whittemore-Goad says she was a regular school
girl, playing sports and involved in school activities,
until the age of 10, when she became ill with a
monolike virus that she couldn't shake.
She said doctors first told her parents that the
illness was psychological, that she had school phobia
and was under stress from her parents. "We kept
searching for an answer," says Ms. Whittemore-
Goad, who says lymph nodes in her groin were so
painful that her brothers and sisters used to have to
carry her upstairs. She was diagnosed at age 12 with
Over the years, doctors have treated her symptoms,
like intense headaches and severe pain, but the
illness persists. She has had her gallbladder, spleen,
and appendix removed because they became
infected. She tried an experimental drug that she
says gave her relief for years, but she then started
experiencing side effects and had to stop taking it.
Recently the illness has become worse; she began
suffering seizures and can no longer drive.
Sitting on the couch next to her husband, whom she
married six months ago, Ms. Whittemore-Goad says
the news that she is infected with XMRV "made
everything that has happened to me make sense."
Brian Goad, her husband, said he felt relieved
knowing "now we can find a way to treat and
hopefully cure it."
For both of them, the discovery of the virus is
life-changing. There are more than 10 families in the
group where family members also tested positive for
XMRV. Members of the Whittemore family are now
Write to Amy Dockser Marcus at
Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A4
Copyright 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
The Washington Post
Virus Associated With
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Scientists have found evidence that a virus may play
a role in chronic fatigue syndrome.
Vincent C. Lombardi of the Whittemore Peterson
Institute in Reno, Nev., and scientists elsewhere
studied 101 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome,
a baffling, debilitating and controversial condition
that affects an estimated 17 million people
They discovered that 68 of the patients -- 67 percent
-- had a virus in their blood known as the xenotropic
murine leukemia virus-related virus or XMRV.
Only eight of 218 similar subjects who did not have
chronic fatigue syndrome -- 3.7 percent -- had the
virus in their blood, the researchers report in a paper
published online Thursday by the journal Science.
Further studies showed that the virus is indeed
infectious, and can "provoke" the immune system to
The researchers cautioned that the findings far from
prove that the virus causes chronic fatigue. It may
be just part of the picture. But they suggest that the
virus may at least contribute to the development of
This isn't the first time a virus has been associated
with the condition. Previous research has suggested
that some herpes viruses and other viruses may also
play a role.
In an article accompanying the research, John Coffin
of Tufts University in Boston and Jonathan Stoye of
the National Institute for Medical Research in London
They noted that there are many unanswered
questions about the virus, including how it is
But if the findings are representative of what's going
on in the general public, perhaps 10 million
Americans and hundreds of millions of people
worldwide might be infected with the virus, which
could turn out to be playing a role in a variety of
diseases. The virus previously was found in some
patients with prostate cancer.
By Rob Stein
October 8, 2009;
© 2009 The Washington Post Company
Scientists link chronic
fatigue ailment to retrovirus
WASHINGTON - Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), a
mysterious and debilitating exhaustion that is not
relieved by sleep, appears to be linked to a
retrovirus, researchers announced Thursday in a
In the latest issue of Science, researchers said their
findings could lead to a treatment for an ailment
affecting millions of Americans and that in some
cases render them unable to work or engage in even
moderately robust activities.
The study was hailed as a breakthrough in
understanding the perplexing syndrome for which
there is no known treatment.
"We now have evidence that a retrovirus named
XMRV is frequently present in the blood of
patients with CFS,"
said Judy Mikovits, director of research for the
Whittemore Peterson Institute (WPI) located at the
University of Nevada, Reno, one of the organizations
which led the research.
"This discovery could be a major step in the
discovery of vital treatment options for millions of
Other health agencies which contributed to the study
were the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the
National Institutes of Health, and the Cleveland
Researchers cautioned that while there appears to be
a relationship between the retrovirus and Chronic
Fatigue Syndrome, they have not proven that the
illness is caused by XMRV.
They noted that earlier research has linked the
retrovirus with prostate cancer as well.
"The discovery of XMRV in two major diseases,
prostate cancer and now chronic fatigue
syndrome, is very exciting,"
said Robert Silverman, a professor in the Department
of Cancer Biology at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner
Research Institute, and co-author of the CFS study.
"If cause-and-effect is established, there would
be a new opportunity for prevention and
treatment of these diseases,"
In the study released Thursday, WPI scientists
identified XMRV in the blood of 68 of 101 (67
percent) CFS patients.
By contrast, the retrovirus was found in the blood of
only eight of 218 healthy people (3.7 percent).
"These compelling data allow the development of a
hypothesis concerning a cause of this complex and
misunderstood disease, since retroviruses are a
known cause of neurodegenerative diseases and
cancer in man,"
said Francis Ruscetti, of the Laboratory of
Experimental Immunology at NCI.
Retroviruses like XMRV have also been shown to
activate a number of other latent viruses. This could
explain why so many different viruses, such as
Epstein-Barr virus have been associated with CFS.
"The scientific evidence that a retrovirus is
implicated in CFS opens a new world of
possibilities for so many people,"
said Annette Whittemore, founder and president of
WPI and mother of a CFS patient.
"Scientists can now begin the important work of
translating this discovery into medical care for
individuals with XMRV related diseases."
© 2009 AFP.
Retrovirus May Be at Root
of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
THURSDAY, Oct. 8 (HealthDay News) -- About
two-thirds of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome
sampled in a recent study were infected with a
retrovirus called XMRV.
The finding, albeit preliminary, has raised hopes that
there might be a concrete cause for the mysterious
malady and thus, down the line, treatments for the
"This study does not prove that XMRV is the cause
of chronic fatigue syndrome, however it does
suggest it is a viable candidate for a cause,"
said Robert H. Silverman, co-author of a report
appearing online Oct. 8 in Science.
"But if it can be proven that the virus causes the
disease, that would be a breakthrough in
diagnosing, combating and preventing the
added Silverman, a professor of cancer biology at the
Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute. "There
could be an antiretroviral drug that could prevent this
virus from replicating."
Another expert was similarly hopeful.
"This article could give a spark of hope, one, that
chronic fatigue syndrome is caused by something,
and two, if that bears out, maybe we could do
something about it,"
said Dr. Tamara Kuittinen, an emergency physician
with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
Chronic fatigue syndrome was first recognized in the
late 1980s and initially dubbed the "yuppie flu,"
resulting in an enduring credibility crisis.
Some segments of the medical community do not
believe it is a discrete illness because there is no
known cause, and diagnosis can only be made
through excluding other conditions, such as
"There's no test, no clear etiology, the symptoms
are vague, there's no treatment and no cure,"
said Kuittinen. "It's very frustrating."
Possible explanations for the disease have been
far-reaching, ranging from different viruses, including
Epstein-Barr, enteroviruses and herpes, to childhood
The illness affects an estimated 1 percent of people
worldwide and, as its name implies, involves
crippling fatigue as well as aching joints, headaches
and various other symptoms.
Recently, XMRV was detected in prostate cancer
patients and in prostate tumor biopsies. Like other
retroviruses, it can activate latent viruses in the
body, such as Epstein-Barr, which has been linked to
chronic fatigue syndrome.
For this study, researchers analyzed 101 blood
samples taken from patients with chronic fatigue
syndrome and found the virus in 68 of the samples,
as compared with only eight samples in 218 healthy
patients (67 percent versus 3.7 percent).
Although 3.7 percent seems a small proportion, the
authors do note that this could mean millions of
people are infected with a virus whose effects are as
Retroviruses, a group that includes both
XMRV and HIV, have genomes made of
RNA instead of DNA.
"When the virus infects cells, the RNA gets copied
into the DNA, then the DNA inserts itself or
integrates into the host DNA,"
"One of the many problems with infections with
retroviruses is that it's very difficult to actually
cure the patient because the virus DNA becomes
part of the infected person's DNA. Patients need
to continually take drugs to keep it from
XMRV is simpler than HIV, though, Silverman added,
which is a good thing.
"It's a kind of stripped down version of a
retrovirus. It has just the genes required for
infection and replication. We could probably stop it
with an antiretroviral drug."
There's also the possibility that a vaccine would
prevent people from being infected in the first place.
But, stressed Silverman, "there are lots of
qualifiers because it hasn't actually been proven
that it causes disease, although the evidence looks
pretty intriguing. This is an area that needs more
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
has more on chronic fatigue syndrome.
Copyright © 2009 ScoutNews,
Much more links can be found at:
~jan van roijen
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH NIH News
National Cancer Institute (NCI) http://www.nci.nih.gov/
Embargoed for Release: Thursday, October 8, 2009, 2 p.m. EDT
NCI Office of Media Relations, 301-496-6641, e-mail: email@example.com
Whittemore Peterson Institute, Frankie Vigil, 775-336-4555, e-mail: Frankie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Cleveland Clinic Corp. Communications, Megan F. Pruce, 216-445-7452, e-mail: email@example.com
CONSORTIUM OF RESEARCHERS DISCOVER RETROVIRAL LINK TO CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME
Scientists have discovered a potential retroviral link to chronic fatigue syndrome, known as CFS, a debilitating disease that affects millions of people in the United States. Researchers from the Whittemore Peterson Institute (WPI), located at the University of Nevada, Reno, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and the Cleveland Clinic, report this finding online Oct. 8, 2009, issue of Science.
"We now have evidence that a retrovirus named XMRV is frequently present in the blood of patients with CFS. This discovery could be a major step in the discovery of vital treatment options for millions of patients," said Judy Mikovits, Ph.D., director of research for WPI and leader of the team that discovered this association. Researchers cautioned however, that this finding shows there is an association between XMRV and CFS but does not prove that XMRV causes CFS.
The scientists provide a new hypothesis for a retrovirus link with CFS. The virus, XMRV, was first identified by Robert H. Silverman, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Cancer Biology at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute, in men who had a specific immune system defect that reduced their ability to fight viral infections.
"The discovery of XMRV in two major diseases, prostate cancer and now chronic fatigue syndrome, is very exciting. If cause-and-effect is established, there would be a new opportunity for prevention and treatment of these diseases," said Silverman, a co-author on the CFS paper.
Commonality of an immune system defect in patients with CFS and prostate cancer led researchers to look for the virus in their blood samples. In this study, WPI scientists identified XMRV in the blood of 68 of 101 (67 percent) CFS patients. In contrast, they found that eight of 218 healthy people (3.7 percent) contained XMRV DNA. The research team not only found that blood cells contained XMRV but also expressed XMRV proteins at high levels and produced infectious viral particles. A clinically validated test to detect XMRV antibodies in patients' plasma is currently under development.
These results were also supported by the observation of retrovirus particles in patient samples when examined using transmission electron microscopy. The data demonstrate the first direct isolation of infectious XMRV from humans.
"These compelling data allow the development of a hypothesis concerning a cause of this complex and misunderstood disease, since retroviruses are a known cause of neurodegenerative diseases and cancer in man," said Francis Ruscetti, Ph.D., Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, NCI.
Retroviruses like XMRV have also been shown to activate a number of other latent viruses. This could explain why so many different viruses, such as Epstein-Barr virus, which was causally linked to Burkitt's and other lymphomas in the 1970s, have been associated with CFS. It is important to note that retroviruses, like XMRV, are not airborne.
"The scientific evidence that a retrovirus is implicated in CFS opens a new world of possibilities for so many people," said Annette Whittemore, founder and president of WPI and mother of a CFS patient. "Scientists can now begin the important work of translating this discovery into medical care for individuals with XMRV related diseases."
Dan Peterson, M.D., medical director of WPI added, "Patients with CFS deal with a myriad of health issues as their quality of life declines. I'm excited about the possibility of providing patients, who are positive for XMRV, a definitive diagnosis, and hopefully very soon, a range of effective treatments options."
The Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro Immune Disease exists to bring discovery, knowledge, and effective treatments to patients with illnesses that are caused by acquired dysregulation of both the immune system and the nervous system, often resulting in lifelong disease and disability. www.wpinstitute.org
The Lerner Research Institute is home to Cleveland Clinic's laboratory, translational and clinical research. Its mission: to promote human health by investigating in the laboratory and the clinic the causes of disease and discovering novel approaches to prevention and treatments; to train the next generation of biomedical researchers; and to foster productive collaborations with those providing clinical care. More than 1,200 people in 11 departments work in research programs focusing on cardiovascular, cancer, neurologic, musculoskeletal, allergic and immunologic, eye, metabolic, and infectious disease. The Institute also is an integral part of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) leads the National Cancer Program and the NIH effort to dramatically reduce the burden of cancer and improve the lives of cancer patients and their families, through research into prevention and cancer biology, the development of new interventions, and the training and mentoring of new researchers. For more information about cancer, please visit the NCI Web site at http://www.cancer.gov or call NCI's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) -- The Nation's Medical Research Agency -- includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
REFERENCE: Lombardi VC, Ruscetti FW, Gupta JD, Pfost MA, Hagen KS, Peterson DL, Ruscetti SK, Bagni RK, Petrow-Sadowski C, Gold B, Dean M, Silverman RH, and Mikovits JA. Detection of Infectious Retrovirus, XMRV, in Blood Cells of Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Online October 8, 2009. Science.
Hi Friends, here is the long awaited paper!
Lombardi, V.C. et al. 2009. Detection of an
infectious retrovirus, XMRV, in blood cells of
patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Science,
online October 8. - doi:10.1126/science.1179052
~jan van roijen: see below
Retrovirus might be culprit in chronic fatigue syndrome
People with the condition are much more
likely than others to harbor a little-known
By Nathan Seppa
The long, fruitless search for the cause of chronic
fatigue syndrome has taken a curious turn. Scientists
report online October 8 in Science that an obscure
retrovirus shows up in two-thirds of people
diagnosed with the condition. The researchers also
show the retrovirus can infect human immune cells.
These findings don't establish that the pathogen,
called gammaretrovirus XMRV, causes chronic
fatigue, cautions study coauthor Robert Silverman, a
molecular biologist at the Lerner Research Institute
of the Cleveland Clinic.
"Nevertheless, it's exciting because it is a viable
candidate for a cause."
Roughly 1 to 4 million people in the United States
have chronic fatigue syndrome, according to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The condition shows up as mental and physical
exhaustion, memory lapses, muscle pain, insomnia,
digestive distress and other health problems.
Doctors often diagnose chronic fatigue only after
ruling out everything else. Its cause is unknown.
In the new study, the researchers tested blood from
101 people with chronic fatigue syndrome and found
that 68 were infected with XMRV. When the
scientists analyzed blood from 218 healthy people as
a control group, only eight had the virus - 4 percent.
The study participants lived in various parts of the
"This is a very striking association - two-thirds of
the patients," says John Coffin, a virologist at Tufts
University in Boston who wasn't involved in the
study. A 4 percent infection rate in the healthy
controls is also substantial, he notes, because it
suggests that 10 million people in the United States
are harboring this hidden infection.
If the retrovirus indeed is found to cause chronic
fatigue, the infected 4 percent in the control group
might represent people who have been infected for a
short time and haven't developed symptoms, or who
have kept the virus in check, says study coauthor
Judy Mikovits, a cell biologist at Whittemore
Peterson Institute in Reno and at the University of
Based on its genetic makeup, XMRV arose from a
mouse retrovirus that somehow jumped to humans.
Mikovits asserts that the retroviral infection might
result in an immune deficiency that leads to chronic
Retroviruses are known to attack the immune
system, with HIV being the best-known example. In
this study, researchers showed that XMRV infected
immune cells in the blood.
"This may end the controversy as to whether there is
an underlying infection in some cases of chronic
fatigue syndrome, but is unlikely to explain all
cases," says internist Dedra Buchwald of the
University of Washington in Seattle.
Retroviruses can awaken latent viruses already in
cells. It is possible that chronic fatigue symptoms
are caused not by XMRV but by other viruses that it
activates, she says.
Meanwhile, retroviruses harbor pro-growth genes,
and some cause the blood cancer leukemia in
animals and people.
XMRV - or xenotropic murine-leukemia-virus-related
virus - itself shows up in some men with prostate
cancer, particularly those with aggressive
malignancies, another research team reported last
month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of
Gammaretroviruses, a subset of retroviruses, also
cause disease in gibbons, cats and koalas, Silverman
says. "XMRV is the first member of this genus of
retrovirus to be found in humans," he notes.
In the new study, the researchers also found hints
that the retrovirus is transmitted by blood, as are
some other viruses, including HIV.
But it's probably not spreading very fast, because
people with chronic fatigue "are too sick to do
anything," Mikovits says.
Further research is under way to fine-tune testing for
the retrovirus, and more blood analyses are planned
that will clarify its occurrence rate in the general
Mikovits and her colleagues are investigating
already-approved antiretroviral drugs to see if these
will benefit people who have chronic fatigue.
The emergence of Medically Unexplained Illnesses has revealed an epidemic of behavioral problems and personality disorders in doctors.
Incline Village CFS survivor
The symptoms are disabling tiredness, irritable bowels, intense headaches, depression and cognitive dysfunction. Yet for years many doctors argued that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome didn't exist. They refused even to dignify it with the name previous sufferers preferred – Myalgic encephalomyelitis. ME, they said, was just "me" writ large and dismissed it as yuppy flu. In the event the flu has lasted longer than the yuppies did. Some four million people suffer from it in the United States alone. Now two potential avenues for cures come along at once. Researchers in Utah claim to have discovered the gene involved. Another team in Nevada have found compelling evidence that a retrovirus, like HIV, might well be implicated. Scientists could be on the brink of a breakthrough. We must hope that they are. That would – at least – go some way to compensating for the shameful manner in which sufferers were treated for so long by the medical profession.
Independent Leader & Steve Connor, Science Editor - The Independent
* The New Journalism - Challenging The Status Quo, page 3, The Case Of Ean Proctor
Professor Simon Wessely in Witch Finder General action in the lives of ME/CFS labelled children
Jane Bryant, National Vaccine Information Center Conference Speech, United States of America
* Most cases of chronic fatigue syndrome linked to virus
Richard Alleyne, Daily Telegraph
* Virus Is Found in Many With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Denise Grady, New York Times
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Cancer-Causing Virus Linked to Chronic Fatigue
Study isolates virus in chronic fatigue sufferers
Virus Linked To Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Landmark study published in Science magazine today
Monday, October 5, 2009
worlds on the Internet, such as Second Life can be used to help people with
ME/CFS, particularly in overcoming some of the isolation that is often
associated with these conditions, as well as providing a place where people
can meet others, and share information and support.
We are looking for volunteers who would be willing to participate in Canada
and Australia. This would involve two interviews either over the phone or
through Skype with one of our researchers, approximately six months apart,
as well as participating in a focus group discussion to be held in Second
Life in which other participants in the study from both Australia and Canada
would take part.
At the end of the study all participants will be able to maintain their free
Second Life account and continue to have access to all the online facilities
being constructed for this study on Murdoch University's Second Life Campus.
If you are interested in participating please contact Dr Mike Kent via email
at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0412 442 808.
What are we trying to find out?
This research is looking at the potential for virtual worlds such as Second
Life to help ease the isolation that is often associated with conditions
such as ME/CFS. There is an existing ME/CFS support group in Second Life
that speaks very highly of the positive effect participation in Second Life
has had on their lives, and this study is looking at how these experiences
might to transferable to the broader ME/CFS community.
Who are we looking for?
We are looking for volunteers who currently have ME/CFS and are connected to
the Internet and who would be interested in participating in this study. You
would need to have a broadband connection of some sort and a computer
capable of running the Second Life Software (generally a computer that was
purchased in the last 3 or 4 years).
What would you be asked to do?
There would be two interviews that take place either over the phone or
through the Internet using Skype that would be arranged approximately six
months apart at your convenience as well as participation in a focus group
with other people in the study that would be conducted in Second Life.
What is Second Life?
Second Life is a virtual world accessed through the Internet. It creates a
3D virtual world, where people are able to virtually move around and
interact with the world and with each other. Murdoch University has
developed its own campus on Second Life, with a dedicated building for this
Who is conducting this research?
This research is being conducted by Murdoch University through funding from
the Australia Research Council. The Chief Investigator in this project is Dr
Kirsty Best. Dr Best has been heavily involved in the ME/CFS support
community in her native Canada before moving to Australia and maintains
strong links with that organisation. Dr Mike Kent is the researcher with
responsibility for the Australian based division of this project.
I am currently running a research project in Canada and Australia that is
looking at the potential for the virtual world Second Life to help ease the
isolation frequently experienced by people with ME/CFS. I was wondering if
you would mind forwarding a request for volunteers in those two countries
through your site? We have constructed a resource centre in Second Life for
ME/CFS on Murdoch Universities virtual campus, that we are hoping will
continue as a resource once this study is completed. I have attached below a
suggested letter to be posted if that would be OK. Please feel free to
contact me if you would like any further information.
Dr Mike Kent
Critical Digital Hub
The Popular Culture Collective
It's time! Solve CFS.
As promised, we're back!
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