Sunday, September 27, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
There is no evidence to suggest chiropractors are effective in treating people with fibromyalgia, according to a new review of existing literature on the subject.
Professor Edzard Ernst of the Peninsula Medical School at the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, carried out the study.
"Many patients use chiropractic as a treatment of fibromyalgia and many chiropractors seem to be convinced that it is effective for that condition," he explained in the medical journal Clinical Rheumatology.
"The aim of the study was to conduct a systematic review of randomised clinical trials testing the effectiveness of chiropractic care for fibromyalgia."
Professor Ernst reviewed three previous research articles on the effect of chiropractic treatment for the condition, which were found through six electronic searches through online databases.
The three studies were judged to have "poor" methodological quality and they "generated no evidence to suggest that chiropractic care is effective for fibromyalgia".
"Currently, there is insufficient evidence to conclude that chiropractic is an effective treatment for fibromyalgia," Professor Ernst concluded.
Fibromyalgia is also known as chronic widespread pain and occurs mainly in women. The disease affects the muscles, and the intense pain, fatigue and depression associated with the condition make it distressing for sufferers, many of whom may find that they cannot continue with their daily activities.
At present, there is no known cure for fibromyalgia, though patients are advised to exercise, seek counselling if they are depressed and discuss medication to improve symptoms with their GPs.
The Arthritis Research Campaign is currently carrying out a major clinical trial to find out if a combination of exercise and cognitive behavioural therapy improves the symptoms of chronic widespread pain, which includes fibromyalgia.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
Belgian doctors, Professor Kenny De Meirleir and Dr Chris Roelant, have developed a simple test that, they claim, solves the mystery of 'yuppie flu'.
Anna's deterioration was rapid and unrelenting. One moment the pretty, young Scandinavian woman was at the peak of youthful vitality, newly married and excited about the future. The next, that future was much diminished, her life limited to the environs of her bedroom, and dictated to by the illness that had overwhelmed her.
It had started with persistent fatigue, muscle pain, and a growing sensitivity to light after a honeymoon trip to Mexico in the summer of 2006. By December, she was in a wheelchair. Three months later she was bedridden, her face pale, her features shrunken, barely able to move or talk, and being fed through a naso-gastric tube.
Anna – not her real name as her identity is being protected at the request of her family – was the subject of a short film shown at a conference in London last week. Her case, according to Professor Kenny De Meirleir of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium, illustrates the worst ravages of myalgic encephalomyelitis/encephalopathy or ME, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome or post viral fatigue syndrome.
Once it was derided as "yuppie flu" because, following its emergence in the early Eighties, its "typical" victim was, supposedly, a high-achieving young professional. ME was also assumed by many doctors, and much of the public, to be psychosomatic in origin – if it existed at all.
In more enlightened times, ME is now accepted by the World Health Organisation, and Britain's medical royal colleges, as a complex, chronic disease of varying severity characterised by a complex set of symptoms. (In addition to extreme fatigue, and general malaise, there are musco-skeletal symptoms, especially muscle pain, brain and central nervous symptoms, evidence of immune system dysfunction, mood swings, depression etc.) According to the ME Association, there are 250,000 sufferers in Britain.
The debate about the cause of ME continues to flourish at conferences, in journals and on websites: are the symptoms a physical manifestation of a problem in the brain such as a chemical imbalance; is sustained stress or exertion to blame; or is ME the result of abnormal physiological functioning, with an organic cause, such as a viral or bacterial infection, or exposure to a toxic agent?
The answer is crucial because it determines the direction of research funding which has, according to Prof De Meirleir, for too long been skewed in favour of a psychiatric approach. He hopes to change that. After more than 20 years of investigation, and having assessed and treated thousands of patients in Europe and America, Prof De Meirleir, who is an internist at the Himmunitas Foundation in Brussels (a non-profit organisation specialising in chronic immune disorders), believes he has identified a mechanism to explain the development of ME that opens up new treatment options.
In addition, he and his fellow Belgian, Dr Chris Roelant, Chief Operating Officer of the diagnostics company Protea biopharma, have developed a self-diagnosing urine test for ME. If they are correct – and that must be determined by scrutiny of their research and use of the test by other scientists and doctors – then it marks an encouraging breakthrough. The symptoms of ME are wide-ranging and occur in a number of other conditions, so a diagnosis of ME is currently reached only after eliminating other causes. "This test will tell patients that it is not a problem between their ears, but a real physiological problem," insists Dr Roelant.Prof De Meirleir and Dr Roelant have, somewhat controversially, opted to go public with their findings before publication in a peer-reviewed journal. They say this is because of the implications of their research, especially for severely debilitated ME patients. At the Invest in ME conference in London last Friday they also raised the possibility of "transmissability" of the illness in this group of patients – another controversial claim.
Prof De Meirleir has never believed that ME is an "illness of the mind". Exercise physiology was his initial area of expertise and it was in this capacity that he was asked by a psychiatrist to assess some of his patients who were suffering from a mystery illness characterised by extreme fatigue.
"One of them was a banker who started work at 9am and had to finish at 11am because he was so exhausted," says Prof De Meirleir. "He did not appear to be suffering from any psychiatric disorder."
The case ignited the young doctor's interest. During a six-month sabbatical at the University of Pennsylvania in 1990, he heard about the "Lake Tahoe epidemic". In 1984, hundreds of people living in a small town on Lake Tahoe in California succumbed to a flu-like illness. The symptoms, including fatigue, neurological and immunological symptoms, persisted in just under 10 per cent of the population (about 300). This was followed by numerous reports of outbreaks of a similar illness around the world, and persuaded Prof De Meirleir of the likelihood of a causative agent being involved in ME, a fact that has heavily influenced his research interests. Since the early 1990s, he has built up a large clinical practice in Brussels where he sees around 2,000 new patients a year. Antibiotics are a cornerstone of his therapeutic approach, as dictated by his research.
In recent years, and in collaboration with a microbiologist, Dr Henry Butt, and his team at the University of Melbourne, Prof De Meirleir has focused on bacteria in the gastro-intestinal tract. "This is an obvious place to start since 80 per cent of immune system cells are located here," he says. A healthy, functioning gut is colonised by "good" bacteria that aid digestion and contribute to our wellbeing. Many ME patients suffer from multiple intestinal symptoms, and Prof De Meirleir believes that an overgrowth of "bad" bacteria, including enterococci, streptococci and prevotella, is to blame. These bacteria are normally present in very small quantities in a healthy gut, but can initiate a sequence of events leading to the multifarious symptoms of ME if they proliferate. (This research will be published in the journal In Vivo, in July).
These "bad" bacteria produce hydrogen sulphide (H2S)– a gas naturally occurring in the body, where it has several functions – in minute quantities. However, in larger quantities, it is a poisonous gas that suppresses the immune system, and damages the nervous system, according to Prof De Meirleir. (Hydrogen sulphide is produced by some animals in preparation for hibernation because it "shuts down" the body which, in effect, is what occurs in ME.) In addition, Prof De Meirleir described how he believes the gas reacts with metals, including mercury, introduced in minute amounts as contaminants in food. The form of mercury produced after reacting with hydrogen sulphide also disrupts the normal production of energy (known as the Krebs Cycle) by individual cells, and this, he says, would explain the energy shortfall experienced by ME patients.
Normal cellular functioning is inhibited and, over time, this generates damaging free radicals, highly reactive molecules that distort the structure of key proteins, such as enzymes and hormones, necessary for chemical reactions. This results in what Prof De Meirleir calls "aberrant" proteins (or prions), which lead to further symptoms as the body is increasingly compromised, and which he says may play a role in the transmissibility of ME.
The urine test, developed by Prof De Meirleir and Dr Roelant in their privately funded research, detects the presence of hydrogen sulphite metabolites, which they say confirm the presence of abnormal quantities of hydrogen sulphide-producing bacteria. The intensity of the colour change in the urine indicates the severity of the disease progression.
Not every ME patient progresses to its most severe form, says Prof De Meirleir, but the varying symptoms can all be explained by this proposed mechanism for the disease. In the worst cases of ME, he says it can be shown that there is an almost complete eradication of "good" bacteria (such as E. coli), the presence of a high number of "bad" bacteria in stools, metal deposits in tissues, and the presence of aberrant proteins in saliva. "What we have shown is that these patients have an organic disease involving one of the most toxic substances [H2S] that exist," he says.
So what causes the proliferation of harmful bacteria in the first place? There are, he says, many potential triggers ranging from food- borne bacterial (eg salmonella) infections, viruses, and toxins, or mental stress. He says many ME sufferers have a history of gut disorders including gluten and lactose intolerance, which may predispose them to colonisation by enterococci and streptococci.
Anna, the 28-year-old Scandinavian patient, is typical in this respect, he claims; she had gut problems in the past, including possible food poisoning while in Mexico. Her treatment focuses on short courses of antibiotics to decrease the numbers of bad bacteria, treatment with probiotic supplements to help restore the good bacteria, plus vitamin and mineral supplements. "She is improving," says Prof De Meirleir.
ME support groups and the medical profession are now considering Prof De Meirleir's work. However, Sir Peter Spencer, chief executive of Action for ME, welcomed the findings, albeit with a caveat: "It is always heartening to see new developments that might bring hope to the 250,000 people in the UK affected by this horrible illness.
"We look forward to seeing Professor Meirleir's findings published in a peer-reviewed journal so that we can develop a better understanding of this research."
Prof De Meirleir says that helping patients like Anna, of whom he has known many, is what has brought him to this point. "This has preoccupied me for more than 20 years. I told [the psychiatrists] we would find a cause, and I believe we have." There are many ME patients and their families who must hope that he is right.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Provided by Member Susana
Originally Posted May 12th
Today is the sixth annual National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. The first Walk of F.A.M.E. (Fibromyalgia Awareness Means Everything) was held in 2008. This year the National Fibromyalgia Association has changed the Walk of Fame to include virtual walkers since some Fibromyalgia sufferers simply can't participate in an organised walk or run. Their symptoms simply don't allow them to exert themselves physically.
Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterised by chronic, body-wide pain, persistent fatigue, chronic headaches, cognitive or memory impairment, low blood pressure, blurred vision, gastrointestinal disorders and non restorative sleep. Instigators include trauma, neurological conditions, neurohormonal changes, autoimmune irregularities and myofascial pain. More than 6 million Americans, 90 percent of them female, suffer with Fibromyalgia, affecting relationships with family members, friends and employers. There is no cure. Effective treatment consists of concerted efforts of educated patients and physicians.
I've joined the cause this year. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 1989 and have spent some years since in debilitating fashion and some in relative remission. The past seven months have probably been the most difficult for me with Fibromyalgia. The disorder is exacerbated by stress, and I've had quite a bit in the past short while. My husband's grandfather passed away in August, followed by our house burning down in October. A total loss, including losing one of our precious dogs, our boxer, Baby, who saved our lives. Our company's been bought out, and adapting is hard, in addition to fear of downsizing.
I am usually a positive person; I think all my friends would say that I'm one of the most positive people they know, always laughing, always finding the bright lining in things. It is because of this that many people who suffer from Fibromyalgia are misunderstood and believed to be "fine." Many of us don't let the trials and tribulations, the pains of every day, and the impossible fatigue stop us on most days.
The Lyrica commercial leaves much to be desired. It portrays a person who has Fibromyalgia as "not one to lay down and quit" only if they take Lyrica. This is a bad commercial and a bad portrayal of the many of us who suffer from this disorder. Most of us don't lay down and quit any time; on the contrary, we fight to function normally and be considered normal. It's those times when we can't that really get us down, in addition to the perception that we are "fine" because there are no outward signs of the disorder.
Please join me in supporting the cause: Contribute to research at www.fmaware.org. Even if you can't or don't desire to contribute, you can still make a difference by recognising the limitations of those of us who have Fibromyalgia. A little understanding goes a long way.
Friday, April 10, 2009
The global financial crisis is likely to lead to an increase in the number of people accessing the disability support pension, the federal government says.
Parliamentary secretary for disabilities Bill Shorten says growth in the number of people accessing the disability support pension has been greater than in any other pension category in the 10 years to 2007.
Between 1996 and 2007, the number of disability support pensioners increased from 499,000 to about 725,000, he said.
"In these difficult economic circumstances, yes, I think it will go up again," he said following an address at the National Press Club on Wednesday.
The government wants to develop a national plan to get more people with disabilities into the workforce and off the pension.
But Mr Shorten said there was concern that workers with disabilities could be the first to lose their jobs during the financial crisis.
"Maybe's there a temptation amongst some employees to say, 'well people with disabilities should be the first to be, metaphorically, thrown overboard'."
"That's not appropriate," he said.
Mr Shorten said jobs for people with disabilities in areas like gardening and manufacturing were at risk, as well as services provided by the not-for-profit sector, which relies heavily on grants from the business sector.
Sean Fitzgerald, a 38-year-old quadriplegic, has helped businesses access the necessary technology to employ disabled workers for years.
He wants businesses to be required to take on a percentage of disabled workers, and adequate government funding to make this possible.
"People with a disability provide more than just productivity and a bum in a seat in a business, they provide a level of diversity and understanding," he told AAP.
"It is very difficult for an employee to spend their life bitching about the boss when they're sitting next door to someone who has obviously got so much more to deal with in life."
The federal government took delivery two weeks ago of a review of pensions by the head of the Families Department, Jeff Harmer.
Details of the review are yet to be released, but Families Minister Jenny Macklin earlier this week guaranteed disability support pensioners, as well as some other pensioners, would receive a boost in their fortnightly payments in the May budget.
Disability support pensioners receive up to $569.80 a fortnight. It's expected that will be lifted by up to $30 a week.
Source - Sydney Morning Herald
Found by Member: Gypsy
Thursday, April 9, 2009
The researchers, led by A. Venket Rao of the University of Toronto, found that giving patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) a probiotic for two months not only boosted so-called "good" bacteria in their stomachs, it also led to a significant decrease in their anxiety symptoms.
A probiotic is a dietary supplement, most often in pill or powder form, that contains live bacteria such as Lactobacillus or Bifidobacteria. These bacteria help maintain gut flora, microbes in the stomach that perform a variety of functions, including aiding digestion, boosting the immune system and warding off harmful bacteria. "We were quite excited with the fact that these were positive results and we felt that probiotics truly have a role to play in the management of neurophysiological disorders such as anxiety, such as depression and other symptoms associated with that," Rao told CTV News. "Rather than going into medications, which may result in side effects, it's a safe, it's a very easy way to manage problems such as that."
The findings are published in the journal BMC Gut Pathogens. Patients who are diagnosed with CFS often experience a broad range of symptoms, the most significant being persistent fatigue.
Nearly all CFS patients also experience neuropsychological problems, such as cognitive dysfunction, sleep disturbances, anxiety and depression. In fact, according to the researchers, about half of all CFS patients meet the diagnostic criteria for an anxiety disorder or major depressive disorder. As well, CFS patients often complain of gastrointestinal problems and many are diagnosed with digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome. Tests show that they often have lower levels of so-called "good" bacteria in their stomachs, which can regulate digestive activity.
All of this has led researchers to begin probing a link between gut bacteria and mental disorders and early findings suggest that bacteria levels may influence behaviour related to anxiety and depression. Researchers believe that probiotics "crowd out" the more toxic stomach bacteria that are linked to an increase in depression and other mood disorders, study co-author Dr. Alison C. Bested told CTV News.
For this study, Rao, Bested and their team gave 39 CFS patients either a daily dose of Lactobacillus casei or a placebo for two months. They found that 73 per cent of subjects taking the probiotic experienced an increase in levels of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria in the gut, which corresponded with a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms.
In the placebo group, only 37.5 per cent showed an increase in Bifidobacteria, while only 43.8 per cent showed an increase in Lactobacillus bacteria. The researchers found no statistically significant change in anxiety symptoms among this group. According to Bested, Bifidobacteria appears to increase levels of tryptophan in the brain, a chemical that "helps people feel better." Patients taking the probiotic also showed a marked improvement in their digestion, experiencing less bloating and gas and a reduction in inflammation. The findings are "huge," Bested said. "(Subjects) felt less anxious, they felt calmer, they felt better able to cope with their illness, they were sleeping better, had less heart palpitations and less symptoms of anxiety," she said. "We were pleasantly surprised, that people who were taking probiotics were able to lower their anxiety." Rao explained that the good bacteria produce "compounds that get to the brain and help the brain to manage problems associated with behavioural and mood problems, such as anxiety and depression."
He said the findings open "a door to a whole new field, and that is the relationship of gut micro flora, or gut bacteria, to many disorders - mental disorders being one of them. So it opens a door to many future research and applications in this area."
(c) 2009 Bell Canada
Monday, March 30, 2009
So instead of the old url with the number in it - cfsandfmshelp.proboards84.com
It is now cfsandfmshelp.proboards.com so if you have the forum bookmarked or are linked to it from your website/blog it would be best to upgrade it. The old url should redirect you to the new one but it's best to update it just in case.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Objective: To examine the neuropsychological function characterised in subjects with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) at the same time controlling for relevant confounding factors. CFS is associated with symptoms of neuropsychological dysfunction. Objective measures of neuropsychological performance have yielded inconsistent results possibly due to sample selection bias, diagnostic heterogeneity, co-morbid psychiatric disorders, and medication usage.
Method: CFS subjects (n = 58) and well controls (n = 104) from a population-based sample were evaluated, using standardised symptom severity criteria. Subjects who had major psychiatric disorders or took medications known to influence cognition were excluded. Neuropsychological function was measured using the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB).
Results: Compared with controls, CFS subjects exhibited significant decreases in motor speed as measured in the simple and five-choice movement segments of the CANTAB reaction time
task. CFS subjects also exhibited alterations in working memory as manifested by a less efficient search strategy on the spatial working memory task, fewer % correct responses on the spatial recognition task, and prolonged latency to a correct response on the pattern recognition task. A significantly higher percentage of CFS subjects versus controls exhibited evidence of neuropsychological impairment (defined by performance 1 standard deviation below the CANTAB normative mean) in tasks of motor speed and spatial working memory. Impairment in CFS subjects versus control subjects ranged from 20% versus 4.8% in five-choice movement time (p = .002) to 27.8% versus 10.6% in search strategy on the spatial working memory task (p = .006).
Conclusions: These results confirm and quantify alterations in motor speed and working memory in CFS subjects independent of co-morbid psychiatric disease and medication usage.
For a more in depth read of the research click here (PDF)
Source - Co-Cure.org
Monday, March 23, 2009
Authors: Newton JL, Sheth A, Shin J, Pairman J, Wilton K, Burt JA, Jones DE.
Affiliation: Institute for Cellular Medicine, University of
Newcastle, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom.
NLM Citation: PMID: 19297309
Objective: To examine blood pressure circadian rhythm in subjects with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and appropriate normal and fatigued controls to correlate parameters of blood pressure regulation with perception of fatigue in an observational cohort study. The cause of CFS remains unknown and there are no effective treatments.
Methods: To address whether inactivity was a confounder, we performed a 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring in the following three subject groups: 1) CFS patients (Fukuda Diagnostic criteria) (n = 38); 2) normal controls (n = 120); and 3) a fatigue comparison group (n = 47) with the autoimmune liver disease primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). All patients completed a measure of fatigue severity (Fatigue Impact Scale). In view of the different demographics between the patient groups, patients were age- and sex-matched on a case-by-case basis to normal controls and blood pressure parameters were compared.
Results: Compared with the control population, the CFS group had significantly lower systolic blood pressure (p < .0001) and mean arterial blood pressure (p = .0002) and exaggerated diurnal variation (p = .009). There was a significant inverse relationship between increasing fatigue and diurnal variation of blood pressure in both the CFS and PBC groups (p < .05). Conclusion: Lower blood pressure and abnormal diurnal blood pressure regulation occur in patients with CFS. We would suggest the need for a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of agents to increase blood pressure such as midodrine in CFS patients with an autonomic phenotype.
Posted @ Forum by Upnorth