Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Persistant Viral Infection in kids with M.E

07 September 2010



New research co-funded by The Young ME Sufferers Trust


Today there has been extensive media coverage of pioneering research funded
jointly by The Young ME Sufferers Trust and ME Research UK.

Our funds were raised by the 2001 Odyssey, a marathon solo horse-ride on a
racing stallion from Lulworth Cove, Devon, to Scotland, culminating in a
procession up the Royal Mile, Edinburgh. I still recall the fun and games I
had getting permission for that!

The scientists at Dundee Hospital studied 25 children with ME and 23 healthy
children, recruited from across the UK to take part in the research; the
healthy children were matched for age, gender and state of puberty in order
to draw as valid a comparison as possible.

The initial diagnosis of CFS/ME was made by the children's local consultant
or paediatrician or general practictioner and was confirmed by the searchers
from clinical examination.

The study reveals that children with ME show evidence of having an ongoing -
or 'persistent' - viral infection. This is potentially a momentous finding.
A much greater number of neutrophils - the most common type of white blood
cells - were found to be at the end of their life cycle. The high turnover
of neutrophils indicates the body's need to fight infection.

Samples also contained higher than normal levels of free radicals, molecules
which can damage cells, tissues and organs via a process called oxidative
stress. Increased oxidative stress can occur when white blood cells are
chronically stimulated, for instance, by an infection. The combination of
this oxidative stress and the quantity of white blood cells points to
ongoing inflammation, a likely response to an infection.

The study was published in 'Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine'.
In our opinion, the findings have implications for how children with ME are

A number of radio and TV programmes covered the study and there were many
interviews with Professor Jill Belch and myself, starting early in the
morning and continuing throughout the day. I made it clear that the
consequences of ME in children must be taken seriously, and emphasised the
importance of further virological research, with a view to treatment.
Further coverage is expected in the press and media.

Children with ME are too often treated with scepticism by the healthcare
system, and even denied their right to suitable education and other support.
We continue to fight their corner with the resources that our supporters
have been kind enough to donate.

Jane Colby FRSA
Executive Director
The Young ME Sufferers Trust
PO Box 4347, Stock, Essex, CM4 9TE
Tel: 0845 003 9002


My own note:  Research into biomedical causes and effects of M.E, rather than psychological studies have all been funded by Charities and private donations in the UK.  All of the government allocated funds have gone into psychosocial research, despite patients and carers campaigning for years that Biomedical Research was our best hope.

We don't need to be told to cheer up and be positive.  What we need is to get to the bottom of what causes M.E, what sustains it and discover therapies that really help sufferers.  If you have got a broken ankle, you can be as positive and cheerful as you like, but what actually helps is special treatment from an Orthopaedic surgeon.

Mostly, the people who donate to M.E Research in the UK are sick people living in poverty who can only afford a pound or two at a time.  Yet they do it because they want to find a cause and a cure so that they and thousands more in the same position may get well.  It is a horrible illness to have and you have to be barking mad to think anyone actually wants it.

It will be difficult for the UK to continue it's official view that it is 'all in the mind', now that the American National Institute of Health and the Food and Drug Administration have replicated and confirmed the findings of the Whittemore Petersen's Institute in Reno that a Retrovirus is involved in over 90% of M.E cases. Can they really stick their heads in the sand and ignore solid research evidence yet again?  That remains to be seen.  I'm sure they will go on with it for a while, but as they become more out of step with International research findings they will either have to adapt or look very silly indeed.

No comments: