Tracking my efforts to beat Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), aka CFIDS, aka CFS

Tracking my efforts to beat Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), aka CFIDS, aka CFS

Monday, June 27, 2016

Article: biomarker for ME might be found in the gut biome

This article from Cornell Chronicle summarizes recent findings published in the journal, Microbiome, reporting that researchers could predict whether a person has ME based on the diversity of their microbiome, using stool samples.
"The researchers sequenced regions of microbial DNA from the stool samples to identify different types of bacteria. Overall, the diversity of types of bacteria was greatly reduced and there were fewer bacterial species known to be anti-inflammatory in ME/CFS patients compared with healthy people, an observation also seen in people with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. 
At the same time, the researchers discovered specific markers of inflammation in the blood, likely due to a leaky gut from intestinal problems that allow bacteria to enter the blood, Giloteaux said. Bacteria in the blood will trigger an immune response, which could worsen symptoms."
These might not be the most revolutionary findings, especially regarding the lack of diversity in gut bacteria (first quoted paragraph above), but I had never heard that it was, specifically, bacteria, that leaks into the bloodstream in leaky gut syndrome (second quoted paragraph).  The leaked substance has usually been described more generally as "particles" or "toxins" leaking into the bloodstream, not necessarily bacteria.  Could this be a significant finding?

Still, the articles doesn't address some obvious questions.  What is the connection between the lack of diversity in the gut biome and the leaky gut condition which allows some of those non-diverse bacteria to enter the bloodstream?  And what are the "specific markers of inflammation in the blood" the article references? Unfortunately, we would have to access the original publication in Microbiome to find out.  

Monday, June 6, 2016

5 Year Anniversary

Yesterday was my five year anniversary of having ME/CFS.  As almost every patient says on their anniversary: that happened fast!  At the same time, sometimes it almost feels like it is hard to remember a time when I didn't have to manage this illness.

I'm basically at the same place I was last year at the 4 year mark:  I have improved somewhat, stabilized really, since first getting ME/CFS, but any hope of recovering based on current treatment options is mostly gone.  If it was going to happen, it would have happened already.  So the treatments I'm trying these days are more geared toward managing the illness and hopefully preventing it from getting worse -- a main focus here is preventing the gradual buildup of toxins and oxidation in a body whose detoxification mechanism is broken.  My doctor believes this kind of build-up can hit a critical mass and cause irreversible crashes.

I continue to be hopeful that medical advances will lead to significantly better treatments and possibly even a cure in my lifetime.