Brain Scans Show Distinct Biomarker of People With CFS
A new study from Stanford University School of Medicine adds an important piece to the CFS puzzle — a possible physical diagnosis for CFS.
The study, published in the journal Radiology, showed that a particular combination of three brain scans revealed changes in the "white matter" of the brain. This reflects changes in the nerves carrying information, predominantly focused in the right brain arcuate fasciculus, which connects the frontal and temporal lobes (a connection especially important in speech and word recognition).
The study also found global reduction in white matter volumes in people with CFS, which I believe is linked to peroxisomal dysfunction (a type of congenital disease characterized by the absence of normal levels of special parts within cells that contain enzymes responsible for critical cellular processes).
One CFS expert and researcher, Dr. Paul Cheney M.D. (The Cheney Clinic), has made similar observations on research in this area, noting that "The right anterior arcuate fasciculus was the white matter tract most significantly degraded and may therefore serve as a biomarker for CFS as this long tract degradation correlated with disease severity ... These tracts are important in short-term memory often reported by CFS cases and could impact the ability to repeat unfamiliar sounds and impair language comprehension."
Dr. Cheney further notes that these changes have been shown to be reversible, which is what we see clinically by treating with S.H.I.N.E.
A Few Implications
Cognitive dysfunction, often called "brain fog" is a key part of CFS and its painful cousin fibromyalgia. It does not result in a loss of intelligence, but rather the "brain fog" usually seen in CFS reflects more as difficulty with word finding and substitution and short-term memory. Interestingly, the current study shows evidence for nerve tract changes in the part of the brain involved in word finding and interpretation, confirming and helping us better understand what is being seen clinically.
As important? Unfortunately, a few doctors still have the abusive perspective that if they do not know what is wrong with the patient, then the person is crazy. This has resulted in over 80% of people with CFS, and is painful cousin fibromyalgia, being misdiagnosed with things like depression, neuroses, or having the illness attributed to their simply being female. It can be eye-opening to realize that the medical word hysteria comes from the Latin word "hysteron," which means uterus.
As has occurred in the past with many illnesses that afflict women more than men, and where a diagnostic lab test did not exist early in its exploration, some physicians have tried to make believe that the patient is simply crazy. This has happened with multiple sclerosis (called by some "hysterical paralysis"), rheumatoid arthritis, and more recently lupus. Now it's been CFS and fibromyalgia patients' turn to suffer from this. Fortunately, once testing was available to help make the diagnoses, MS, Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis went from being so-called "fictions made by hysterical women" to being real illnesses, and people suffering with these illness were finally given the emotional and physical support they needed, instead of the derision of ignorant and arrogant physicians.
With more and more studies proving conclusively that this is a real illness, physicians are starting to make the shift to understanding and compassion. For those remaining "Flat Earth" advocates — those who are still trying to make believe CFS and fibromyalgia are not real illnesses — this new study will hopefully bring them into the 21st century.
Attempting to invalidate this disabling and severe illness offers the busy physician an excuse to be lazy, which is easier than taking the time to properly learn about and care for patients with a complex illness, especially when insurance companies often will not pay for spending the needed time. It also allows an excuse for insurance companies (health and disability) to avoid paying patients billions of dollars they are due. Unfortunately, these "benefits" come at horrific costs to the patients' health.
The Simple Reality
CFS and fibromyalgia are clearly very real and devastating physical conditions. This was proven in our published placebo controlled study which showed that an integrated treatment protocol helped 91% of patients with an average 90% increase in quality of life. As the patients receiving placebo showed minimal improvement, while the active treatment patients showed dramatic improvement, this is clearly a real and physical illness.
We have effectively used the "S.H.I.N.E. Protocol" (Sleep, Hormonal support, Infection treatments, Nutritional support, and Exercise as able) in helping thousands of people.
Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.