I have come across an interesting article from Phoenix Rising about Dr Ian Lipkin who has been talking about the first results from the world’s largest ever biomedical ME/CFS study. Dr Ian Lipkin is a physician-scientist and Professor of Epidemiology at both the Mailman School of Public Health, and the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. He is also the Director of the Center for Infection and Immunity.

The study is looking for any pathogen (viral, bacterial, fungal or parasitic) to see if a chronic infection could explain ME/CFS. So far there is no clear sign of viruses but they have found strong evidence for immune overstimulation, both in blood plasma and in cerebro spinal fluid. They are now working hard to try and identify what could be causing these abnormalities.

As most people know Fibromyalgia is very similar to CFS/ME and some in the medical community believe they are the same thing. There is also evidence to suggest people diagnosed with one of these conditions may find their symptoms fit the definition of the other condition more closely. This does not particularly help in our understanding of the conditions and some patients liken the onset of the condition to “catching a virus” or claim that the condition started after a severe viral infection similar to Influenza (Flu).

Dr Ian Lipkin does (thankfully) seem to be looking into these possibilities and has been for some time. In 1999 he published his first paper on CFS and also made comments that would re-assure most patients with the condition. He said that: “there was a very strong sentiment in some portions of the scientific and clinical communities – not always and not everywhere – but in some portions of the community, that this was a psychological illness. What I said was that based on our findings we had very strong evidence that people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome were truly ill with a physical illness and they deserved a “Deep Dive” to find out why they were ill.” More recently he has said that: “I still believe the primary cause is likely to be an infectious agent.”

I know many people will welcome such research and we all hope for more research and discoveries when it comes to Fibromyalgia/ME/CFS so we can all be believed, but more importantly, get some relief.

The Original Article on Pheonix Rising