Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: What If It's Not XMRV?

The words "belief" and "hope" don't play too well in science, but patients and researchers are only human, after all. Even diehard skeptics like us keep wishing that XMRV turns out to be the viral key to CFS/ME. Just last August we posted "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Viral Link Confirmed." Then came the debate we promised. To ground this complex subject in personal terms, we recommend two stories published this month.

In "Virology: Fighting for a cause," Nature News reports how Judy Mikovitz, the researcher who first proposed the xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) may cause chronic fatigue syndrome, is now torn between doubting colleagues and believing patients. Mikovitz is a viral immunologist at the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease (WPI) in Reno, Nevada.

On About.com, Adrienne Dellwo simply asks, "What If XMRV Isn't Linked to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?" and speaks directly to patients trying to make sense of contradicting studies and lofty scientific arguments. In the comments section you'll feel the emotional investment patients have made in this work.

It seems to us Mikovitz and her WPI team are holding up rather well under very close scrutiny. We'll stick by our HyperbaricLink CFS page, where we conclude that "confirmed association with [XMRV], previously associated with prostrate cancer, may open a new era of CFS research, diagnosis, and treatment." Nor do we find any new reason to champion the use of hyperbaric oxygen in this fascinating area of clinical research.

O2.0 is the news blog of HyperbaricLink, the independent web guide to hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

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