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Review of stem cell therapy results as of September 2010

We are now almost 20 months out from the treatment with afterbirth derived stem cells of almost 25 CFS patients with 18 patients now out at least a year. There has clearly been dramatic success, especially in those under 35 years of age but a clearer picture is now emerging. Any success for those over sixty has been meager at best except perhaps briefly. More importantly, all stem cell responders which has been the great majority to date, are subject to varying degrees of regression, especially if they did not commit to our best anti-viral regime supported by all that we bring to bear in terms of broader CFS therapeutic support and recommended lifestyle changes in this practice. The majority of regressions are fortunately not back to baseline and most are holding above baseline and some are holding well above baseline. We have several ideas going forward and this important Newsletter post explores many of them

What is the role of GRV (previously called XMRV) in chronic lyme – Can chronic lyme exist without GRV?

From the point of view of my CFS-biased practice, chronic lyme does not exist independent of GRV infection but my practice cohort is heavily biased towards GRV and therefore is not well positioned to prove that chronic lyme can exist without GRV.

A second publication links CFS even closer to a novel family of retroviruses – What do we call them?

On the 23rd of August 2010, a PNAS on-line publication (Lo et al) was published out of the NIH and the FDA confirming Judy Mikovits’ October 2009 Science papers’ assertion that a Mouse Leukemia Virus (MLV)-related retrovirus (RV) is strongly linked to CFS. With an 87% association of this novel RV with CFS, the new study makes the association much tighter with CFS and ever closer to a possible causation claim as we are still using first generation testing and the biology of these RV agents is still poorly understood. The MLV-related human RV reservoir is still unknown and there appears to be only low copy numbers in blood making detection difficult and very methodology dependent. Given that the CFS-related strain reported in PNAS is not related to XMRV, a mouse virus, but rather to another mouse virus (PMRV) from the same family of mouse viruses suggests that a name change is in order to describe this family of novel “human” retroviruses. We propose the name Human Gammaretovirus or GRV’s for short with some agreement from my colleagues around the world.

Can structured or certain natural waters be of benefit to CFS

The issue of redox shifting as well as redox buffering in CFS appears of paramount importance. Cellular energy is critically dependent on redox and reduced energy fluctuations are dependent on proper redox buffering. In addition, many important viruses linked to CFS including herpes group viruses and the newly discovered retrovirus XMRV are likely very sensitive to the redox set point. At optimal redox set points, no viral replication is possible. These two concepts of viral activation and cellular energy as redox dependent makes attention to redox shifting of critical importance in CFS. It appears that certain types of water may be very useful in adjusting the redox state of CFS in a positive direction.

CFS venous blood gas (VBG) response to stem cells

This post examines dramatic changes seen in venous blood gases (VBG’s) following stem cell therapy in CFS which coincides clinically with improved skin turgor occurring with the first stem cell transfusion and continuing over time. Notable is the observation of improved skin turgor and “looking younger” which we get from many family members on observing the post-stem cell CFS cases. What is clear clinically is that they are having better microcirculation and you can see it in their faces.

Summary of stem cell therapeutic results through April 2010

We are now close to 20 CFS patients who have received stem cell transfusions primarily in Panama at SCI and coming up on 8 with 12-18 months of follow-up in June. We have three functional cures (KPS of 75-80) both clinically and by ETM, all under 36 years of age (N=3). A KPS of 75 means they can work full time with accommodation and 80 means they can work full time without accommodation in their job of choice. All three started at KPS’s of 50(2) to 60(1). Two of these functional cures have been sick for almost 20 years, one for 8 years, two are male and one is female. By summer, I hope to be in a position to publish the overall results at one year of follow-up. The early effects following stem cell transfusions are not that impressive functionally until about three to six months out, earlier for those under 40 and later for those over 40. All, however, show significant……

Are Antioxidants Problematic in the Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

What may be a driving force for both clinical benefits as well as relative risk of using antioxidants as well as omega-3 fish oil is the redox stability of the patient being treated. In the case of CFS, that redox stability or redox buffer capacity is very poor and demonstrable by ETM in all cases of CFS so far tested. The point is that antioxidants are all potentially pro-oxidants and possibly harmful if used to excess in an overly oxidizing state such as CFS as they cannot be maintained in their reduced state. If fully oxidized, antioxidants are pro-oxidants if they cannot be re-reduced. Published meta-analysis studies of anti-oxidant use show both increased mortality and morbidity in populations of both healthy and non-healthy patients. It is likely that if those studies could separate the redox stable vs. the redox unstable sub-sets of patients under study, the data might be much more compelling concerning the risk vs. benefit of pharmacologic doses of antioxidants.

Results of stem cell therapy at 7 months in a family of three.

Three family members, mother, son and daughter, all with CFS, were evaluated recently in my clinic. They all became sick in Prague, the Czech Republic, on the mothers sabbatical LOA from her college teaching position after all had a chicken-pox like illness. They are all seven months out from stem cell therapy in Panama. They all have improved significantly following stem cell therapy with the daughter claiming a complete cure after 17 years of illness at the age of 29. She is the second stem cell patient claiming a complete cure and includes an unrelated 23 year old male patient, also 7 months out from stem cells. Both cures took at least 90 days to become manifest with the first thirty days exhibiting significant hypersomnolence and with little energy to do much and typical for all the CFS stem cell patients (N=13).

Low birth weight, diastolic heart failure and CFS – Is there a connection?

Two published studies show that diastolic heart failure (DHF) in the elderly and low birth weights at term in infants have occurred during the same time frame from 1990-2000. No one has an explanation for these anomalies at the ends of the age spectrum in humans but suspect an environmental factor or factors. We have a rising case load of diastolic dysfunction seen in 97% of our CFS cases (ave. age 49) and some appear to have what I would call compensated diastolic heart failure. I would define compensated DHF in CFS as an extremely low cardiac output with a cardiac index (CI) below 2.0 and very poor functional capacity combined with the inability to stand which is the corollary in DHF to the inability to lay down flat in systolic heart failure (SHF). Heart failure patients are typically below 2.0 in CI. I have several CFS patients below that number and they cannot stand still for more than 15-30 seconds without having to sit down or fall down. Walking or moving helps which makes sense as that would increase filling pressures and equivalent to laying down. They might be diagnosed as having orthostatic intolerance by others. These patients are also typically thin or near ideal body weight and have a high catabolic to anabolic ratio on 24 hour urine hormone analysis when I have measured it.

More on Vitamin D3 and CFS

Vitamin D3 is regulated by P450 enzyme systems that are in turn decoupled due to low NADPH levels in CFS. This raises important questions regarding the reasons that may underlie low D3 levels typical for most CFS cases. The finding of increased intracellular calcium by UK investigators may also play into the reasons for finding low D3 in CFS. Given these deeper issues that may underlie D3 levels suggests that aggressive D3 therapy may not be the best course of action in CFS. D3 is a highly regulated pro-hormone and there could be good reasons for it to be down-regulated in CFS.