“Cellular Energy and its Impact on Health”

Dr. Klimas’s annual patient conference on Saturday, Feb 7th is approaching fast. Titled  “Cellular Energy and its Impact on Health” this half-day conference features some fascinating talks. Two from the Klimas team will sum up eight years of effort focused on attempting to understand and fix what’s happening during exercise.  Others will focus on methylation, the recently concluded Synergy trial, and nutrition.

Gordon Broderick: “Modelling Exercise Dynamics to Restore Immune Signaling in ME/CFS.”

Travis Craddock, Ph.D. “Virtual You: Modelling the Role of Homeostatic Drive in the Perpetuation of Chronic Illness.”

Could Broderick be our Einstein? OK – so Einstein is a bit much to lay on anyone. Broderick, like Einstein, though, can quickly leave your head spinning – even his own team doesn’t always understand what he’s saying, and he wants to fundamentally change the way we approach illness. If he has his way, researchers will be dealing with chronic illnesses in a very different manner in the future.

Broderick chronic fatigue syndrome

Our Einstein? Broderick is trying to turn our understanding of chronic illnesses upside down

The first two talks are from the two bioengineering/data mining/modelling experts at the Institute of Neuroimmune Studies at Nova Southeastern University, Gordon Broderick and Travis Craddock. They’ll be presenting the culmination of eight years of work analyzing hundreds of thousands of data points gathered before, during and after, the big “E”– exercise. They have data on what’s going on with your genes, hormones, cytokines, immune cells, the neuropeptides while your body is breaking down during exercise. It’s clearly the biggest dataset ever produced on what’s happening during exercise in these disorders.

They used those millions of data points to build explanatory models of disease. We may have gotten a taste of what’s coming year or so ago when Doctor Klimas said, if I remember correctly, that the autonomic nervous system tanks first during exercise – and then drags the immune system down with it.

chronic  fatigue syndrome stuck in illness  mode

The NSU team wants to break the chains that are keeping ME/CFS in place

That would be more than enough, but it’s not all. They’ve also built virtual models to identify which medications might work best and in what order to get ME/CFS patients out of the “homeostatic lockdown” they’re in. (If you remember, the NSU team believes ME/CFS and GWS patients have their systems set at a “new normal” – a suboptimal set point – that resists movement. That “new normal” brings to mind Dr. Cheney’s statement years ago that after he pushes ME/CFS patients towards health something pushes them back. )

If you can figure out what’s keeping the system stuck in “illness mode”, you have a chance at getting it unstuck. The next step for this very creative group is to initiate clinical trials, and it sounds like they may be in the process of doing that.

We’ll see how far they’ve gotten in the two talks – that by themselves are obviously worth the price of admission.

Richard Deth, Ph.D. “Importance of Antioxidant and Methylation Status in Fatiguing Illnesses.”

methylation chronic  fatigue syndrome

Deth will speak on how oxidative stress and methylation contributes to fatigue

Richard Deth brings considerable expertise in mitochondrial and brain functioning and energy pathways to ME/FS and similar disorders. A recent Nova Southeastern hire, Deth is primarily interested in the roles oxidative stress and methylation play in neurological disorders.

That’s good expertise to have as high. High levels of oxidative stress have consistently been found in ME/CFS and fibromyalgia, and methylation – a process that affects how our genes express themselves – is looking more and more like a big deal. Patrick McGowan of the Solve ME/CFS Initiative recently got a nice grant to further his work in this area.

Jon Kaiser, M.D. “Mitochondrial Medicine and ME/CFS”

Synergy chronic fatigue syndrome

Preliminary results from the Synergy trial will presumably be released

I’m hoping big time that Jon Kaiser’s Synergy trial combining low-dose methylphenidate and mitochondrial and immune enhancing supplements in ME/CFS works out. Kaiser’s present study had its genesis several decades ago when he began working on ways to protect the mitochondria of HIV patients from the damaging effect of HIV drugs. He applied the insights he learned from the HIV patients to his ME/CFS patients and then boosted the formula (adding methylphenidate and other factors) to meet their special needs.

Personally, I’m not asking for the moon; a twenty percent increase in energy from a cheap drug and supplements would be fantastic. Kaiser’s big multicenter study was due to wrap in December of last year. It looks like we’re about to get some preliminary results. I’m crossing my fingers that they’re positive.

Lisa Dorfman, M.S., R.D., CSSD, LMHC, FAND “Practical Nutrition Strategies for Achieving Optimal Health.”

Lisa Dorfman recently published “Performance Nutrition For Tackling Stress”. I like her focus on “practical” (presumably inexpensive) strategies for achieving optimal health. It’ll interesting to see if she will tailor her talk to the needs of ME/CFS and FM patients.

Panel Discussion

Finally, a panel consisting of Irma Rey M.D., Maria Vera MD., and Connie Sol, exercise physiologist will join the speakers for a panel discussion on strategies to increase cellular energy. They will also be responding to questions from members on-site and watching the webcast.

For more on the conference go here or you can register for it using the links below


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