Dr. Kerr on "Mitosomatic Diseases" Like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
Interesting interview with Courtney Craig and Dr. Kerr who is still studying ME/CFS but now in Colombia (!).

Kerr on his recent paper: There were seven diseases looked at in total, chronic fatigue and six others and it's just a very interesting phenomenon given the fact that mitochondrial abnormalities are known to play a role in chronic fatigue syndrome. Even with mitochondrial disease you get abnormalities in the mitochondrial anatomy which has also been documented in chronic fatigue syndrome so it is very interesting.

He really doesn't fancy sugar! Absolutely. And it's very interesting that recently there is several very high profile studies which re-examine the proposed role, the presumptive role, of saturated fat in coronary artery disease. These studies find no relation between the consumption between saturated fat and atherosclerosis whatsoever. It's more and more thought that sugar may be the culprit.

Courtney Craig:

...you talk about this in your paper--we need to instead, classify these as not infectious diseases but as mitosomatic diseases. I love how you coin that in this paper. So what are we talking about when we talk about mitosomatic disease? Instead of maybe infectious or even psychosomatic, which is a terrible word associated with ME/CFS?

Dr. Kerr: Yes, yes it is. Well mitosomatic will be abnormalities in the mitochondria which result in partial disability of their function resulting somatic symptoms. I think this paper looks at the mitochondrial angle but within an individual, there are multiple factors in pathogenesis and I think they all interact.

I would also like to see more research in the mitochondrial area. I think the evidence for a mitochondrial abnormality extends back for a very long time and there are multiple pieces of the jigsaw which have become slowly apparent over the years and it does fit with the clinical presentation of the disease and I think that it is very likely this plays an important role in the pathogenesis of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Interesting idea of management in ME/CFS vs other diseases

Dr. Kerr: Yes indeed and then the patients have had a hard time and it's understandable that they would wish for a breakthrough that will validate their suffering and their disease and make it a legitimate one which is something that CFS patients have to struggle with. But nonetheless I think there are great breakthroughs to be had in accepting the situation as it is working with it as best we can because there are lots of supplements which we take and there are dietary modifications for mitochondrial aspects.

For the virus aspect, if we can identify which virus triggered our chronic fatigue syndrome, which is difficult, but if we can do it we can use a specific treatment. And if we are conscious of ourselves and aware of certain things that make us stressed we can manage stuff better so I think there is multiple ways in which CFS patients could effectively manage their illnesses and it would be a proper management.

Basically there is this illusion that the management of other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis is much better than the management of chronic fatigue syndrome. Well it is and it isn't. In one way these other diseases have a better image but in another way we don't have cures so it's just juggling of drugs really for a lot of these diseases and they could be managed better in terms of diet, viral infection as well. So I think in some ways the CFS patients are in the same place as these other diseases.


I really was interested in his discussion of how heterogeneous this illness is and how we all would like there to be one virus or one bacteria responsible, but that is really unlikely to happen. Multiple causes for multiple subgroups.
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