Updated: Oct 19, 2022
In my over thirty years of treating people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (a.k.a. ME/CFS) and Fibromyalgia, I am more hopeful than ever that we are on the cusp of useful treatments to help people recover from these disabling conditions.
Just last week, the most productive conference of patients, researchers and other CFS stakeholders in recent memory took place amidst a lot of excitement.
One reason there has been recent interest and intensive research into these conditions, is the fact that the symptoms of Long Covid, or post-acute sequalae of SARS, CoV-2 infection, are extremely similar to those of chronic fatigue syndrome; or at least a subset of CFS felt to be post-viral in nature.
You see, there are a lot of people with CFS who trace the start of their condition to being triggered by a viral infection they never completely recovered from. Influenza A or Epstein Barr infection are often the culprits, both powerful viral infections.
Post-viral syndrome is a well characterized condition that occurs in up to 30% of people who develop a serious viral infection. In my experience, this occurs because approximately the same percentage of individuals in general do not have their health in perfect balance, and this is taken advantage of by the viral infection.
What do I mean by not in perfect balance? A lot of people are under too much stress or don’t eat healthfully. They may be low in Vitamin D. Many people have tired adrenal glands or their thyroid is underperforming. Maybe they already have one or more health conditions, such as IBS, diabetes or migraine headaches, that a powerful viral infection can exacerbate. Often, a number of these factors are combined.
These individuals can progress to develop post-viral symptoms that are very similar to CFS, fibromyalgia and Long Covid. This is a common scenario.
What’s incredibly hopeful right now is the attention, effort and research funding that is beginning to reach a critical mass in exploring new treatments for these conditions.
I believe the catalyst to what is now occurring has been the occurrence of Long Covid.
Within the past 2-3 years, 10 million Americans have come down with Long Covid symptoms. That is an astounding number! Researchers who have their hearts in the right place, like Dr. David Systrom of Harvard and Dr. Stephen Deeks of UCSF, are currently bringing their expertise to bear and research funding is starting to flow.
Most notably Astellas, a large pharmaceutical company based in Japan, is now funding an $8 million clinical trial of its mitochondrial modulator drug Bocidelparis to treat mitochondrial defects known to exist in CFS.
Bocidelparis modulates the same peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors pathway (PPAR) that has recently been identified as being involved in both chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and fibromyalgia (FM). This pathway plays a major role in energy homeostasis and also has anti-inflammatory properties. Bocidelparis metabolizes fatty acids so they can be used in energy metabolism. Acetyl-L Carnitine is a nutrient that helps accentuate this pathway as well.
Trust me, nothing moves the needle toward a medical breakthrough more than the interest and funding of Big Pharma.
In my next Blog, I will describe some exciting findings reported by Dr. David Systrom at the recent meeting of the International Association of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (IACFS/ME).
Stay tuned…it will be coming soon!
Wishing you the best in life and health!
Jon D. Kaiser, M.D.
Appointments: (415) 381-7655