Thursday, June 23, 2011

Alan Light 2011 Lecture: Gene Expression Biomarkers for Chronic Fatigue & Fibromyalgia Syndromes

As a follow-up to the last post, here is his 2011 lecture (about 1 hour) by Alan Light for OFFER Utah about his very excellent ME/CFS gene-expression study.
This is objective data that there is biological reason for the symptoms [in ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia].

You may want to switch to 1080p HD to best view the slides.
(Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5)

My take-home messages:

1. 70% of ME/CFS patients have Fibromyalgia (FMS) symptoms. And Fibromyalgia gets worse after exercise, even if the definition for FMS does not specify for it. And a majority of FMS patients (but not all) have ME/CFS symptoms.

2. TRPV1 contributes to the body's temperature set point.

3. Alan Light found a sensory definition of fatigue (The nerves at the muscle tell the brain "You are tired") in ME/CFS that contributes to the desire to use the muscles less. It is related to "actual" muscle fatigue ("The muscle is about to fail"), but it is not the same.

4. In both ME/CFS and FMS there is a 40% subgroup, that has a Ad2A (vasoconstriction) decrease. That gene is responsible for preventing orthostatic intolerance (OI / POTS). 70% patients with this gene expression profile have orthostatic intolerance, and 20% without have POTS (it might depend when and how you measure POTS).

5. FMS without CFS patients look like controls after execercise, but have different baseline levels. P2X4, TRPV1 and IL10 are expressed higher at baseline.

6. Gene expression as biomarker for ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia? Specificity 94% (6% of false negatives) and sensitivity of 65% (35% of false positives), good but not excellent biomarker, could be improved. Might be clinically available within 2 to 3 years.

7. The orthostatic subgroup should be treated differently.

8. Pregabalin or Gabapentin decrease the level of pain and of mental fatigue - maybe.

9. The cause could be increase of sensitivity of fatigue and pain, or dysfunction of the sympathetic nervous system.
(My comment, this the only flaw of Alan Light's work I can think of. He is leaving out one possibility: Of course it could be that there is an actual increase of fatigue and pain due to a pathologically increased muscle exhaustion in ME/CFS and FMS patients. If the nerves are sensing something, it could actually be there – doh!)

10. This is objective data that there is biological reason for the symptoms.
(Translated to English: "The psychosomatic school can go and f*ck themselves.")

As an addendum:
Don't miss Christopher Snell's 2012 lecture, which ties in nicely!

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