Can 11 million Google hits on “fibromyalgia” be believed? Pfizer, thanks to FDA approval last year is now advertising Lyrica©, an anti-epileptic drug also used for nerve damage, as the new miracle treatment for what they call (with a wink?), a “real disease,” fibromyalgia. In the first nine months of 2007, Pfizer spent over $46 million in advertising, and prescriptions for the drug are approaching 1 million a month. But is fibromyalgia, whose very existence is now questioned by a large number of physicians, a disease, a collection of symptoms (a syndrome), or simply another name for plain old “aches and pains”? The doctor who wrote the now classic 1990 paper defined it as widespread pain, mostly of middle-aged women, of unknown origin, without definite physical or laboratory findings. He now claims he was wrong, that the disease does not exist. He accurately predicted that Lyrica and the other drugs taken to relieve sufferers will be consumed by millions of people who do not need them. Yet advocacy groups, many partly supported by drug companies, and tens of thousands of physicians who treat fibromyalgia estimate that 6-12 million Americans suffer from the disorder. (more…)
One of the central defects in metabolic syndrome (MS) and its associated diseases (type 2 diabetes, vascular inflammation, atherosclerosis, and renal, liver, and heart disease) as well as fatiguing illnesses is excess cellular oxidative stress mediated by reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS/RNS). Oxidative stress affects many organ systems, including pancreatic beta cells, nerve cells, and immune cells, and generally affects the vascular system. Oxidative damage to mitochondrial membranes results in reduced efficiency of the electron transport chain. Recent evidence indicates that reduced mitochondrial function caused by ROS/RNS membrane oxidation is related to fatigue, a complaint in MS and the major complaint in fatiguing illnesses. Lipid Replacement Therapy administered as a nutritional supplement with antioxidants can prevent excess oxidative membrane damage, restore mitochondrial membrane function, and reduce fatigue in a variety of clinical conditions. (more…)
Many patients with chronic Lyme disease have had the experience of meeting doctors who did not believe that our illnesses were real. Many have been told that our conditions are manifestations of our minds. We have been denied adequate care as the result of the guidelines of the IDSA (Infectious Disease Society of America – the most influential organization related to infectious disease in the US). We often migrate towards doctors who hold a broader perspective, that of ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society), on our disease. As a result, over time many of us recover.
Sam Shor, MD, FACP, an internist in Reston, Virginia, had a practice with a focus on the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). His journey later introduced him to the significant overlap between CFS and chronic Lyme disease, and he began to think outside the box – way outside the box, in the eyes of many. Dr. Shor’s journey is one of hope. It is a journey that requires courage and a willingness to do what is right for suffering patients. It is a journey that we often wish more medical professionals would take. Dr. Shor’s journey is a journey from IDSA to ILADS.
Trained in primary care and internal medicine, Dr. Shor completed his residency in 1985 at George Washington University. He has been in private practice in Virginia since that time. Shortly after he started practicing, he became interested in people with a chronic fatiguing illness of unclear origin which subsequently became known as chronic fatigue syndrome. In the late 1980s, Dr. Shor referred several of his patients to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In the 1980s and 1990s, he took part in a number of NIH symposia in Bethesda, Maryland, and continued to solidify his interest in the illness. He later became a member of the International Association for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (IACFS).
On pages 101–102 of issue 12, 2009, of Xin Zhong Yi (New Chinese Medicine), Zhou Yi-chen and Wang Bi published an article titled “Treating Fibromyalgia Syndrome Via the Liver.” A summary of this article is presented below.
The main symptom of fibromyalgia syndrome is generalized body pain. Most sufferers of FMS are female. In addition to specific sites of pressure pain, other accompanying symptoms include insomnia, vexation and agitation, fatigue, lassitude of the spirit, low-grade fever, and menstrual irregularities. Based on the experience of the Chinese authors of this article, they believe that this condition should mainly be treated via the liver. This is also my own clinical experience. I have never been able to substantiate the presence of externally contracted evils in the case of FMS. (more…)
The NO/ONOO− cycle is a biochemical vicious cycle that is thought to cause such diseases as chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME), multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), fibromyalgia (FM), and possibly a large number of other chronic inflammatory diseases. The chemistry/biochemistry of the cycle predicts that the primary mechanism is local such the depending on where it is localized in the body, it may cause a variety of different diseases. Previous studies have shown that agents that lower such cycle elements as oxidative stress, nitric oxide, inflammatory responses, mitochondrial dysfunction, tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) depletion and NMDA activity produce clinical improvements in CFS/ME and FM patients, consistent with the predictions of the cycle mechanism. Multiagent protocols lowering several aspects of the cycle appear to be the most promising approaches to therapy. These include an entirely over-the-counter nutritional support protocol developed by the author in conjunction with the Allergy Research Group. However, such mulitagent protocols to date have not produced any substantial numbers of cures of these presumed NO/ONOO− cycle disease. Why is that? This paper argues that what is called the central couplet of the cycle, the reciprocal relation between peroxynitrite elevation and BH4 depletion, is not being adequately downregulated by these multiagent protocols. Ten agents/classes of agents are available, each of which downregulates one or the other end of this central couplet. It is suggested, then, that treatments that simultaneously effectively downregulate both ends to the central couplet, when used along with multiagent protocols lowering other aspects of the cycle and avoidance of stressors that otherwise upregulate the cycle, will lead to substantial numbers of cures of these chronic diseases. (more…)
B vitamins are essential to health. Your nerves, skin, eyes, hair, liver, mouth, muscles, gastrointestinal tract, and brain depend on them for proper functioning. They are coenzymes that are involved in energy production and are also useful for alleviation of depression and anxiety.
As we get older our ability to absorb B vitamins from our food declines. In some Alzheimer’s patients, it was found that the problem was due to a deficiency of vitamin B-12 plus vitamin B-complex in an accepted multivitamin. (more…)
Sixty-six patients (mean age, 29 years) with fibromyalgia were randomly assigned to participate in classic Yang-style tai chi or to a control group that received wellness education and underwent stretching exercises. Participants in both groups attended 60-minute sessions twice a week for 12 weeks. In the tai chi group, the mean score on the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire improved by 44%, as compared with a mean improvement of 14% in the control group (p = 0.001 for the difference in the change between groups). Significantly greater improvements were also seen in the tai chi group relative to the placebo group in both the physical and mental components of the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36). The improvements were maintained at 24 weeks (12 weeks after the program had been discontinued).
Comment: Tai chi is a mind-body practice that combines meditation with slow, gentle movements, deep breathing, and relaxation. It is believed to have a positive influence on physical, psychosocial, emotional, and spiritual components of health. Fibromyalgia is a common, chronic condition that is frequently refractory to conventional therapy. The results of the present study indicate that practicing tai chi is beneficial for patients with fibromyalgia.
Wang C et al. A randomized trial of tai chi for fibromyalgia. N Engl J Med. 2010;363:743–754.
Here’s a great idea for the next Indiana Jones movie that could also help to save your life.
Indy is barreling through India, fighting his way from Calcutta to New Delhi, fending off poachers and thieves who are trying to rob him of a valuable golden powder that is reputed to have ancient healing powers.
Our hero manages to stash his treasure in an ancient recess deep in the Taj Mahal, only to have it discovered by tourists who think it is powdered gold.
After convincing them that the satchel contains poor man’s saffron, Indy delivers his treasure to a local medicine man who uses it to cure an entire village.
Seem far-fetched? Perhaps, but only the Indiana Jones part!
It turns out that there actually IS a golden spice that used to be considered a less expensive version of saffron, but is now heralded as “Indian gold,” due to its amazing proven healing powers for conditions such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and possibly even cancer. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3iMjyEZ3zA]