Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The "Normal" 4% Living XMRV Postive

In the findings by the Whittemore-Peterson Institute, roughly just under 4% of the normal control population tested positive for XMRV.  It would be really interesting to take these so called "normal" subjects in another study, and further examine them.  I hypothesize that a segment of these people are asymptomatic, much like many HIV positive individuals live asymptomatically for many years before developing AIDS, and I would not be surprised to see an alarming number of this 4% of the "Normal" controls demonstrating some mild symptoms that would not be enough to meet the diagnostic criteria for XMRV Neuroimmune disease.  Some of the mild symptoms that I postulate would be found include, but are not limited to:

  • Autistic Spectrum Disorders (Asperger's syndrome, Pervasive Development Disorder)
  • Mild fatigue previously attributed to depression
  • Intolerance to cold
  • Intolerance to physical activity
  • Lack of libido
  • Mild immune deficiency (ie: Picking up every cold or flu going around)
A thorough study of the "Normal" XMRV positive individuals should be performed to broaden our understanding of the disease process.  Eventually, we might be able to answer the question that if XMRV is the primary insult to the immune system setting the wheels in motion for XAND disorders, what factors contribute to developing full-blown disease?  The answer might be as simple as having too many simple viral infections like the cold or flu over a short period of time - meaning that the immune system of XMRV positive individuals functions in a near-normal manner, until it is brought to a threshold where there are not enough healthy Natural Killer cells to keep XMRV in check, allowing the total viral load in the body to slowly build with other persistent viruses like EBV, HHV-6 - contributing to symptoms.  This probably explains why Valcyte has shown a limited response in some individuals with Chronic Fatigue, though it has not produced dramatic improvements.  It shows that there is some truth in the statement made by Dr. Marshall that XMRV is not responsible for all the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue, but I still firmly hold my belief that XMRV is the cause, and that other Co-infections increase the cytokine burden, but there are not enough healthy NK cells to respond to the alarm, leaving a smouldering fire, which is Chronic Fatigue or Fibromyalgia.  It leads me to believe that after being treated with an antiretroviral for a fixed length, the immune system could be once again competent to keep XMRV in check, and that simply monitoring viral load afterwards and resuming an antiviral if the viral load exceeds a certain threshold could make a big difference.

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