Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Immune System Reboot

There is a new treatment for MS that was developed in the UK where patients go for the standard chemo rounds to knock out the immune system and then are implanted with stem cells to regenerate it.  The new cells aren't damaged so the body stops attacking itself and the myelin sheath around the nerves regenerates giving the patients their health and functionality back.

Cancer Treatment for MS Patients Gives "Remarkable" Results by Fergus Walsh BBC News 

There has been some speculation in the CFS/ME world wondering if this would work for us as well.  Trouble is we don't know if this is an autoimmune illness or just an illness that hijacks the immune system; i.e. is the body under attack from the immune system or is it just overactive and then underactive?  This is a critical difference.  There is some evidence that it is indeed an autoimmune condition in at least some patients as seen in the Rituximab trials.  Rituximab, another cancer drug, knocks out the b cells and works in some but not all CFS/ME patients.  If there is any lingering viruses in our bodies then once the immune system is knocked out the virus reactivates and a raging infection occurs so there are significant risks to CFS/ME patients particularly those that had a viral onset.

B Lymphocyte Depletion in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  An Open Phase II Study with Rituximab Maintenance Treatment by Oysten Fluge et al 
Antibody Wipeout Found to Relieve Chronic Fatigue Syndrome by New Scientist 

The million dollar question is 'Is CFS/ME an autoimmune condition?'.

Talking of rebooting the immune system, turns out it can also be done without the drugs.  Prolonged fasting causes the body to 'eat' the white cells (b cells) which forces the body to replace them with new ones essentially rebooting the immune system.  I don't know if anyone in the CFS/ME community has done cyclic prolonged fasting.  Myself I get loopy very very quickly if I don't eat regularly.  Also I don't know if this works on women as well as men since they tend to react to fasting differently than men.  Anyway, here is the article on prolonged fasting and the immune system...
Fasting Triggers Stem Cell Regeneration of Damaged, Old Immune System by Suzanne Wu University of Southern California

I am SO tempted to try a multiday fast but I'm very scared of ending up bedbound.  If you want to give it a go drink LOTS of fluid.  LOTS.  Otherwise you get dehydrated and end up in hospital with other problems.

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