Could the latest research into the CFS Epstein Barr Virus connection shed light on how to treat, and possibly cure Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
The research currently being done into the CFS Epstein Barr Virus connection, is some of the most exciting and hopeful news that has come to the world of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in a long time. On the cutting edge of this research is a neuroscientist by the name of Michael VanElzakker.
Van Elzakker proposes that herpesviruses like Epstein Barr (HHV-4) can latently hang around the vagus nerve. These can become reactivated when trauma or undo stress is present. The vagus nerve is the largest in the body with tentacles that reach out to most of the organs. It is the direct conduit of the nervous system to the brain.
Surrounding and protecting the vagus nerve are ‘glial cells’. When the virus re-activates, it runs into these cells causing them to send signals to the brain that an active infection is present. The brain then goes into “Oh no, we’re sick! Time to shut down and isolate!” mode. Hence, the severe fatigue and flu-like symptoms of CFS. Around 90% of the population will test positive for the EBV virus, however only a small percentage will develop chronic problems with re-activation.Are 'glial cells' the leading culprits in Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? Click To Tweet
Interestingly, these glial cells could also be the leading culprits in Fibromyalgia. The cells will produce pro-inflammatory and neuroexcitatory compounds, called cytokines, as they sense the presence of infection. If this happens around the dorsal horn of the spinal cord, it causes the body to produce an exaggerated pain response. When this goes on long enough, the pain response becomes permanently ‘turned on’ instead of shutting down as it normally would. Thus validating the theory of activated glial cells being a possible cause of FMS.
So, providing that funding for research is met and Van Elzakker’s theories are proven, what does this mean for those of us who suffer from CFS? Here are a few possibilities:
Glial cell inhibitors which stop the immune system activation (fatigue/flu symptoms, ect.) could be used in treatment~
Antiviral medication that attack the pathogens (things that are the cause of disease) may be implemented~
Possible vagus nerve stimulation or even surgery on the vagus nerve could be a future scenario~
For now, we can hope that these findings will capture the attention of the medical community where the latest news on the CFS Epstein Barr Virus connection is concerned. Most important though, is the hope that it attracts those who are responsible for funding research. Unfortunately, it’s all about the money when it comes to finding cures. On our part we can continue to bring awareness to these little known, often misunderstood ‘invisible diseases’.
May 12 is Fibromyalgia and CFS awareness day! Make your presence known, and your voice heard!
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