Monday, October 19, 2009


So, wow—I mean, wow!  So, there’s this virus, a retrovirus to be specific, called XMRV—“xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus”—that was only identified in the last few years, and just super-recently, researchers with the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuroimmune Disease (my new heart-throb) have detected this virus in—well, lots of people with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome.  The study is published in Science—super-duper prestigious—go, go! 

I’ve never had that diagnosis, but looking at the diagnostic criteria on the Whittemore Peterson Institute’s website, it’s the best description of my whole problem I’ve ever seen.  These are the Canadian diagnostic criteria.  (Kisses to Canada.)  Most descriptions I see as I look around list “chronic sore throat” prominently and don’t mention autonomic dysfunction at all or often even pain.  No wonder I haven’t thought this was a very relevant category for me.  (Though I have doubted sometimes as I have encountered people very similar to me with the diagnosis.) The CDC criteria also come nowhere near encompassing my situation.  I haven't pushed for an encompassing diagnosis before because the available ones didn't seem very useful.  I'm hoping this news will change the picture.  Maybe, ME/CFS will get a better name too.

For me, the big wowser here is not only a possible viral cause for my trouble, but also the news that a diagnostic description that truly fits me exists at all.  And not only that, but there are people using that description as a basis for serious research. 

Here is another run-down on the news, which I thought informative.

(The original technical article from Science can be downloaded here.)


  1. I love the cartoon Priscilla and yeah, that's some pretty extraordinary news. I'm very hopeful for you.


  2. I immediately thought of you, reading about this!

  3. I love the cartoons.


  4. Haha, great cartoon! I'm keeping the house, too! :D

    The best of luck to you. :)

  5. I'd like to register slight unease about the name of the virus that has been linked with ME.


    This is a disease that sounds like it should have racing stripes, or at least some seriously sporty off-road potential. Sure, XMRV is an acronym for something that does sound suitably medical and terrifying - and that's good.

    However, like most acronyms, XMRV is soon going to take on a life of its own and the world will forget Xtra Malt Refined Vinegar, or whatever the full medical term happened to be.

    Don't believe me? Well, who remembers what RADAR stands for? Oh sure, Larry knows - but that just proves my point. Same with H1N1. A few brave medics are carrying out a rearguard action to keep that "name" going, but the world is quite happy with "swine flu".


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