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Explaining Unexplained Illnesses Maff Hot

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Written by Maff     January 17, 2008    
 
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Disease Paradigm for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Fibromyalgia, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Gulf War Syndrome.

 

By Professor Martin Pall

 

Explaining "Unexplained Illnesses" provides long-sought explanations for the properties of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), fibromyalgia (FM), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This groundbreaking book examines common symptoms and signs; short-term stressors such as infection, chemical exposure, physical trauma, and severe psychological stress; why people are often diagnosed as having more than one of these illnesses; and approaches for treating the cause of each disease, rather than the symptoms. The book presents a detailed and well-supported mechanism (the NO/ONOO- cycle) that provides consistent explanations for many of the puzzling elements of these diseases.

 

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Editor reviews

I have been following the work of Dr. Martin Pall with interest for some time now so couldn't wait for this book to be published. When well known and respected names like Dr. Paul Cheney and Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum speak so highly of someone and their work you can be sure it is worth looking in to. Dr. Pall's article 'Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: The End of Controversy' has been one of the most read articles on this site ever since it went online.

Having said all that I admit I initially hesitated in making purchasing 'Explaining "Unexplained Illnesses"' as the price of the original hardback edition was pretty high. Thankfully there is now a paperback version which is much more affordable.

Dr. Pall is Professor of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences at Washington State University. He has a long-standing interest in biological regulatory mechanisms and free radical pathology and it is this that has led him to investigate the "unexplained illnesses". This book explains in detail his theory that CFS, multiple chemical sensitivity, fibromyalgia, and other conditions result from out of control oxidative stress (from free radicals) triggered by disruption of the nitric oxide system within the body. Nitric oxide (NO) is a chemical that the body itself produces and which has a number of useful functions, as a neurotransmitter and in the regulation of blood pressure, for example. What Dr. Pall suggests is that particular stressors (which are known to trigger unexplained illnesses) such as viral infections, chemical exposures, and severe stress trigger increased levels of NO which then do not return to normal. The problem he says, is that NO triggers the production of harmful free radicals such as peroxynitrite which the body is unable to deal with and which lead to the various symptoms of these illnesses.

Dr. Pall does a great job of explaining such complex biochemistry in a way that the layman can understand (even those of us with unexplained illnesses!). He starts off with a little background about the illnesses and how he came to suspect the involvement of NO before explaining the mechanisms in detail which he backs up with a host of references, as you would expect from a university Professor. It is worth noting that Dr. Pall's work has recently been independently verified by other researchers who have noted higher than normal levels of NO in CFS patients with a link to previous immune activation from a viral infection.

The book is set out in a logical and readable fashion taking us through each of the illnesses in which Dr. Pall suspects NO involvement. The final section of the book deals with possible treatment options for addressing this underlying cause. Refreshingly from a medical academic, the majority of these treatment options are nutritional supplements that are available over the counter. They are in the most part powerful antioxidants. Each is discussed in some detail and the evidence for their potential usefulness assessed.

The book concludes with a review of the current research and what needs to be done in future to get to the bottom of unexplained illnesses.

I feel that this book is a hugely important step towards uncovering the mechanisms that lay behind the unexplained illnesses that are afflicting modern society. It provides a mechanism that not only explains the multiple and varied symptoms seen in unexplained illnesses but also makes the connection between illnesses, that although different in some ways, share many similarities that can't just be ignored. If you can handle a bit of science and want to discover what is goin on in these illnesses and possibly discover effective treatment options then don't hesitate to take a look at this book.

Overall rating 
 
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8.0
How much did this book help you?  
 
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8.0
Maff Reviewed by Maff January 17, 2008
Last updated: July 25, 2009
#1 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (107)

A big piece of the "unexplained illnesses" puzzle

I have been following the work of Dr. Martin Pall with interest for some time now so couldn't wait for this book to be published. When well known and respected names like Dr. Paul Cheney and Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum speak so highly of someone and their work you can be sure it is worth looking in to. Dr. Pall's article 'Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: The End of Controversy' has been one of the most read articles on this site ever since it went online.

Having said all that I admit I initially hesitated in making purchasing 'Explaining "Unexplained Illnesses"' as the price of the original hardback edition was pretty high. Thankfully there is now a paperback version which is much more affordable.

Dr. Pall is Professor of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences at Washington State University. He has a long-standing interest in biological regulatory mechanisms and free radical pathology and it is this that has led him to investigate the "unexplained illnesses". This book explains in detail his theory that CFS, multiple chemical sensitivity, fibromyalgia, and other conditions result from out of control oxidative stress (from free radicals) triggered by disruption of the nitric oxide system within the body. Nitric oxide (NO) is a chemical that the body itself produces and which has a number of useful functions, as a neurotransmitter and in the regulation of blood pressure, for example. What Dr. Pall suggests is that particular stressors (which are known to trigger unexplained illnesses) such as viral infections, chemical exposures, and severe stress trigger increased levels of NO which then do not return to normal. The problem he says, is that NO triggers the production of harmful free radicals such as peroxynitrite which the body is unable to deal with and which lead to the various symptoms of these illnesses.

Dr. Pall does a great job of explaining such complex biochemistry in a way that the layman can understand (even those of us with unexplained illnesses!). He starts off with a little background about the illnesses and how he came to suspect the involvement of NO before explaining the mechanisms in detail which he backs up with a host of references, as you would expect from a university Professor. It is worth noting that Dr. Pall's work has recently been independently verified by other researchers who have noted higher than normal levels of NO in CFS patients with a link to previous immune activation from a viral infection.

The book is set out in a logical and readable fashion taking us through each of the illnesses in which Dr. Pall suspects NO involvement. The final section of the book deals with possible treatment options for addressing this underlying cause. Refreshingly from a medical academic, the majority of these treatment options are nutritional supplements that are available over the counter. They are in the most part powerful antioxidants. Each is discussed in some detail and the evidence for their potential usefulness assessed.

The book concludes with a review of the current research and what needs to be done in future to get to the bottom of unexplained illnesses.

I feel that this book is a hugely important step towards uncovering the mechanisms that lay behind the unexplained illnesses that are afflicting modern society. It provides a mechanism that not only explains the multiple and varied symptoms seen in unexplained illnesses but also makes the connection between illnesses, that although different in some ways, share many similarities that can't just be ignored. If you can handle a bit of science and want to discover what is goin on in these illnesses and possibly discover effective treatment options then don't hesitate to take a look at this book.

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Comments
As the parent of a teenager who has had M.E./CFS for twelve years, and a veterinary medicine graduate, I've been reading medical research and theories to explain this illness for over a decade. When I read this book, I thought "yes, this is the explanation of the biochemical pathways which are going wrong". Professor Pall has done a fantastic job of writing this, what is esentially a biochemistry textbook, in a way readable by an informed, lay audience. Although I rated "ease of reading" only as an eight, that is because it is detailed science. For the material within it, this is as readable as it comes. And, very refreshingly for an academic, he nails his colours to the mast and pronounces the current attitudes to these illnesses as a disgrace. I think the frightening thing is that this book has been out some time and there is no blossoming of articles in the press (in the UK, anyway), saying, "what are we waiting for now? How can the medical profession still say that we don't understand this illness?" As Professor Pall says, no-one can claim these illnesses are medically unexplained, anymore. Get this book and lobby politicians and medical leaders with it.
Overall rating 
 
9.6
Content  
 
10.0
Ease of reading  
 
8.0
Value for money  
 
10.0
How much did this book help you?  
 
10.0
Would you recommend? 
 
10.0
Reviewed by Helen McDade June 10, 2008

Explaining Unexplained Illnesses

As the parent of a teenager who has had M.E./CFS for twelve years, and a veterinary medicine graduate, I've been reading medical research and theories to explain this illness for over a decade. When I read this book, I thought "yes, this is the explanation of the biochemical pathways which are going wrong". Professor Pall has done a fantastic job of writing this, what is esentially a biochemistry textbook, in a way readable by an informed, lay audience. Although I rated "ease of reading" only as an eight, that is because it is detailed science. For the material within it, this is as readable as it comes. And, very refreshingly for an academic, he nails his colours to the mast and pronounces the current attitudes to these illnesses as a disgrace. I think the frightening thing is that this book has been out some time and there is no blossoming of articles in the press (in the UK, anyway), saying, "what are we waiting for now? How can the medical profession still say that we don't understand this illness?" As Professor Pall says, no-one can claim these illnesses are medically unexplained, anymore. Get this book and lobby politicians and medical leaders with it.

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