I don't have ME, but this recent article from the London Daily Telegraph certainly looked interesting...
Simple £13 test 'could be used to diagnose patients with ME'
A simple £13 test could be used to diagnose patients with Myalgic encephalopathy (ME), scientists believe, and potentially offer hopes of treatment for many.
By Kate Devlin, Medical Correspondent
Published: 7:00AM BST 29 May 2009
The researchers believe that the condition, thought to affect around 250,000 people in Britain, is triggered by an overabundance of certain bacteria in the gut and a build-up of toxins in the body. Myalgic encephalopathy (ME), also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, can leave sufferers bedridden for years.
Twice as common in women than men, it typically affects patients between the ages of 20 and 40 and common symptoms include severe fatigue, muscle pain, forgetfulness or trouble concentrating and difficulty sleeping.
Once dismissed as \"yuppie flu\" it has since been recognised as a disease by the Department of Health.
However, confusion has surrounded the cause of the condition, with some doctors believing its roots are viral or psychological.
Studies in Australia have shown that between 60 and 70 per cent of diagnosed patients suffer from large numbers of bacteria called enterococci and streptococchi in their gut.
Prof Kenny De Meirleir, from Vrije University, in Brussels, who created the new test, said that these bacteria, in combination with metals like mercury, stimulate the creation of high levels of a gas, Hydrogen Sulphate, in the body.
This in turn sets off a chain of reactions which limit the body's ability to produce energy, he added, and creates a build-up of acid which muscles find difficult to break down.
In patients with severe symptoms the syndrome can cause large numbers of abnormal proteins in the body, which also inhibit the process of energy conversion, he added.
Prof De Meirleir, who has tried the new test on hundreds of patients, and who will present his findings at the Invest In ME conference in London on Friday, said: \"We are seeing a positive result in 80 to 90 per cent of patients sent to us.
\"I would say that if you do not have this bacteria, you do not have ME.\"
Many patients could be treated with a combination of a change in diet, probiotics and antibiotics, to alter the bacteria in their gut, he said.
However, patients with the most severe symptoms remained a \"challenge\" to treat, he added.
The test, which costs Euro 15 (£13) and will be available from the website of the manufacturers, Protea Biopharma, from Monday, will allow patients to test for the presence of this bacteria by analysing their urine.
Patients who screen positive are advised to see their family doctor.
Dr Charles Shepherd, medical director of the ME Association, said: \"This is an interesting scientific observation which needs to be looked at in more detail and verified by independent researchers before we can conclude it is a diagnostic test for this illness.\"
From the manufactures website:
PROTEA biopharma’s activities started in 1998, with the acquisition of a license from Temple University, USA. This license granted to the Company the exclusive rights to commercialize a new marker for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS-ME), based on the detection of an abnormal form of Ribonuclease L, an enzyme involved in antiviral defense.
What does the test measure, what does it mean?
The Neurotoxic Metabolite Test aims at detecting the presence of specific metabolites in the urine. These metabolites are related to the production of hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Although H2S is naturally present in the body, and plays some normal physiological functions, an excess production can be very detrimental. Overproduction of H2S may result from metabolic dysfunctions, but also from the overgrowth of certain bacteria in the gut (alteration of the normal intestinal flora = gut dysbiosis). Our preliminary results indicate that a strong proportion of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis(CFS/ME) patients present such dysbiosis, and test positive with the NMT test; but positivity may be associated with other conditions, related to intestinal dysfunction.
Once the kit will have received the approval as a diagnostic kit (CE mark) it will be distributed by pharmacies, health care centers, and through a network of international distributors.
Meanwhile, we make it available as a “research use only” and send it directly to the patients. To request your kit, please download an order form:
Many thanks for posting this. It's something that is doing the rounds in the ME/CFS community in a big way at the moment.
Dr. Teitelbaum wrote about it in his latest newsletter which he allows me to post as a column here on this site:
[url=Smelly Gas a Clue to CFS Testing and Treatment]http://www.ei-resource.org/expert-columns/dr.-jacob-teitelbaums-column/smelly-gas-a-clue-to-cfs-testing-and-treatment/[/url]
I agree with his conclusion that H2S is likely to be elevated in ME/CFS due to gut dysbiosis, and may contribute to symptoms, but it is unlikely to be the only toxin involved in the disease. I'd also add that H2S levels are likely to be elevated in other conditions as well since intestinal bacterial overgrowth has been implicated in a wide range of conditions.
I hope to contact Dr. DeMeirleir and the company behind the test in the near future to get their comments and/or obtain some further information which I can publish on the site.
Thanks again for posting about this Gary
If you are going through hell, keep going - Winston Churchill
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