By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.:
I've been spending a good deal of time recently on chronic fatigue syndrome/ME websites. I don't know if you're aware of this, but lately they've been striking some pretty good blows for the autism community. There has been preliminary data linking both autism and chronic fatigue syndrome/ME to the XMRV retrovirus and it has some of the traditional opponents of the autism community concerned. I've mentioned it before, but both my daughter with autism and my wife have tested positive for the XMRV retrovirus.
The other day there was a web-chat with Chicago Tribune reporter Trine Tsouderous and Dr. Paul Offit regarding vaccine safety. Dr. Jamie Deckoff-Jones, a chronic fatigue patient asked the following question of Trine and Dr. Offit.
Dr. Deckoff-Jones: Are you concerned that the current epidemics of ME/CFS, ASD (autism spectrum disorders) and GWI (Gulf War illness) are related to vaccines? These neuroimmune disease cohorts are all of mysterious etiology and share many clinical similarities: sensory and cognitive processing deficits, susceptibility to and inability to clear certain infections, an unusual susceptibility to stress, increased oxidative stress, glutathione depletion, methylation blocks, mitochondrial defects, high levels of heavy metals, inflammatory bowel issues, hormone abnormalities and a suspicion that vaccines are implicated in pathogenesis. The pathology in humans is extremely similar to what is known of simple retroviral infections in animals. We have evidence that xenotropic and polytropic MuLVs are infecting humans (Lombardi et al Science Oct 2009, Lo et al PNAS Sept 2010). Given the history of the use of mouse and chick embryo cells for vaccine production coinciding with the history of Epidemic Neuromyasthenia (as documented by Henderson and Shelokov, NEJM 1959), the known presence of animal retroviruses in those cells, and the documented ability of these viruses to infect human cells, aren't you the least bit concerned?
Trine Tsouderos: Hi Jamie: I don't agree that problems like glutathione depletion, methylation blocks, etc are associated with ASDs. A study here, a study there, some of dubious quality. I wrote about this last year: (HERE). These ideas are promoted by folks who sell a lot of therapies to "fix" these things when it is not clear they are even there. So I don't think there is good evidence for that.
Paul Offit: The xenotropic murine retrovirus story as a cause of neurologic disease, including chronic fatigue syndrome has clearly fallen apart. And for those of us old enough to remember, many careers have fallen off a cliff claiming retroviruses as a cause of a variety of illnesses: most noteworthy, MS and Kawasaki's disease. Retroviruses are so ubiquitous and such a frequent lab contaminant that they're the Sirens of the lab.
Trine Tsouderos: The heavy metal connection is especially poor. It comes from a study that found less mercury in the hair of children with autism and concluded that that was proof they had trouble excreting it. A dubious conclusion.
It's interesting that both the chronic fatigue syndrome/ME and autism communities seem to have picked up Trine Tsouderous and Dr. Paul Offit as enemies. I find it especially revealing that Dr. Offit doesn't even see fit to mention the epidemic retrovirus story which played out for decades in our nation's history, that of HIV-AIDS, a monkey retrovirus which somehow jumped species into the human population. Read more>>