Thursday, February 24, 2011

The study of infection-associated chronic diseases

Stanford School of Medicine:

The study of infection-associated chronic diseases is a relatively new field, and more research is needed. Examples of infection-associated chronic diseases include Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Chronic Lyme Disease (CLD). CFS and CLD overlap in many aspects; they are multi-system and complex diseases with potentially devastating physical and cognitive symptoms.

These diseases can significantly impair the lives of patients and result in substantial reductions in previous levels of occupational, educational, social, or personal activities. A broad spectrum, innovative approach to discovery surrounding these debilitating diseases is paramount and a priority at Stanford.

It is common for physicians in the United States to take a skeptical position towards these patients’ symptoms, and this skepticism is unfortunately enhanced because most (if not all) results of conventional laboratory and radiological tests are normal.

At Stanford the group of Jose G. Montoya, MD, associate professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases, has taken the approach of exploring whether infection can be a trigger for these patients’ ailments. Five years ago we postulated that infection, or the body’s immune response to it, can play an etiologic role in CFS, CLD, and other chronic illnesses. We also hypothesized that prolonged and specific antimicrobial interventions could result in partial or complete reversal of patients’ symptoms.

Since then, we have been able to successfully identify several subgroups of patients whose lives have been dramatically changed with our approach.1 It is important to emphasize, ... Read more>>

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