Monday, August 29, 2016

Robert Naviaux Metabolome study in ME/CFS


The long awaited study from Dr. Robert Naviaux of the University of San Diego was released today. It is a key study in this illness. 

You can read about it here and here.

This is apt to be the most important ME/CFS study to date.

An article on healio states:


"Among patients with CFS, results showed abnormalities in 20 metabolic pathways, including sphingolipid, phospholipid, purine, cholesterol, microbiome, pyrroline-5-carboxylate, riboflavin, branch chain amino acid, peroxisomal and mitochondrial metabolism. Researchers noted a decrease in 80% of the diagnostic metabolites, which was consistent with a hypometabolic syndrome. Men had diagnostic accuracies of 94% using eight metabolites and women had 96% diagnostic accuracies using 13 metabolites, according to the area under the receiver operative characteristic curve analysis.
“Despite the heterogeneity of CFS, [and] the diversity of factors that lead to this condition, our findings show that the cellular metabolic response is the same in patients,” Robert K. Naviaux, PhD, professor of medicine, pediatrics and pathology and director of the Mitochondrial and Metabolic Disease Center at UC San Diego School of Medicine, said in a press release. “And interestingly, it is chemically similar to the dauer state you see in some organisms, which kicks in when environmental stresses trigger a slow-down in metabolism to permit survival under conditions that might otherwise cause cell death. In CFS, this slow-down comes at the cost of long-term pain and disability."
I was at the ILADS conference in San Diego in 2013. Among the interesting connections that I observed was a meeting between Dr. Naviaux and three ME/CFS researchers - Neil Nathan, Eric Gordon and Judy Mikovits. Dr. Nathan had arranged the meeting, thinking that Robert Naviaux might have an interest in ME/CFS.  Neil Nathan, friend of Rich van Konynenburg, had the right instinct on this one. Thanks to him for this connection. 

Dr. Robert Naviaux is a mitochondrial researcher at the University of San Diego. 

Read about him here

Dr. Naviaux has done metabolomic work in the field of Autism, which many feel is allied to ME/CFS. Various studies can be accessed online. Basically Dr. Naviaux has uncovered metabolomic dysfunction patterns in Autism, just as he now has in ME/CFS. 

It is difficult to put into words just how important this study might be for getting the ball rolling. Not only does it provide a clear framework for metabolomic analysis for diagnosis, but it also points towards further studies in treatment possibilities. 

Dr Naviaux works in collaboration with the Open Medicine Foundation, work being done with geneticist Ron Davis and others at Stanford. Their collaboration very well might be a fruitful one for patients with this disease. Here is what Ron Davis says about the study. The Open Medicine Foundation is working hard on a Severe ME patient study and a host of other things. They deserve all the support that they can get, at this critical time. 

A word about Dr. Eric Gordon. Dr. Gordon runs the Gordon Medical Center and sponsors research. He has developed a working research relationship with Dr. Naviaux and Dr. Gordon is named on this paper. You can get more information about this study from Gordon Medical here. Dr. Gordon is one of these physicians who is "all there, all the time". If you want to help out, support his fund for a replication study. Replications are never done in ME/CFS and are a big sign of the problem in ME/CFS research. Those of you who are willing to participate but don't want to throw your money away, I suggest backing Dr. Gordon and his efforts. 

Interestingly, another long-time ME/CFS physician, Dr. Paul Cheney has long held the belief that ME/CFS was a down-regulation of many body functions - as a protective device, a protection from dying. Hence Dr. Cheney has been careful in what treatments might be applied, careful that he would not make the patient worse. In this way he eschews using therapies like coQ, D-ribose and various other items that might provoke - believing that they might make things worse. In a nice way, this study is a substantiation of Dr. Cheney, whose down-regulatory notions parallel Dr. Naviaux's "playing dead syndrome"