This is mostly documentary, though the first two items are
scientifically quite interesting, as they are related to real scientific
research into the causes and symptoms of ME/CFS.
1. Dr. Komaroff and EEGs
2. Dr. Peterson starts a new
name-problem: "ME", "CFS", "ME/CFS", "CFS/ME", "CF"?
1. Dr. Komaroff and EEGs
Dr. Komaroff, who is at Harvard and did a lot to
establish ME/CFS is a real disease, and a team developed a quite
interesting technique using the data from EEGs, that I'd guess is
mostly mathematical, that shows a reliable difference between people
with ME/CFS - "carefully defined CFS" - and others.
Here is the abstract as I found it at Phoenix Rising,
where there is also a link to a pdf-file of the pre-publication text:
This is the abstract:
Frank H Duffy, Gloria B McAnulty, Michelle C
McCreary, George J Cuchural and Anthony L Komaroff
BMC Neurology 2011, 11:82doi:10.1186/1471-2377-11-82
Published: 1 July 2011
Previous studies suggest central nervous system involvement in
chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), yet there are no established
diagnostic criteria. CFS may be difficult to differentiate from
clinical depression. The study's objective was to determine if
spectral coherence, a computational derivative of spectral
analysis of the electroencephalogram (EEG), could distinguish
patients with CFS from healthy control subjects and not
erroneously classify depressed patients as having CFS.
This is a study, conducted in an academic medical center
electroencephalography laboratory, of 632 subjects: 390 healthy
normal controls, 70 patients with carefully defined CFS, 24 with
major depression, and 148 with general fatigue. Aside from
fatigue, all patients were medically healthy by history and
examination. EEGs were obtained and spectral coherences
calculated after extensive artifact removal. Principal
Components Analysis identified coherence factors and
corresponding factor loading patterns. Discriminant analysis
determined whether spectral coherence factors could reliably
discriminate CFS patients from healthy control subjects without
misclassifying depression as CFS.
Analysis of EEG coherence data from a large sample (n=632) of
patients and healthy controls identified 40 factors explaining
55.6% total variance. Factors showed highly significant group
differentiation (p<.0004) identifying 89.5% of unmedicated
female CFS patients and 92.4% of healthy female controls.
Recursive jackknifing showed predictions were stable. A
conservative 10-factor discriminant function model was
subsequently applied, and also showed highly significant group
discrimination (p<.001), accurately classifying 88.9%
unmedicated males with CFS, and 82.4% unmedicated male healthy
controls. No patient with depression was classified as having
CFS. The model was less accurate (73.9%) in identifying CFS
patients taking psychoactive medications. Factors involving the
temporal lobes were of primary importance.
EEG spectral coherence analysis identified unmedicated patients
with CFS and healthy control subjects without misclassifying
depressed patients as CFS, providing evidence that CFS patients
demonstrate brain physiology that is not observed in healthy
normals or patients with major depression. Studies of new CFS
patients and comparison groups are required to determine the
possible clinical utility of this test. The results concur with
other studies finding neurological abnormalities in CFS, and
implicate temporal lobe involvement in CFS pathophysiology.
This is quite interesting, because it is a rather large
study, with a precise and sharp finding.
I have downloaded but so far not read the full text,
and I don't know what is "spectral coherence analysis", although I can
make a fair guess, and would assume it is a species of what I know of
as ANOVA, that is "analysis of variance", which is a statistical
technique to find which of a set of measured factors are correlated to
2. Dr. Peterson starts a new
Dr. Peterson did a lot for persons with ME/CFS, which
he got confronted with in Nevada, decades ago, and his name is part of
the WPI = Whittemore Peterson Institute.
However, he fell out with it quite soon, for
undisclosed reasons, and it seems he does not believe Dr. Mikovits is
right that XMRV may play a causal or indeed any role in ME/CFS.
Now he started an organization of his own, and my
source is again Phoenix Rising:
In the thread under the first link you find two things
mentioned I'll briefly comment on. First, there is a mentioning of Dr.
Marshall and Bond University, which turns out to be related to an item
on Phoenix Rising in 2009 that sounds interesting:
This is quite interesting, (a) because if this can be
done - that is: the test is valid (does what it should do: reliably
distinguish people with ME/CFS from others, by means of a test that is
affordable) - it would solve many problems for most persons who are
ill with ME/CFS, and (b) because it is bio-chemistry, which is a
real science, unlike psychiatry, that
is mostly a pseudoscience, rapidly growing more pseudo as well.
Russell Tribunal on Psychiatry)
My second point concerns the difference between dr.
Peterson and dr. Mikovits, that I know little about and briefly
commented on here, some three months ago:
As before, there are personal remarks about dr.
Peterson on Phoenix Rising, that I see no reason for, and namely
because those making them know as little as I do about what is really
As for me: I have neither met nor corresponded with
either; I am rather skeptical about personal judgments concerning
persons one has not personally met (and even then); and while there
seem to be considerable differences of opinion between dr. Peterson
and dr. Mikovits, I see no reason to distrust either, even if also at
most one of them can be right about XMRV; and personally I welcome all
efforts of real scientists to unriddle ME/CFS, and both dr.
Peterson and dr. Mikovits are real scientists.
3. The name-problem: "ME", "CFS",
"ME/CFS", "CFS/ME", "CF"?
Once in a while, patients get upset about the naming of
the disease(s) I refer to as "ME/CFS", that I myself, being Dutch, and
having a disease that fits the CCC-definition of ME since over three
decades, learned of as "ME" ("Myalgic Encephalomyelitis").
Personally, I prefer the name "ME", because that seems
medically and historically the best name, going back to the
nineteenfifties, though I agree in principle that - since the real
cause of ME/CFS is not known as yet - the name "Myalgic
Encephalomyelitis" may suggest what is not so (though part of my
symptoms definitely are neurological).
The name "CFS" was introduced by pseudoscientific
psychiatrists and such, notably Reeves in the US and Wessely in GB,
whose main aim was not scientific but to propagandize the notion that
persons with ME/CFS are not really ill, but suffer from "dysfunctional
belief systems" - as excellent a case of projection as this
psychologist ever met - and should not be entitled to support for the
ill, and should be treated by psychiatrists by psychiatric methods
(CBT: the latest in psychiatric brainwashing techniques).
I can very well understand the irritation of many
patients with the name "CFS", and even more with "CF" ("Chronic
Fatigue"), because both suggest strongly what is definitely false in
my experience and to my scientific way of thinking.
Then again, in the US, no doubt thanks to the millions
spent by Reeves and the CDC, in part on plugging this name, and in
part on not researching ME (see:
Hillary Johnson's Osler's Web:
Inside The Labyrinth of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Epidemic
- now soon available on Kindle), the misleading name "CFS" is widely
used, also in good research (as Komaroff's, listed above and below).
So I decided that, while I personally strongly prefer
"ME" over "CFS", and while I agree that certainly "CFS" is a misnomer,
and indeed an intentional misnomer, under the circumstances "ME/CFS"
is the best name for the disease, in the end because that combination
offers the best chance for useful hits in internet searches.
(Unfortunately "CFS/ME" seems to be again an effort of
pseudo-scientific psychiatrists to upset any rational dialogue or
naming, so I'd like to avoid that.)
In fact, don't think it is worthwile - for patients -
to spend a lot of time doing battle about "the appropriate name" for
the disease, since the real facts do not depend on verbal
labels used for them, and what matters most is finding a causal
explanation and/or effective treatment for the disease, and "ME/CFS"
is, as things are, both a compromise and a way to correct the
psychiatric propagandistic renaming efforts, and besides most likely
to get relevant hits when searching the internet.