Friday, January 26, 2024

Summaries of 2023 ME/CFS & Long-COVID Research and More

It's somehow the end of January already, and I'm way behind on my planned 2023 wrap-ups, so I wanted to get this one up before any more time passes. There are two excellent summaries, looking back at 2023 for ME/CFS and Long-COVID patients, that I want to share with you.

2023: Looking Back on Back on a Year of ME/CFS Research

This post, written by the blog ME/CFS Skeptic: a Critical View into ME/CFS Research, provides an easy-to-understand, patient-centered summary of about 15 different ME/CFS and long-COVID research studies that the authors deemed "most interesting." They've already done the work of explaining each study in simple terms, so you can just scroll through their summary. Some interesting things I noted while reading it:

  • Some aspects of ME/CFS that have long been accepted--like low NK cell function--were not confirmed by the studies cited here. I suspect that is mostly due to differences between patients, how we are all so different, as well as some studies focusing on small groups and differences between short-timers and those who've been ill for much longer.
  • Virus studies failed to find any specific viruses causing ME/CFS and concluded that we likely have dysfunctional immune responses ... which we already know! But it's good that researchers are beginning to zero in on that.
  • New population studies seemed interesting at first but were definitely flawed. One relied on asking people if they'd been diagnosed with ME/CFS by a medical professional--we all know how rarely that happens! Some were surprised the number seemed so much higher than before COVID, but I suspect it is actually much higher.
  • Good news that researchers continue to dig into genetics and the gut. Now, I'd like to see more research focused on immune dysfunction!

Looking Back at 2023 in ME/CFS, Long-COVID, and FM - the Most, Best, Cleverest, and Strangest

As usual, Cort Johnson of the Health Rising website (highly recommended!) has pulled together a lot of complex information into a very easy-to-read, even entertaining format, with all kinds of creative "best of" and "worst of" categories. While some reference the same studies as the above summary, there is a lot here that is new. Some highlights:

  • Encouraging findings in the field of mitochondrial dysfunction.
  • Lots of interesting findings in the growing field of long-COVID research, including high serotonin levels.
  • Call-backs to research from decades ago that noted that clotting could be a factor in the blood of ME/CFS patients (I remember these studies and took them to my doctor), now in the forefront again, thanks to the study of micro-clotting in long-COVID.
  • New funding for "long Lyme" (previously called chronic Lyme), which is long overdue.
  • New "long cold" research on another coronavirus that causes colds and can lead to ME/CFS. The more researchers expand this concept of "long" infections (i.e. post-infection ME/CFS), the more it will help all of us.
  • Plus, a new study on lasting illness after the COVID vaccines. I experienced this, as did many others, and patients have long reported that vaccines can trigger ME/CFS--another step forward in awareness among the medical profession!
  • New clinical trials for treatments.
  • The Mayo Clinic's massive turn-around from the worst place to go for ME/CFS in the US to actually listening to patient advocates and updating their protocols.
  • There's a whole lot more here to peruse, all written in short, snappy (even fun) blurbs - scroll through.

 OK, time for some dinner! I hope you find all of that as interesting as I did.

As for me, my months-long severe relapse that ended 2023 has mostly stayed in 2023. I'm pleased to report that I am doing much, much better, mostly due to a new diet that finally got my yeast overgrowth under control and all the work my doctor and I did last year to normalize my thyroid function. The first few weeks of the new year, I felt better than I have in years! I'll write about it here as soon as I can. In the meantime, this Chronic Illness Vlog 1/8/24: I'm Back, Baby! The Diet That's Helping explains some of it, and I'll be posting a new video all about the diet I'm trying next week.

I hope you find all this research news as encouraging as I do!

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