5 Picks for 15 July 2011

5 Picks | 15. Jul, 2011 by | 1 Comment

15-July-300x190On the 5th, 15th and/or 25th of each month, we’ll post 5 “picks” selected by researchers, physicians, policymakers, other professionals, patients, advocates and caregivers. These picks represent articles, books, websites, films, etc. that they have chosen as particularly interesting, compelling or descriptive of science — either in general or in an area in which they have an active interest.

Today’s picks come from researchers and physicians who formed the first formal research network of CFS investigators, a network established by the Association’s grantees funded in 2009 and 2010. Learn more about the Association’s sponsored research program here on Research1st and our main website.

“For those searching to reconcile the injustices of chronic pain, I recommend the book, The Pain Chronicles: Cures, Myths, Mysteries, Prayers, Diaries, Brain Scans, Healing, and the Science of Suffering, by Melanie Thernstrom. I heard Melanie speak at a recent fibromyalgia meeting. She gave a very down-to-earth, personal talk about her long journey to understand chronic pain, as both a journalist, and a person who struggles with chronic pain. The book should be munched and savored slowly, paragraph by paragraph, with introspection and thoughtfulness. It is a good journey for all, for those with and without chronic pain.”

Book: The Pain Chronicles: Cures, Myths, Mysteries, Prayers, Diaries, Brain Scans, Healing, and the Science of Suffering
Author: Melanie ThernstromCindy-Bateman
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2010)
Available from amazon and other retailers

Picked by:
Lucinda Bateman, M.D.
Fatigue Consultation Clinic
Salt Lake City, Utah
Founder, O.F.F.E.R.

“The submitted article is co-authored by Michael Joyner, arguably the most preeminent integrative human physiologist in the world. He voices his doubts concerning the potential for the adequacy of reductionist (“omic”) explanations of human disease and takes particular issue with the use of systems biology in a hypothesis-neutral research paradigm. Instead he strongly supports a dedicated return to the scientific method: observe, hypothesize, and test. Hypothesis-driven research can lead to a form of “reverse translation” wherein instead of basic bench research informing on disease phenotype, the phenotype informs on its molecular underpinnings. Thus, this paper eloquently describes the ‘environment’ in which hypothesis-driven investigations should be performed. These include consideration of systems integration and control mechanisms in the conduct of biomedical research, and reflect the perspective utilized in our laboratory.”

Article: Ten questions about systems biology
Journal & Issue: Journal of Physiology, 589.5 (2011) pp 1017–1030
Authors: Michael J. Jordan and Bente K. Pedersen
(This article is available open access at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1113/jphysiol.2010.201509/pdf)

Drs. Marvin Medow (left) and Julian Stewart

Picked by:
Marvin S. Medow, Ph.D.
Professor, Pediatrics and Physiology
Associate Director, Center for Hypotension
New York Medical College

Julian M. Stewart, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor, Pediatrics, Physiology and Medicine
Director, Center for Hypotension
New York Medical College

“Rather than one pick, I have two because they form a really nice package together. I have been turning to these two papers with increasing frequency since I became interested in investigating the possibility that oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction may be key players in CFS pathophysiology, and that glutathione (GSH), a small but ubiquitous tripeptide, might be the most important natural defense against these two disease-causing events.

“In their 2005 paper that I recommend, Zeevalk and colleagues powerfully show that if neurodegeneration were a coin, mitochondrial dysfunction would be on one of its faces, while oxidative stress would be on the other, and that in addition to their role in causing neurodegeneration, the two processes are constantly amplifying each other. This naturally leads to their 2008 paper in which they make the compelling case that the most effective way to prevent oxidative stress and/or mitochondrial dysfunction from happening and causing all kinds of health problems is to maintain adequate reserves of glutathione, and then they evaluate a number of strategies for increasing brain GSH reserves since this compound does not cross the blood-brain barrier and thus cannot be increased by simply taking daily supplements. (A longer description of this article by Dr. Shungu is linked here.)”

Article: Mitochondrial inhibition and oxidative stress: reciprocating players in neurodegeneration.
Journal & Issue: Antioxidant & Redox Signaling 2005; 7: 1117-1139.
Authors: Zeevalk GD, Bernard LP, Song C, Gluck M, Ehrhart J.
(A free abstract of this article and its first page are available at: http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/ars.2005.7.1117)

Article: Glutathione and Parkinson’s disease: is this the elephant in the room?
Dikoma-Shungu-225x300Journal & Issue: Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy 2008, 62: 236-249.
Authors: Zeevalk GD, Razmpour R, Bernard LP.
(A free abstract of this article is available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18400456)

Picked by:
Dikoma C. Shungu, Ph.D.
Professor of Physics in Radiology
Psychiatry, and Physiology and Biophysics
Chief, Laboratory for Advanced MRS Research
Citigroup Biomedical Imaging Center
Weill Medical College of Cornell University

“Brain fog is one of the most distressing symptoms in people with CFS.  Research has clearly demonstrated alterations in working memory and motor speed that contribute to cognitive impairment in CFS yet the cause has not been identified.  This paper is important because it demonstrates that low level infection of astrocytes with HIV makes the blood brain barrier more permeable to toxins that affect cognition. It seems plausible that other chronic viral infections, some of which have been shown to infect and persist in the brain, would also affect blood brain barrier permeability and possible explain the cognitive impairment of CFS.”

Article: Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection of human astrocytes disrupts blood–brain barrier integrity by a gap junction-dependent mechanism
Journal & Issue: Journal of Neuroscience, June 29, 2011, 31(26): 9456-9465; doi: 10.1523/​JNEUROSCI.1460-11.2011
Authors: Eliseo A. Eugenin,Janice E. Clements, M. Christine Zink and Joan W. BermanSDV-head-shot-cropped-269x300
(A free  abstract is available; the Society for Neuroscience’s press release can be viewed at: http://www.sfn.org/index.aspx?pagename=news_062911)

Picked by:
Suzanne D. Vernon, Ph.D.
Scientific Director
The Solve ME/CFS Initiative

“This recent article explains the pathophysiology of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome and why exercise works to correct the problem.”

Article: Cardiac origins of the postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome
Journal & Issue: Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2010:55:2858-68
Authors: Qi Fu, Tiffany B. VanGundy, M. Melyn Galbreath, Shigeki Shibata, Manish Jain, Jeffrey L. Hastings, Paul S. Bhella, and Benjamin D. Levine.
Ben-Katz(The full text of the article is available open access at http://content.onlinejacc.org/cgi/content/full/55/25/2858.)

Picked by:
Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Professor of Pediatrics
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

In January 2009, the researchers and collaborating physicians involved in the Association’s funded research projects met before their studies commenced. Here’s the group photo from that meeting.

Front row: Ben Katz, Kathy Light, Dikoma Shungu, Cindy Bateman, Bud Mishra; Back row: Suzanne Vernon, Steve Yale, Sanjay Mathew, Gordon Broderick, Julian Stewart, Sanjay Shukla, Marvin Medow, Eric Aslakson, Satish Raj (advisor)
July 15, 2011