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CFS: a herpesvirus infection of the vagus nerve?

The Vagus Nerve

For years, CFS researchers have been looking for a pathogenic agent that causes the myriad of symptoms experienced by patients with the condition. However, according to a novel hypothesis from researchers at the Tufts University PTSD neuroimaging laboratory, they may have been looking in the wrong place. The new theory, published this month in Medical Hypotheses, suggests that CFS may be the result of a pathological infection of the vagus nerve. If this low-level “chronic” infection is localized to the vagus nerve it would be undetectable in the plasma, but still able to cause the sensory vagus nerve to send signals to the brain that initiate “sickness behavior,” an involuntary response characterized by fatigue, fever, myalgia, depression, and other symptoms that are often observed in patients with CFS. Although the theory proposes that any neutoropic virus or bacteria could trigger CFS, HHV-6 is at the top of the list.  READ MORE

HHV-6 & HHV-7 may accelerate disease progression in patients with gastrointestinal cancer

A research team from Riga Stradins University in Latvia has reported that the activation of HHV-6B and HHV-7 in patients with gastrointestinal cancer may lead to a marked decrease in lymphocytes and worsening of immunosuppression.  Furthermore, a detailed analysis of viral interactions and specific cellular subpopulation levels among their cohort suggests an abnormal antiviral response that could lead to an accelerated progression of co-infections and worse outcomes in these patients.  READ MORE

CFS patients with ciHHV-6 may benefit from antiviral treatment

Scientists from the University Of South Florida’s Morsani College Of Medicine have published findings suggesting that chromosomally integrated HHV-6 (ciHHV-6) is the possible cause of some CFS cases.  The study followed several CFS patients with ciHHV-6 during treatment, discovering that the presence of HHV-6 mRNA disappeared after several weeks of antiviral therapy.  The investigators had assumed that the integrated virus had become reactivated in these patients; surprisingly, however, they found that the patients were instead infected by a second unrelated strain of HHV-6.  READ MORE

HHV-6 reactivation leads to acute GVHD, increased mortality after myeloablative HSCT

The results of a large-scale, comprehensive analysis of predictors and clinical outcomes for HHV-6 reactivation after allogeneic HSCT have just been released.  Published in Bone Marrow Transplantation earlier this month, the study conducted by a research team based in the Netherlands demonstrates that the use of a myeloablative conditioning regimen during transplantation is a highly significant predictor of HHV-6 reactivation, and furthermore found HHV-6 reactivation to be heavily correlated with grades 2-4 acute GVHD as well as non-relapse mortality.  READ MORE