FIRST PERSON: WHEN RESEARCHERS ARE WRONG
By Anne Hurwitz
From Summer 2013 Forum
I read recently about a huge breakthrough in autoimmune diseases! It involved work from two very prestigious teams of researchers in New England that did work on the inflammatory process that is linked to autoimmune diseases and the work was published in three articles in Nature journal. When it was reported on in the media, there were laudatory comments from many but one senior principal scientist at a Merck Research Laboratory in Palo Alto, California was the one that came closest to the truth when he said, that although the work was "remarkable", those researchers should not jump to any conclusions as diseases are quite complex.
What was their remarkable discovery? They felt that the consumption of salt was linked to autoimmune diseases! They thought that could account for diabetes, type 1, that jumped to increase 23 percent in less than a decade. They thought that psoriasis was doubled in 3 decades due to salt intake! And they even felt that pediatric multiple sclerosis could be found when that disease was not even known in children just two decades ago due to salt! They think they've found the environmental cause of autoimmune diseases increasing so much lately and their hunch was salt intake. Had they ever heard of the work that proved the sodium channel was being accessed in all autoimmune diseases? Had they ever looked at the work that the brilliant and determined Dr. Yoshitsugi Hokama had done that delayed his previously well-earned retirement so long? Did they understand that the ciguatera assay was found to be a biomarker for autoimmune diseases? Did they know that the ciguatera assay did not mean somebody had ciguatera? Did they know that autoimmune diseases use that sodium channel in the body? And did they understand that it has nothing to do with any amount of salt intake?
One researcher, who is the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Autoimmune Disease Research, came closer to the truth when he commented on this work, "We're all on a hunt for environmental factors. And the problem is there are too many so we have lots and lots of them." Hmmm, I wonder if that researcher, Dr. Noel Rose, knows the definitive direction of the National CFIDS Foundation? If he beats the NCF to the truth, I'll bet the NCF will only welcome it but I think it's more than obvious that the culprit that has done so much harm is not salt and these scientists should start digging a bit deeper into the complexity of autoimmune diseases. Heck, I'll wager none of those researchers who published on autoimmune diseases even know that a silly sounding illness called chronic fatigue syndrome has been proven to be in that category. If they had known, they'd know better than to think salt was a decisive factor in the cause of any illness.
I won't be the one to burst these researcher's bubble. In fact, I bet it won't be burst anytime too soon! Mankind has a history of taking a long time to accept or even know what has already been proven. Only one small example of that is that so few understand that it was the work of that same Dr. Hokama who also found out why anesthesia had proven to be so detrimental to people who have this nasty disease. Anesthesia has even caused some deaths in people who suffer with CFIDS/ME. I remember that way back in 1992, Paul R. Cheney, M.D., Ph.D. wrote, "I would recommend that potentially hepatotoxic anesthesic gases not be used… patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are known to have reactivated herpes group viruses…" His hunch, too, was wrong. Even when hepatoxic gases were no longer used, the hearts of patients with this illness stopped beating when they were under an anesthesia. Luckily, with doctors right there, most could be brought back but severe damage was done. Then, in 1996, Patrick L. Class, M.D. wrote, "The ones to avoid are histomine releasers" but his advise based on a hunch was wrong as well and patients continued to scare the surgeons when their hearts stopped beating during a surgical endeavor. Today, in 2013, there is one small group in one province of Canada that has let their members that the answer to the anesthesia problems has been scientifically proven and the dangers can be avoided by simply not using the same channel in the body that is being used by all autoimmune diseases! If an anesthesiologist avoids using the sodium channel, they don't risk damaging the patient with CFIDS/ME further!
Why don't researchers already know that the environmental horror that is making people come down with an autoimmune disease has nothing to do with ingesting too much salt? They don't know for the same reason that patients and other charities worldwide representing their illness have no idea that their life-threatening problem with anesthesia has been resolved. That's just the way this world works. It won't be a few years until the knowledge spreads but it will actually be decades before everything that has already been scientifically proven about anything filters down to everyone.
Anne lives in the Midwest.
The National CFIDS Foundation * 103 Aletha Rd, Needham Ma 02492 *(781) 449-3535 Fax (781) 449-8606