Recently a team of researchers have hypothesised that some of the symptoms experienced in chronic fatigue may be the result of an accumulation of low level stimuli creating hypersensitivity of the brain.This process has been described as kindling.
As the low level stimuli accumulates the ultimate result is hypersensitivity and seizure-like activity when that stimulus is encountered again at lower levels, or even in its absence. Essentially the brain is left in a state of constant “high alert”.
In their paper published in the journal Neuroscience and Medicine, the scientists from De Paul University in Chicago suggest that a chronic viral illness, which may originally have been asymptomatic, may illicit an immune response involving pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-1beta (IL-1β) which act as a chronic stimulus to the brain, altering its electrical activity, and ultimately causing kindling. They add that an acute trauma like a high impact head injury sustained in a car or sports accident, for example, could also trigger the kindling response. Both scenarios are consistent with reports from ME/CFS patients regarding the onset of their illness and evidence of chronic viral infections and cytokine abnormalities have consistently been found.
The published paper from the Journal of Neuroscience and Medicine
describe a process of sub- clinical inflammation. An immune response stimulates the production of pro inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin – 1 beta (IL-1B) , this acts as a chronic stimulus to the brain altering its electrical activity , this is the process that causes kindling. For example involvement in acute trauma such as high impact head injury in an RTA or continuous reaction to exogenous toxins and viral infections could trigger the internal processes that lead to kindling. Some of the clinical histories of clients with ME/CFS give evidence to this possibility.
Toxins are known to be able to stimulate brain activity through the production of reactive molecules. Psychological stress is more than a innocuous feeling but actually involves numerous chemical reactions, hypersensitivity and thus kindling may be affected by levels of neuro-endocrine-immune active chemicals.
Although psychological stress may play a role in its genesis, once kindling is triggered it becomes independent of external psychological factors and is a self-perpetuating biological dysfunction.
Limbic Kindling may also explain the acute reactions experienced by patients , some of these reactions follow a chain of events which on initial investigation
seem unrelated ie
emotional response = chemical response
chemical response = emotional response
emotion response = physical response
physical tiredness = emotional response
Another word for the glossary of ME/CFS , it seems at time that we will never reach any conclusion about this disease , I disagree ME/CFS, research grows despite poor investment , the surge and power of informed patients cannot be stopped.