By Linda J. Dobberstein, Chiropractor, Board Certified in Clinical Nutrition, in Wellness Resources.
Cutting-edge research published just days ago, shows that patients dealing with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) have neurological inflammation and it is widespread throughout the brain. Up until recently, it has only been able to be hypothesized that these individuals dealing with CFS/ ME have brain inflammation involved in the pathophysiology of the disease. Being able to prove this issue has been impossible up until now, as advanced PET scan technology can now demonstrate the activation of microglial cells or astrocyte activity of the brain. Recall that the glial cells are the workhorses of the brain and are the brain’s immune system. When these glial cells are overworked or activated, inflammation is a consequence.
Researchers found a higher activation of the microglial cells and astrocytes that were 45-199 percent more active in patients with CFS/ME than those without the illness. The over-activity and inflammation areas were found in the limbic system of the brain. Structures shown to be inflamed with this over-activity included areas of the hippocampus, amygdala, cingulate cortex, thalamus, midbrain and others. This is where vital life processes occur. This limbic system is the “old brain” or the part of the brain that is primarily involved with survival, i.e. eating, sleeping, circadian rhythms, motivation, reproduction, and basic emotions. It sits on top of the brain stem, but is underneath the cortex or the conscious thinking part of the brain. When this subconscious life force area of the brain is not working well, getting thru the day requires Herculean effort. In the case with CFS/ME, the communication processes are so burdened with inflammation that profound fatigue and dysfunction occurs through every neurological phone call.
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