Dear Gulf War Illness Patient:
We at the Institute for Molecular Medicine have been working with physicians (and now veterinarians) who have patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS), Gulf War Illness (GWI) or Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) to determine a connection between the signs and symptoms suffered by these patients and chronic infections caused by Mycoplasma, Chlamydia, or other chronic infectious pathogens. For example, Mycoplasmas are microorganisms similar to bacteria but without a rigid cell wall. Some species of Mycoplasma or Chlamydia do not cause human disease, but more recently several species have been shown to cause or are a cofactor in disease, and when such microorganisms are found in the blood, they should be treated just like any other bacterial blood infection. The species of Mycoplasma that we have found in about 50% of CFS, 60% of FMS, 45% of GWI and 40% of RA patients cuase system-wide or systemic infections that invade virtually every tissue in the body and can compromise the immune system, permitting opportunistic infections by viruses, bacteria, fungi and yeast. Often these patients have multiple chronic infections and their signs and symptoms can be quite complex, and each patient tends to have their own unique set of problems.
Systemic chronic microorganism infections can cause chronic fatigue, reoccuring fevers, night sweats, joint and muscle pains, stomach upsets and cramps, diarrhea, breathing problems, sleep disturbances, sinus congestion/pain, headaches, skin rashes, kidney pain, dizziness, nausea, short term memory loss, vision problems, such as light sensitivity, blurred vision and floaters, hair loss, urination problems, eye pain, heart and thyroid problems and in extreme cases autoimmume-like disorders, such as those that lead to muscle degeneration and paralysis. The latter symptoms are probably due to the fact that the microorganism is released from infected cells carrying parts of host cell membrane, and individuals mayrespond to the microorganism as well as normal host antigens carried on the microorganism, resulting in symptoms similar to but not exactly those of MS, ALS, Lupus and other autoimmune disorders. Other symptoms include abnormal allergic responses, peculiar neurological symtoms, heart abnormalties, respiratory ailments, gastric discomforts ranging from ulcers to irratible bowel syndrome, and in extreme instances encephalitis and/or meningitis. Mycoplasma or Chlamydia infections usually start as respiratory infections that cause a flu-like illness that progresses to a systemic condition. We are having success in recommending treatment of CFS, FMS, GWI and RA patients with antibiotics, such as doxycycline, ciprofloxacin, azithromycin and Biaxin. The treatment works on most indivduals, but it can take some time to recover from this type of infection (usually up to and even over one year) and individuals undergoing therapy always feel worse when they start the therapy due to 'die-off' of the microorganism or Herxheimer reactions (transient discomfort and intermittent fever and other signs that occur within a few hours of starting antibiotics but diminish in a few days to 3 weeks during therapy). We also noted that penicillin can exacerbate the symptoms. We are now developing additional tests for other chronic infections that might also be involved in these illnesses.
The Institute for Molecular Medicine is a nonprofit corporation that is recognized by the Federal Government as a charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the tax laws. As such we ask you to consider membership in our 'Friends of the Institute's support program. Members of this group can receive blood tests for infections and advice on their illnesses. We take pride in the accuracy of our procedures, and we are rare in the diagnostic area because of our assistance to patients after their tests have been completed. We have also formed a for-profit company, Molecular Med, Inc. to commercialize the products of the Institute. In the attached materials you will find all the information and forms necessary to avail yourself of various tests that could be vitally important in you or your pets recovery.
Prof. Garth L Nicolson
Chief Scientific Officer and Research Professor
Professor of Internal Medicine
Web Site: http://www.immed.org
Gulf War Vets Home Page.