Happy Easter Sunday. The photo uploader isn't working today hence no photos of cute chicks or something vaguely topical to delay you before I move on to my layman's appraisal of gene research in the ME/CFS field.
From my naive and limited knowledge of school biology, I had thought that genes were fixed - eg. genes for hair/eye/skin colour. But I've learned that there are genes for functions in the body -genes for hormones and immunity etc, that can be switched ON or switched OFF by infection.
Gene research in ME is in its infancy but early results suggest that 11 or 12 genes are malfunctioning, causing us to feel very ill (or feeling 'one chromosome off a potato' as someone once described it). The list of suspects include genes for,
"immune response, apoptosis (cell death), ion channel activity, signal transduction, cell-cell signaling, regulation of cell growth and neuronal activity."
When I read that, I felt as if someone had just read out a recipe for the limping chaos in my body. Furthermore, the study added, "Importantly, most of the 11 common pathways are interrelated, suggesting complex biological mechanisms associated with CFS." Bingo. We told you it was complex and deep. We told you it was more profound than we could express.
I was trying to think of a metaphor for the above and, crudely put, I imagine it's like the functions in your house going wrong and living amid the catastrophic cascading consequences. Imagine if the gas supply came out the kitchen taps, the toilet water leaked from your radiators, the rubbish ended up in the fridge and your television channels were all scrambled. Not that you'd be watching TV in that state. But that's no more inappropriate than the psychiatrists telling PWME to exercise and improve their attitude while some are being tube fed and have brain inflammation.
That's the down-side. The up-side is that (after 30 years) this research is finally heading us in the right direction. Certainly a new beginning fitting for Easter.
Gene expression profile exploration of a large dataset on chronic fatigue syndrome.Journal: Pharmacogenomics. 2006 Apr;7(3):429-440.Related Articles,Hong Fang , Qian Xie , Roumiana Boneva , Jennifer Fostel , Roger Perkins  & Weida Tong [4.*]