Insanity Virus Cause of Bipolar, Schizophrenia and MS

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by susiestar, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    This article was published in the June issue of the mag, andput online in Nov of 2010. It talks about a new cause of shizophrenia and MS - viral infection!!!

    the same virus, which is inactive in our DNA until an infection of another type triggers it, is highly suspected of causing both multiple sclerosis AND schizophrenia AND bipolar!!!! This is taking research into these and other illnesses into a very new direction (new to the general public, anyway.).

    The article is 4 pages long but is understandable, not all technical gobbledygook. I find it to be fascinating. I suspect in the next couple of decades we will learn a LOT mroe about these devastating disorders - including how to treat them long before symptoms appear!

    One researcher in the article says that it would be a lot easier to treat the disorder years before it manifest than to treat it after symptoms appear. Makes sense and offers a lot of hope to those of us with relatives with mental illnes.
  2. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    So there's how many people running around that could have it if they just catch the wrong cold or something? They're saying everyone carries this, that's a lot preventive medications.
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Hmm. Interesting.

    Not sure how much I agree with though.........although a viral trigger could be possible. But doesn't explain why it tends to run in families, especially if everyone is supposed to be susceptible Not quite sure I understand how early treatment would work either.

    I'll have to take more time later and reread this though. It is quite interesting. Might at least be one possible cause.
  4. cubsgirl

    cubsgirl Well-Known Member

    Very interesting article. Thanks for posting it.

    I agree that it will be interesting to see what medical advances are discovered and used over the next several decades.
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Wow! This is awesome! It really does say something about symbiosis vs pathogens. Very interesting. It makes sense that it is part genetic and part trigger, especially in view of twins.This part explains a lot:

    In 1970 Torrey arrived at the National Institute of Mental Health in Washington, D.C., having finished his training in psychiatric medicine. At the time, psychiatry remained under the thrall of Freudian psychoanalysis, an approach that offered little to people like Rhoda. Torrey began looking for research opportunities in schizophrenia. The more he learned, the more his views diverged from those of mainstream psychiatry.

    A simple neurological exam showed Torrey that schizophrenics suffered from more than just mental disturbances. They often had trouble doing standard inebriation tests, like walking a straight line heel to toe. If Torrey simultaneously touched their face and hand while their eyes were closed, they often did not register being touched in two places. Schizophrenics also showed signs of inflammation in their infection-fighting white blood cells. 'If you look at the blood of people with schizophrenia,' Torrey says, 'there are too many odd-looking lymphocytes, the kind that you find in mononucleosis.' And when he performed CAT scans on pairs of identical twins with and without the disease—including Steven and David Elmore—he saw that schizophrenics' brains had less tissue and larger fluid-filled ventricles.

    Subsequent studies confirmed those oddities. Many schizophrenics show chronic inflammation and lose brain tissue over time, and these changes correlate with the severity of their symptoms. These things 'convinced me that this is a brain disease,' Torrey says, 'not a psychological problem.'

    By the 1980s he began working with Robert Yolken, an infectious-diseases specialist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, to search for a pathogen that could account for these symptoms. The two researchers found that schizophrenics often carried antibodies for toxoplasma, a parasite spread by house cats; Epstein-Barr virus, which causes mononucleosis; and cytomegalovirus. These people had clearly been exposed to those infectious agents at some point, but Torrey and Yolken never found the pathogens themselves in the patients' bodies. The infection always seemed to have happened years before.

    Torrey wondered if the moment of infection might in fact have occurred during early childhood. If schizophrenia was sparked by a disease that was more common during winter and early spring, that could explain the birth-month effect. 'The psychiatrists thought I was psychotic myself,' Torrey says. 'Some of them still do.'

    Better prenatal care or vaccinations could prevent the infections that put people on a path to schizophrenia, and early treatment might prevent psychosis from developing two decades later.While Torrey and Yolken were chasing their theory, another scientist unwittingly entered the fray. Hervé Perron, then a graduate student at Grenoble University in France, dropped his Ph.D. project in 1987 to pursue something more challenging and controversial: He wanted to learn if new ideas about retroviruses—a type of virus that converts RNA into DNA—could be relevant to multiple sclerosis.

    Robert Gallo, the director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and co*discoverer of HIV, had speculated that a virus might trigger the paralytic brain lesions in MS. People had already looked at the herpes virus (HHV-6), cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, and the retroviruses HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 as possible causes of the disease. But they always came up empty-handed.

    Perron learned from their failures. 'I decided that I should not have an a priori idea of what I would find,' he says. Rather than looking for one virus, as others had done, he tried to detect any retrovirus, whether or not it was known to science. He extracted fluids from the spinal columns of MS patients and tested for an enzyme, called reverse transcriptase, that is carried by all retroviruses. Sure enough, Perron saw faint traces of retroviral activity. Soon he obtained fuzzy electron microscope images of the retrovirus itself.

    His discovery was intriguing but far from conclusive. After confirming his find was not a fluke, Perron needed to sequence its genes. He moved to the National Center for Scientific Research in Lyon, France, where he labored days, nights, and weekends. He cultured countless cells from people with MS to grow enough of his mystery virus for sequencing. MS is an incurable disease, so Perron had to do his research in a Level 3 biohazard lab. Working in this airtight catacomb, he lived his life in masks, gloves, and disposable scrubs.

    After eight years of research, Perron finally completed his retrovirus's gene sequence. What he found on that day in 1997 no one could have predicted; it instantly explained why so many others had failed before him. We imagine viruses as mariners, sailing from person to person across oceans of saliva, snot, or semen—but Perron's bug was a homebody. It lives permanently in the human body at the very deepest level: inside our DNA. After years slaving away in a biohazard lab, Perron realized that everyone already carried the virus that causes multiple sclerosis.

    Other scientists had previously glimpsed Perron's retrovirus without fully grasping its significance. In the 1970s biologists studying pregnant baboons were shocked as they looked at electron microscope images of the placenta. They saw spherical retroviruses oozing from the cells of seemingly healthy animals. They soon found the virus in healthy humans, too. So began a strange chapter in evolutionary biology.
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Ack! So sorry that I still have something wrong with-the formatting on this board. Does an admin want to fix the above graf for me? :)
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    There is a lot more work to be done on this, but it is a very new direction in the treatment of mental illness and if a virus that can trigger or activate this "insanity virus" can be treated in its' earliest stages, or even be prevented from occuring like a vaccine, we may see a drastic reduction in the number of people with mental illness and illnesses like MS. Only time will tell but it fascinates me.
  8. The viral idea has been around for some time , but it seems more specific information is surfacing. It has long been noted that more schizophrenics are born in the winter months. I had not, however, heard this about MS.

    My cousin had the rapidly progressive type of MS , and she passed away when she was 40 - after living in a nursing home for several years. She is so greatly missed. It would be so wonderful to prevent these diseases that are so devastating.

  9. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I haven't read this yet, but I agree with HD that it's probably more a case of a viral TRIGGER rather than a virus actually being the source of the disorder. I know for a fact that difficult child 2's BiPolar (BP) was set into motion by a strep infection that caused a movement disorder and also brought on full-blown mania. But if the gene for BiPolar (BP) had not already been there, he would not have developed it. Otherwise, everyone who's had strep or Scarlet Fever (like I have) would have developed BiPolar (BP) (and I didn't). I look forward to reading the article!
  10. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I didn't read the whole thing yet, but the strep/scarlet fever link is interesting. Kiddo's father is prone to strep and also had scarlet fever when he was young.
  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    GCVmom, exactly.P.S. Thank you to who ever fixed the paragraphs!