Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Chronic fatigue syndrome is NOT all in your mind

As was often said in the past.  It is probably an as-yet unidentified virus.  I had it for about a month but I have a very good immune system so I got back to normal relatively quickly.  I had it over a Christmas period and all I could do during the celebrations was lie on the floor

Advances in Understanding the Pathophysiology of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Anthony L. Komaroff

When does an illness become a disease? When the underlying biological abnormalities that cause the symptoms and signs of the illness are clarified.

The illness now called myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) was first described in the mid-1980s. At that time, nothing was known about its underlying biology. Indeed, because many standard laboratory test results were normal, some clinicians explained to patients that “there is nothing wrong.” There was, of course, an alternative explanation: the standard laboratory tests might not have been the right tests to identify the underlying abnormalities.

Over the past 35 years, thousands of studies from laboratories in many countries have documented underlying biological abnormalities involving many organ systems in patients with ME/CFS, compared with healthy controls: in short, there is something wrong. Moreover, most of the abnormalities are not detected by standard laboratory tests. In 2015, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that ME/CFS “is a serious, chronic, complex systemic disease that often can profoundly affect the lives of patients,” affects up to an estimated 2.5 million people in the United States, and generates direct and indirect expenses of approximately $17 billion to $24 billion annually.1

Over the past several years, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has expanded its research efforts directed toward this disease. It has initiated an unusually comprehensive multisystem study at the NIH Clinical Center, funded 3 extramural ME/CFS research centers and 1 data coordinating center, awarded supplemental support to 7 existing grants, and held regular telebriefings on the illness (as has the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).2

A 2-day conference at the NIH in April 2019 highlighted recent progress. New research was presented that both reinforced and expanded on previous reports. Equally important, several plausible models were proposed that could explain many of the abnormalities that have been described.


A great deal more is known today than 35 years ago about the underlying biology of ME/CFS. It is clear that many biological measurements clearly distinguish patients with ME/CFS from healthy control individuals.

At the same time, some areas of ME/CFS research remain a challenge, and research has not yet given practicing physicians 2 important tools. First, there are as yet no US Food and Drug Administration–approved treatments. Second, although various biological measurements distinguish patients with ME/CFS from healthy controls, none yet have demonstrated the high sensitivity and specificity required for a good diagnostic test. However, 1 small study (20 cases and 20 controls) described at the NIH conference (and recently published9) reported perfect sensitivity; the specificity of the test in individuals with other fatiguing illnesses remains to be shown.

With growing international interest in the illness, and increased research support from the NIH, the day is coming when physicians will be able to explain to patients not only that there is something wrong but also that advances in understanding the pathophysiology have led to effective therapy.

More HERE  

Sheriff's office loses accreditation after Parkland shooting

About time

Florida's largest sheriff's office has lost its law enforcement accreditation after criticism over its handling of fatal shootings at a high school and airport.

The Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation voted 13-0 last week not to renew the Broward Sheriff's Office's accreditation. Commission members include law enforcement and other local officials from across Florida.

They cited the agency's handling of last year's Parkland shooting and a 2017 shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport as reasons for the decision.

Sheriff Gregory Tony said in a prepared statement that it's disheartening for the agency's 5,400 employees to lose their accreditation for the previous administration's mistakes. BSO's former sheriff, Scott Israel, was suspended by the governor earlier this year.

"Since recently taking command, I have worked on improving BSO and repairing the effects of bad leadership and negligence by focusing on training and community relations," Tony said. "I will continue working hard to ensure that all Broward residents feel safe and that our agency's reputation and honor are restored."

CFA Executive Director Lori Mizell says 166 agencies have the voluntary certification. An agency can keep operating without accreditation. Mizell says having accreditation means an agency meets more than 250 professional standards.

Meanwhile, Israel is running for his old job. He filed paperwork Monday stating his intention to run in the August 2020 Democratic primary. Israel is fighting the suspension before the Florida Senate and had previously committed to running for the seat regardless of whether he was reinstated.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has accused Israel of incompetence and neglect of duty for failing to properly train his deputies for an active shooter situation.

Israel's lawyer says DeSantis' decision to suspend the sheriff was politically motivated.


Is This the End of Female Athletics? Not If This High School Girl Can Help It

The girls should refuse to compete against men

In high school, I wanted nothing more than to compete at the collegiate level in swimming. It was my goal, my dream. But there was one problem: My high school didn’t have a swim team. And the only way I could get noticed by college scouts was to make it to the high school state meet.

Wanting the best for their daughter, my parents approached the high school about starting a swim team, and thankfully, the school administration agreed. I became the high school swim team of one. And eventually, I achieved my dream to compete as a college athlete, which was one of the highlights of my college experience.

But now, that same opportunity is being stripped from some female high school athletes. These girls are losing their spots at high-level competitions. But it’s not because their schools don’t have their particular sports. And it’s not because they weren’t good enough or didn’t work hard enough.

It’s because the spots of these female athletes are being taken by biological males. And that means these female athletes, who have worked so hard and for so long on their dream, are losing opportunities to compete in front of college scouts.

That’s exactly what happened to Selina Soule, a high school track athlete in Connecticut. And it’s why Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a complaint representing Selina and two other female athletes with the Office for Civil Rights.

At the Connecticut indoor track championships earlier this year, Selina placed eighth in the 55-meter dash – just one spot away from qualifying for the 55m final and a chance to compete for a spot in the New England regional championships, where many college scouts attend.

As an athlete, it can be disappointing to narrowly miss a goal – to be one spot out of medaling or a hundredth of a second off of a qualifying time.

But this was different.

Selina had not simply been outrun by seven other girls. She had been outrun by only five other girls, while first and second place were taken by two biological males. These two athletes – one who had competed in the boys competitions just one season prior – identify as girls and have been allowed to compete as such.

Had they not been permitted to do so, Selina likely would have competed at the New England regional championships in front of college scouts.

While students who experience confusion about their gender need compassionate support, there are many ways to offer that without compromising fair competition.

The fact is that Title IX was passed to ensure that women would receive equal opportunities in education. But now, biological males are being allowed to compete in sports with girls for scholarship opportunities – and they’re winning. Connecticut isn’t the only place where this is happening.

A male high school sprinter qualified for the girls’ finals at the Alaska state track championships.

A male college runner won three titles in the Northeast-10 Championships for women’s track, and received the Most Outstanding Track Athlete award.

A male softball player took one of 15 spots on his California high school girls’ varsity softball team.

That’s not progress. It’s just plain unfair.

Still, many female athletes have been hesitant to speak out. And it’s no wonder why.

Those who dare to question whether biological males should be allowed to compete against females are ridiculed and bullied. Transgender activists lashed out against tennis legend Martina Navratilova when she wrote that a biological man competing as a woman is “cheating.”

Likewise, when Selina and other female competitors have voiced their criticism, they have been portrayed as sore losers.

Since when does speaking the truth make you a sore loser?

It is a physiological fact that men and women are built differently. Men have more muscle mass and a higher bone density – making them physically stronger than women.

And as Navratilova pointed out, “Simply reducing hormone levels — the prescription most sports have adopted — does not solve the problem. A man builds up muscle and bone density, as well as a greater number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, from childhood. Training increases the discrepancy.”

Did you catch that? No amount of training can change the fact that males have a physiological advantage over females in some sports.

That’s why we have separate men’s and women’s sports. But somehow, the line between the two is becoming increasingly blurry. And women and girls are suffering the consequences.

Just ask Selina.


Corruption of kindness: How the RSPCA has been infiltrated by a motley bunch of militants with an extreme agenda that's ruining its precious legacy

Jane Tredgett is a veteran animal rights activist who lives in rural Humberside with her husband and a small domestic menagerie that includes two dogs, a cat and several chickens.

A ‘committed vegan’, she devotes much time to running eccentric and occasionally somewhat muddled campaigns on what she regards as the pressing issues of our times.

Not long ago, for example, the 52-year-old used Facebook to endorse a bizarrely worded appeal to stop the Queen ‘killing bears’.

Of course, Her Majesty has never personally killed one. But the campaign targeted the Foot Guards of the Household Division, whose bearskin caps (often mistakenly called busbies) are made from the skins of black bears, which are culled in Canada to keep numbers in check.

Tredgett therefore urged her friends to bombard Buckingham Palace with letters telling the Queen that ‘killing bears should stop immediately’.

Shortly afterwards, she mounted a campaign against the Bank of England’s new £5 note, which is made using tallow to increase durability. ‘I avoid buying products with animal derivatives so I should not be forced to have them in my banknotes,’ she announced.

Tredgett has also circulated a host of petitions, targeting (among other things) restaurant chains that allegedly serve eggs from caged hens, London Fashion Week for allowing fur on its catwalks, the government of India (where monkeys are supposedly culled), rabbit farms and circuses that use wild animals.

‘What an awful world we live in,’ she once declared. ‘We destroy everything we touch and kill any animal for any reason as and when we see fit. Humans are most definitely the real vermin.’

Such views are, of course, widely held by more fanatical proponents of the animal rights agenda. They view almost any interaction between man and beast, from farming to medical research, the pet trade and even horse riding, as a legitimate target for righteous, occasionally violent indignation.

For the outspoken vegan with a penchant for banning things has, for almost 18 years, held a seat on the ruling Council of Trustees for one of Britain’s wealthiest charities, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).

Currently, she is vice-chairman of the organisation, which has 1,750 employees and an annual budget of nearly £130 million.

In this role, she and other trustees are responsible for the charity’s leadership and meet to decide policy, strategy and the allocation of its funds.

All of which leads us to why Tredgett has made headlines after being identified as one of a cabal of ‘radical animal rights campaigners’ on the council who are accused of pushing for the RSPCA to devote its resources to outlawing two of Britain’s most popular sports: angling and horse racing.

They have apparently called for bans at recent policy committee meetings.

To a casual reader, the idea that this supposedly mainstream charity could even consider taking such a radical step might seem outlandish.

After all, the RSPCA has for generations held a cherished place in our national psyche.

Formed in pre-Victorian times, when animal welfare meant preventing horses and donkeys being routinely flogged to death, it began life as an enlightened extension of the anti-slavery campaign.

Indeed, it says much about Britain’s affection for animals that the RSPCA was formed before the modern police force and predated the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) by 60 years.

Over time, the charity morphed into a well-meaning organisation which saved pets from malnutrition, looked after injured wild animals and ran cat and dog rescue centres.

To many Britons, and a good proportion of supporters, that remains the RSPCA’s raison d’etre.

So how is it now considering whether to seek a ban on angling, a pursuit enjoyed by four million Britons who work tirelessly to conserve fish stocks and maintain the nation’s rivers and lakes?

It is because of the dominance of the charity’s ruling council by hardliners such as Tredgett — the result of almost half a century of ‘entryism’.

This is when an organised group, often with extreme views, join a mainstream organisation to take control, subvert policies and expand their influence — just as the hard-Left group Momentum has infiltrated the Labour Party.

So far, radical animal rights campaigners on the council have been successfully opposed by moderate members who are anxious not to alienate other RSPCA members, potential donors and the charity’s patron, the Queen, a lifelong racing fan.

Yet the delicate balance of power that has effectively blocked this radical agenda could soon be upset.

More Here  

Australia runs concentration camps? You can’t be serious, Tom

Thomas Keneally is a good novelist but is also an hysterical Leftist with no sense of proportion.  That illegal immigrants housed in Australia's detention centres can get a free ticket home just by asking for it he fails to mention.  The inmates at Auschwitz had no such opportunity.  Some differences do matter

Most Australians appreciate the cut and thrust of the domestic political debate. However, when talking to foreigners all of us have a responsibility to be as factual as possible and to avoid hyperbole.

Bestselling author and Booker Prize winner Thomas Keneally did not meet this standard when interviewed by Zeinab Badawi on the BBC World Service’s Hardtalk program on June 18. The writer spoke sensibly in refuting the claim of US-based commentator John Oliver that Australia is a ­racist country.

But earlier in the interview, ­Keneally threw the switch to alienation when discussing the issue of refugees and asylum-seekers. Whatever anyone thinks about the policy of successive governments on this issue, the fact is that Australia, on a per capita basis, is one of the most generous nations in the world when it comes to settling refugees.

Settling refugees means accepting them as individuals who qualify for the free health and education available to Australians — along with access to a generous welfare system. And, in turn, refugees become eligible for residential status and eventually full citizenship. Some of Australia’s most successful citizens came here as refugees. But you would not know this from watching or hearing the Hardtalk interview.

Keneally told Badawi that Australia has failed the test of “national honour and honesty” with respect to asylum-seekers. He went on to accuse Australian governments of lying but did not specifically identify the (alleged) lies to which he was referring.

Keneally told Hardtalk: “We began by arguing that to save Australia from terror we had to keep these people in permanent detention. So we have what can only be called concentration camps in Australia … in which people are punished psychologically for having the ambition for being Australians.”

This is simply misleading. Keneally is a social democrat and a supporter of mainstream Labor governments. He should know that detention for asylum-seekers entering Australian territory ­unlawfully was an initiative of Paul Keating’s Labor government in 1992. It had nothing to do with the threat of international terrorism, which became a concern some time later.

Also, the reference to concentration camps is grossly inaccurate in this instance. Since the end of World War II, this term has been associated with the camps constructed by the Nazi Germany ­regime in the late 1930s and early 40s. Some were forced labour facilities, others were death camps. No one willingly entered these institutions.

Contrary to ­Keneally’s claim, no one is punished for having the ambition to become an Australian. Tens of thousands with such an ambition enter Australia as immigrants every year, as do thousands of refugees. Detention was established to restore Australian control of Australian borders. This became increasingly necessary as individuals arriving by boat destroyed their personal papers on the ­advice of people-smugglers. This means that authorities have no way of assessing the character of individuals arriving on Australian shores.

Keneally told Badawi that Australia has adopted a policy of “punishing people, not the people- smugglers”. This overlooks the fact that the only way to stop the people-smuggling trade is to cut their customer base. The Coali­tion governments led by John Howard, Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison understood this.

So did Labor’s Kevin Rudd ­during his second term as prime minister. During Rudd’s first time as prime minister and in the early years of his successor, Julia Gillard, about 50,000 unlawful ­arrivals came to Australian shores and an estimated 1200 drowned at sea. At this time, Australia’s ­immigration system was effect­ively contracted out to people-smugglers.

It’s rare indeed for a BBC ­journalist to criticise an interview from the right. But that’s what ­Badawi felt compelled to do. She pointed out to Keneally that while he ­referred to concentration camps, others described them as detention centres. And she added that “you can’t allow unfettered numbers of asylum-seekers to come in”.

Quite so. Keneally’s proposal is to use the money saved from closing existing detention centres on Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island to set up centres in Indonesia designed to process asylum-seekers for settlement in Australia.

However, it is not clear why asylum-seekers who make it to Indonesia or a nearby nation should get preference when it comes to settlement in Australia. There are tens of millions seeking asylum — in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and elsewhere. There is no reason why Australia should give preference to individuals with the money to make it to our northern shores ahead of those who, say, may have been in a UN camp somewhere in Africa for 15 years.

Refugees and asylum-seekers in offshore detention are now free to leave if they wish. They are in no sense incarcerated in a concentration camp. Moreover, the Coali­tion has been successful in resettling some of these men, women and children in the US.

The sensible approach to an ­almost intractable problem is to put a red flag up the front and ­operate a green flag out the back. In other words, it makes sense for Australia to adopt a hard line ­towards people-smugglers and those who engage them while slowly and quietly resettling those on Nauru and Manus Island. In ­effect, this has been Australia’s policy for years.

Such a process is not assisted by exaggerated statements made by prominent Australians to international media outlets. If, as Ken­eally states, the Australian gov­ern­ment is an institutional liar and committed to maintaining concentration camps to punish people, then it is reasonable to come to the view that a majority of Australians will prevail against such ­deceit and injustice.

They won’t — as recent election results have indicated — ­because the view put by Keneally to the BBC is flawed.

These are the facts. Australia is a generous ­recipient of refugees compared with most other democracies, ­including New Zealand. Moreover, the present asylum-seeker problem worldwide is so great that no government or international body can resolve it in the short term. Despite what Keneally told the BBC.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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