Dear subconscious, it has been decades since I was at university as a student and the odds of me needing to take an exam ever again are minuscule. And I certainly would not need to be writing about the DNA bases in Japanese, and I do so remember what ACTG are in Japanese (or rather, a ka ta ga since hiragana is a syllabary. But I would guess that Japanese scientists use the romaji anyway.)
But you know, asshole brain has a point. Sometimes life with ME is like being a student. Just the other day I handed in a report. And there is so much technical stuff that people share around. If I were going to read it all, I’d need a thorough course of study in ummm, something. Biochemistry? Molecular medicine? Definitely Metabolomics, but I’m not sure what the prerequisite courses are. And guess what! Brain fog, easy fatigue from mental activity… NOT going to help with that.
Here’s an example of stuff that turns up in my ME/CFS related FB groups.
A model of the development and progression of chronic fatigue syndrome (myalgic encephalomyelitis), the aetiology of which is currently unknown, is put forward, starting with a consideration of the post-infection role of damage-associated molecular patterns and the development of chronic inflammatory, oxidative and nitrosative stress in genetically predisposed individuals. The consequences are detailed, including the role of increased intestinal permeability and the translocation of commensal antigens into the circulation, and the development of dysautonomia, neuroinflammation, and neurocognitive and neuroimaging abnormalities. Increasing levels of such stress and the switch to immune and metabolic downregulation are detailed next in relation to the advent of hypernitrosylation, impaired mitochondrial performance, immune suppression, cellular hibernation, endotoxin tolerance and sirtuin 1 activation. The role of chronic stress and the development of endotoxin tolerance via indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase upregulation and the characteristics of neutrophils, monocytes, macrophages and T cells, including regulatory T cells, in endotoxin tolerance are detailed next. Finally, it is shown how the immune and metabolic abnormalities of chronic fatigue syndrome can be explained by endotoxin tolerance, thus completing the model.
So, here’s an abstract that is relevant to my interests. And I do not understand it. Here are some terms that are over my head.
- oxidative and nitrosative stress
- the translocation of commensal antigens into the circulation
- hypernitrosylation, endotoxin tolerance, sirtuin 1 activation.
- The role of chronic stress and the development of endotoxin tolerance via indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase upregulation and the characteristics of neutrophils, monocytes, macrophages and T cells, including regulatory T cells, in endotoxin tolerance
OK, I could look up most of it, with google and wikipedia, but I’m mostly too tired and vague, and also I’m pretty sure it would lead back to many other terms I don’t understand. It would be a never-ending rabbit hole of confusion. I’d do much better finding a place to start and building up to it.
But I’m not sure I want to. I only have a few hours of good brain space a day, and I want to learn Japanese and read fun SF & mystery books. And also I want to knit and do other crafts that I haven’t touched since the pneumonia. I’ve done a lot of studying in my time and I’m pretty sure I could still learn whatever it is I need to, even if more slowly than I used to learn. But it just seems so unfair that I would even have to. Don’t we have professionals for this?
So, here is another way that having ME/CFS sucks. All of the knowledge is new, and coming out in full-on academic research mode. Doctors don’t know it. There’s certainly no popular science for a quick overview education. If you want to follow along, there’s one hell of a lot to learn, and that’s too much to ask of most people with ME/CFS and its consequent cognitive problems.