Incline Victims Show Cell Abnormalities”
Tests Reveal New Clue in Fatiguing Illness
by Chris Fotheringham
NLTB Managing Editor
Laboratory results published this week in a prestigious medical journal confirm that over 50% of Incline Village chronic fatigue patients tested have suffered “dramatic” abnormalities in their immune systems.
Calling it the “most significant finding yet” in efforts to unravel the mystery of the widespread fatigue illness, Harvard researcher Dr. Anthony Komaroff said Monday the report published Sunday in the Journal of Immunology is the first scientific study that confirms “something is wrong with these people.”
“it is really dramatic.” said Komaroff, who is chief of general medicine at a Harvard teaching hospital in Boston.
The article, which underwent nearly 11 months of peer review before being published, was authored by Komaroff, Incline Village internist Dr.Daniel Peterson, and former Incline internist Dr Paul Cheney.
Dr Michael Caligiuri, an immunologist with the Dana-Farber Cancer institute of the Harvard Medical Center, was the lead author for the article which was originally submitted for review in January.
Komaroff says test results reveal an attack on the immune system’s “natural killer cell” which is the body’s primary means of killing virus-infected cells or cells that become cancerous.
Komaroff said “There is a substantial reduction in the number of natural killer cells in patients tested.” He said the study has determined that this “major defense against virus infection and cancer” is damaged in over half of the test cases involving Incline Village patients.
Komaroff first broght his team of researchers to Incline Village in February of 1986 after Incline doctors Cheney and Peterson had documented an outbreak of approximately 200 cases of mononucleosis-type illnesses in the North Tahoe and Truckee area beginning in the fall of 1985.
While the Incline Village cluster of fatigue cases has drawn primary attention in the national media, researchers have found widespread occurrence of the illness throughout the country.