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Dr Davis's and Dr Naviaux's crucial observations about gender differences in ME

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by MeSci, Nov 24, 2017.

  1. MeSci

    MeSci Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Cornwall, UK
    I'm copying some text here from the other site - it took me a long time to find it so I don't want to lose it again!

    "Are men and women really that different in CFS?

    Yes. About 40-50% of all the metabolites that we measure in our method have a different normal concentration in males and females. This is not all related to testosterone and estrogen. Literally hundreds of metabolites are tuned to different concentrations in men and women. At the pathway level, we found that men and women shared 9 (45%) of the 20 biochemical pathways that were disturbed in CFS patients. Eleven pathways (55%) were more prominent in males or females. We find that to do metabolomics properly, you need to have an adequate number of age- and sex-matched controls. If healthy males and females are lumped together as controls, the power to see metabolic differences in CFS and many other diseases is much decreased. Likewise, the metabolism of a 25-year old male is different from a 35-year old male, and categorically different from a 25-year old female. In each decade of life there are many metabolic changes that occur as part of normal development and aging. When proper age- and sex-matched controls are used, metabolomics is one of the most powerful new tools available to physicians and scientists to study chronic complex disease."

    I think it's really important that everyone see this, for example so that they can bear it in mind when thinking about trying something that someone of a different gender (or age) is benefiting from.

    I don't know if I'm allowed to post a link to PR, but this is the name of the thread: "Professor Ron Davis's response to Naviaux study, including Q and A with Dr Naviaux".
  2. Samuel

    Samuel Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    whatever level of science funding we have sought and will seek, this argues for a positive multiplier on top of it.
  3. Andy

    Andy Committee Member (& Outreach when energy allows)

    Hampshire, UK
    Links are fine :)
  4. Melanie

    Melanie Senior Member (Voting Rights)

  5. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    I wonder how atypical these results are. What's to say that anything from MS to the flu isn't influenced by gender?
  6. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

    Given that the healthy controls have to be matched for age and gender, it seems they are saying that there are big differences in everyone, not just ME patients, in metabolomic results that follow a pattern that is age and gender specific.

    I suspect it is also affected by what drugs people are taking, their diet, activity level and individual genetic makeup and even things like time of day.

    It seems that metabolomics is a hugely complex field that is only beginning to be explored at this sort of depth, so all results must be taken with a large pinch of salt (speaking metaphorically).

    The fact that they had to collect data from healthy controls as well suggests to me that there are not 'library' data from other studies that can be used as a baseline for comparison. Or perhaps the equipment gives such variable results between labs and technicians that data can only be considered valid for comparison if the matched sick and healthy samples are analysed in the same batch. I don't know how much this might be true.

    It is only relatively recently that whole labs have been set up to do metabolomics with the sort of fast throughput multiple tests and big data analysis that makes this sort of science possible.

    I suspect that the most useful aspect of metabolomics studies might turn out to be the ability to observe individual patients over time to look for changes, or much larger whole group studies that are powerful enough to pick up patterns that aren't just chance variation - a bit like the big genome wide association studies. Relatively small group studies like this one are only a beginning.
  7. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    I think a lot of other disorders would benefit from a good understanding of how metabolism varies with gender and age.
    healthforall, duncan and MeSci like this.

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