I leaned up against my mother’s bedroom door and watched her pick out clothing for her date night with my stepdad. Feverish, achy, and barely able to stand any longer, I stumbled to her bed and sat on the end. Swallowing, I cringed in pain.
“We’ll be home in a few hours. If you’re still sick, I’ll take you into ER,” she promised. I dropped back onto the blanket, too exhausted to hold myself up anymore. I couldn’t remember the last time I had eaten, but it didn’t matter; I wasn’t hungry and probably couldn’t swallow food anyway.
My mother returned to find me unmoved and burning up four hours later. I don’t remember if she took me to the ER that night or the doctor the next day, but I missed five weeks of my sophomore year in high school as the doctors struggled to get me back on my feet. Fatigue plagued me for weeks to come, even after I was well enough to return to school.
Looking back, I can’t help but wonder if I had Epstein-Barr. I say this because my first multiple sclerosis symptoms occurred the same school year; I was 15 years old. New research suggests Epstein-Barr may cause MS.
Science reported a recent Harvard study discovered Epstein-Barr virus or EBV may be the “leading cause of MS.” After researching the medical records of 10 million active U.S. military personnel who had become ill with EBV, they made this hypothesis. Following EBV, 995 were diagnosed with MS while still on active duty. The research notes that while other personnel became infected with other viruses, only EBV infections correlated with an MS diagnosis. Those who had EBV were 32 times more likely to be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis than those who had not contracted EBV.
So what does it matter if MS patients had EBV before MS? Lead author of the study, Alberto Ascherio, says, “This is a big step because it suggests that most MS cases could be prevented by stopping EBV infection, and that targeting EBV could lead to the discovery of a cure for MS.” The difficulty in determining a casual relationship is that EBV infects about 95% of the population.
It’s winter in Wyoming, which means I’m not walking as far as I usually do. That could lead to disaster by March if I’m not careful. It doesn’t take long to put on weight at five feet tall. My stationary bike sits in the corner – the ever-faithful coat hanger that it is. I loved riding that bike until I suffered an athletic hamstring pull that left me limping for almost a year. Hmm… Freeze or take it easy on the bike? I’d better do something soon, or I will regret it.
I encourage all of my followers to pursue a passion or two in their lives. Writing and the Wyoming Jeepers YouTube channel are my passions. The Wyoming Jeepers (me, my husband, his sister & brother-in-law) regularly set out into the hills, badlands, and mountains to enjoy Mother Nature’s gifts while checking out locations to record new episodes. Last weekend we visited the hoodoos rock formations by Meeteetse, Wyoming. We will be filming an episode there in the future. If you want to have a great time with us, check out our latest video, “Shell Creek & Boulder Basin,” released on January 1, 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cg3iIT9NMkM&t=559s
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “Epstein-Barr virus may be leading cause of multiple sclerosis.” ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/01/220113151342.htm (accessed January 18, 2022).
Bjornevik, Kjetil. Cortese, Marianna. Healy, Brian C. Kuhle, Jens. Mina, Michael J. Leng, Yumei. Elledge, Stephen J. Niebuhr, David W. Scher, Ann I. Munger, Kassandra L. Ascherio, Alberto. Science. “Longitudinal analysis reveals high prevalence of Epstein-Barr virus associated with multiple sclerosis.” https://travel.crabberspost.com/u-s-military-evidence-that-epstein-barr-virus-causes-multiple-sclerosis/. 13 January 2022.