Biological Warfare: Fighting Infection and MS

Biological Warfare: Fighting Infection and MS

September can be a restorative, healing month during which daytime temperatures cool down enough to allow us to take outdoor walks again, something we avoided during the hot, humid summer months. Summer zapped our energy and endurance, hobbled our legs, and flooded our brains and limbs with marrow-deep weariness so extreme that making our morning coffee was the only activity we could manage before napping in front of the television for the rest of the day.

Every year I’ve eagerly anticipated fall and another chance to enjoy the outdoors again, pick up the hand weights, and begin afresh on the road to fitness and optimism, as the latter usually follows the former. Except for this year. It is already past the middle of September and I can’t seem to pry myself out of the Lay-Z-Boy or keep up with housework and laundry or keep myself as clean as I should, all because I’ve been fighting two recurring infections for several months now.

You wouldn’t think a sinus infection could so affect your legs and feet, seeing as they’re on opposite ends of your body. Or that a bladder infection might make your hands shake whenever you lift an object with any heft to it. Or, for that matter, that having one infection could cause you to develop another. Yet that is exactly what my primary care doctor told me had happened. She said any infection in the bloodstream can “seed” itself in another organ in any location.

At first, my brain hurt trying to see a correlation between bladder infection and hand tremors as described above. But by reviewing how the immune system works, we can more easily follow the thread from infected organ to trembling hand.

Multiple sclerosis develops as a result of an overactive immune system attacking the white and gray matter of the brain, optic nerve, and spine. The assault is continuous; our T-cells are lobbing grenades at myelin 24/7, even though we feel okay. We aren’t in constant flares because some immune cells move in like Army medics to administer first aid on the battle field, thereby healing the inflammation before the damage can corrupt nerve signals and cause symptoms of a flare. But things can get complicated after that.

According to a February 25, 2015 article by Lauren Aguirre and published in NOVA NEXT, T- and B-cells, microphages and microglia can each do double duty as either the good guy or the bad guy in any inflammatory episode. Whatever roles they might play, they’re all putting in time-and-half when we have MS plus an infection or two. Treatments for these use anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (NSAID), corticosteroids, and antibiotics to great effect. That is, if we use them for acute episodes. If we use these for chronic conditions, they might not perform the same way. A helper immune cell can go all Hare Krishna with finger cymbals and saffron robes to heal your urinary tract infection–then become a psycho stalker when a B-cell antigen receptor sounds the charge to attack your cervical spine. As in any war, the front is wherever the fighting is heaviest. Immune cells, like soldiers, are highly adaptable and effective in the short skirmishes, but if they seize a small region and bivouac there for a while, they could become drunken revelers, rapists or plunderers. In other words, your UTI symptoms went away all right—but your hands are now weak and shaky. Why can’t the brain call a cease fire on all fronts and order the cells to retreat to the nearest lymph node? Even the most bloodthirsty B-cell must like to kick back, drink a beer, and watch the game once in a while.

I’m still confused about the chain of command in the brain’s immune system, so I’m not sure who I should pester about this. Should I just go straight to the top brass? You know how much red tape there can be in these biological bureaucracies. I’ll let you know if I make any progress.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MultipleSclerosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.
View References
  1. Aguirre L. An Inflammatory Theory of Brain Disease. NOVA NEXT. Published February 25, 2015.

Comments

View Comments (9)
  • KixPeace
    2 months ago

    I’m so glad I came across this thank you so much for sharing this I have a lot of comments about it I’m currently having a very bad sinus infection and trying to explain too people that it’s not like a regular sinus infection for normal people like yes my Ms is being reclassified as benign I get my next MRIs in April fortunate but you can’t control everything and this sinus infection is like making things no bueno I apologize for no punctuation I will be back when my head’s not so fluffy and I can process and retain information

    oh and one more thing, I’m cold intolerant and most of my issues come from change in barometric pressure I’ve learned how to control my spasms and stuff but I live in New Orleans in this cold front coming through on top of the sinus infection aggravating some symptoms so miserable

    Kix Peace ♡♡♡

  • ShelbyComito moderator
    2 months ago

    I’m so sorry to hear you’re battling a sinus infection on top of colder weather @kixpeace! I’m glad you found Kim’s article valuable and relatable. There are a number of our members who have a very hard time with the cold, too. Kim also struggles with cold weather and shares some tips for how she manages it here — https://multiplesclerosis.net/living-with-ms/how-i-manage-cold-weather-symptoms/ I hope it you find it helpful. Wishing you relief and better days soon, Shelby, MultipleSclerosis.net Team Member

  • ElseN
    3 months ago

    Fantastic article. Love your writing. Just goes to show how many smart, talented people are left to languish in LazyBoys due to the current state of “modern” medicine. Well, to put my comment in a nutshell, you are definitely on the right track when discussing MS and Infection! Checkout Pam Bartha and her story and FB and youtube channel ‘Live Disease Free”. She has uncovered proof that 30 years ago, a handful of medical doctors published reports stating their research showed MS is caused by INFECTION. Beyond that, the scientific community has known for nearly 100 years that domestic animals exhibit the same symptoms as MS sufferers when infected by various worms, parasites, fungi and bacteria, etc. We are dealing with unchecked, growing infections and that is why our symptoms worsen over time. We shouldn’t be taking drugs that “help manage” the disease, we should be embarking on lifestyles and modalities that will help rid our bodies of these infections! Doesn’t that make more sense? Look her up. Listen to her videos (there are many and some are admittedly long), imho, this lady knows what she is talking about. PAM BARTHA. Best wishes to all. Let’s all get symptom FREE!!

  • ElseN
    3 months ago

    Fantastic article. Love your writing. Just goes to show how many smart, talented people are left to languish in LazyBoys due to the current state of “modern” medicine. Well, to put my comment in a nutshell, you are definitely on the right track when discussing MS and Infection! Checkout Pam Bartha and her story and FB and youtube channel ‘Live Disease Free”. She has uncovered proof that a handful of medical doctors published reports stating their research showed MS is caused by INFECTION. Beyond that, the scientific community has known for nearly 100 years that domestic animals exhibit the same symptoms as MS sufferers when infected by various worms, parasites, fungi and bacteria, etc. We are dealing with unchecked, growing infections and that is why our symptoms worsen over time. We shouldn’t be taking drugs that “help manage” the disease, we should be embarking on lifestyles and modalities that will help rid our bodies of these infections! Doesn’t that make more sense? Look her up. Listen to her videos (there are many and some are admittedly long), imho, this lady knows what she is talking about. PAM BARTHA. Best wishes to all. Let’s all get symptom FREE!!

  • kicknMSback
    3 years ago

    Kim, don’t know if you have seen the article or not, but they have found that the lympathic system extends up into the brain pain, so that systems being the filter that sends the infection on its way out in the normal body may be speading it around in an MS body. Of course, being that it is a very difficult system to see all this time, is now spurning on research to figure just what the connection means for all the systems in the body and what it means for those that have immune system illnesses. Hope that helps when infection strikes next. Good luck.

  • Laura Kolaczkowski
    3 years ago

    The soldiers on the front line is a great image but I often think instead of them as the AWOL troops who have abandoned their stations and are in town having a drink with the locals rather than taking care of me.

    Sorry the double whammy hit you – I understand the UTI and shakes thing except mine was a bouncing knee. I couldn’t hold it still at times …. turned out to be sepsis. I hope November is going to treat you kinder.

  • Kim Dolce moderator author
    3 years ago

    Those darn renegades always spoiling it for the rest of us 🙂

    I’m feeling better already, thanks.

  • Lisa
    3 years ago

    I really enjoy your posts. Thank You.
    I hope you have had the ‘issue’ taken care of and are feeling well.

  • Kim Dolce moderator author
    3 years ago

    Thanks Lisa, I’m much better now. Hope you’re well.

    Kim

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