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Critical Illness, Mechanisms of Recovery, Similarities to ME/CFS

We propose an initial explanation for how ME/CFS could originate and perpetuate by drawing on findings from critical illness and heat stroke research.

  • Jonas Bergquist, MD, PhD

We did indeed find similarities in the maladaptive mechanisms and interlinkages underlying both critical illness recovery & heat stroke and ME/CFS and have outlined those mechanisms, the “vicious cycle” model, and potential treatments in the publications below.

Recent Publications

  • Mechanisms that prevent recovery in Prolonged ICU Patients also underlie ME/CFS
  • Treatments for Prolonged ICU Patients May Provide New Therapeutic Avenues for ME/CFS
  • Overlapping Mechanisms in Heat Stroke and ME/CFS
  • Drawing on Findings from Critical Illness to Explain ME/CFS


  • Specifically, we combine emerging findings regarding (a) hypoperfusion and endotheliopathy, and (b) intestinal injury in these illnesses with our previously published hypothesis about the role of (c) pituitary suppression, and (d) low thyroid hormone function associated with redox imbalance in ME/CFS.
  • We also describe interlinkages between these pathophysiological mechanisms as well as “vicious cycles” involving cytokines and inflammation that may contribute to explain the chronic nature of these illnesses.


  • To understand maladaptive mechanisms that prevent recovery in prolonged ICU and heat stroke patients compared to ME/CFS and explaining observed similarities and overlaps
  • To understand mechanisms and potential therapies that are common across critical illnesses and ME/CFS
  • To create a unifying framework to understand progressions to chronic disease states vs. healthy recovery
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME / CFS) Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS), Fibromyalgia Leading Research. Delivering Hope.Open Medicine Foundation®

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