so what really IS an auto-immune disease?

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so what really IS an auto-immune disease?

Postby codefellow » Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:36 pm

One of the arguments against the auto-immune theory of MS is that it has never been proven, after 50 years and billions of dollars in research, what we have is:

1) Take this drug. It might help.
2) If it works, we don't know why.
3) If it doesn't work, we don't know why.
4) If it works, but only a little, we don't know why.
5) Its gonna make you feel terrible.
6) It might actually make your symptoms worse.
7) In fact it might actually kill you.
8) But you should take it because you have MS.

But I digress....are there ANY diseases which we KNOW are auto-immune diseases? That have been PROVEN to be auto-immune diseases? If so, just because I am a curious fellow, I would like to know what makes those diseases different from MS?

Thanks for any brave soul who knows enough medicine to answer my question. (Of course, your answer will in no way be considered to be medical advice.)
:D
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Postby jean-la-grenouille » Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:49 pm

Well, an auto-immune disease is something very very difficult to explain. And far too difficult for us, poor patients, to understand.

An auto-immune disease is A KIND OF MAGIC.
It's just a faith in something that doesn't exist.

We, people, have to believe in this mystic and unreal myth.

I try my best , but i'm not clever enough to trust in this strange fairy tale.


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Postby NotFound » Sun Dec 19, 2010 5:39 pm

Agreeing with Jean.

I don't think there are "true auto-immune diseases". I think there is not enough understanding.

We, the humans (especially in some medical profession circles :lol: ), decided that we are smarter than millions of years of evolution and if there is something our body doing we don't understand, we just say that body is "confused" :roll:
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Re: so what really IS an auto-immune disease?

Postby scorpion » Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:13 pm

codefellow wrote:One of the arguments against the auto-immune theory of MS is that it has never been proven, after 50 years and billions of dollars in research, what we have is:

1) Take this drug. It might help.
2) If it works, we don't know why.
3) If it doesn't work, we don't know why.
4) If it works, but only a little, we don't know why.
5) Its gonna make you feel terrible.
6) It might actually make your symptoms worse.
7) In fact it might actually kill you.
8) But you should take it because you have MS.

But I digress....are there ANY diseases which we KNOW are auto-immune diseases? That have been PROVEN to be auto-immune diseases? If so, just because I am a curious fellow, I would like to know what makes those diseases different from MS?

Thanks for any brave soul who knows enough medicine to answer my question. (Of course, your answer will in no way be considered to be medical advice.)
:D


You could make the same argument about cancer treatment I guess. No one is happy that medications do not improve function or completely stop progression but at this point they are all we got until something better comes along. When you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake. I am not sure why you think autoimmune diseases do not exist? In fact MS has a a lot in common with many other autoimmune diseases such as the relapsing nature of it as well as the gender distribution. I know it is frustrating that more progress has not been made against many of the autoimmune disorders but it is what it is.
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Re: so what really IS an auto-immune disease?

Postby NotFound » Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:24 pm

scorpion wrote: When you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake.


Immune system does what it supposed to do - goes where inflammation is.

I truly believe that in MS, just like in other "auto-immune" diseases immune system response comes AFTER something came and caused this inflammation.

What that "something" is, is to be determined. Is it iron deposits? Is it lack of oxygen? Is it Lyme bacteria?
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Postby Lyon » Sun Dec 19, 2010 9:00 pm

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Postby NotFound » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:06 pm

Well said Lyon.
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Re: so what really IS an auto-immune disease?

Postby codefellow » Mon Dec 20, 2010 3:26 am

scorpion wrote:You could make the same argument about cancer treatment I guess.


What argument? I just asked a question.

scorpion wrote:I am not sure why you think autoimmune diseases do not exist?


Never said that either. The only autoimmune disease I know anything about is MS. But it sounds like, from what Lyon posted, what actually has never been proven is the autoimmune theory of ANY disease (because the cause/effect is in question), not specifically whether or not MS is an autoimmune disease. The latter is only because it follows the same pattern in prevalence and distribution as the other autoimmune diseases.

Does that sound right?

BTW, I found the answer to my original question here:

http://diseases.emedtv.com/autoimmune-d ... eases.html

My thanks to everyone who responded.
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Re: so what really IS an auto-immune disease?

Postby frodo » Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:15 am

There are real autoimmune diseases. Experimental Autoimmune Encephalitis (the current MS "model" in rodents) is such a thing. There are other clear autoimmune diseases like neuromyelitis optica, or Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis.

Of course this does not mean that MS is such a thing.
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Postby Lyon » Mon Dec 20, 2010 8:04 am

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Postby frodo » Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:10 pm

Lyon wrote:Not that I'm a valid source but the point I was trying to make is that far simpler than we're trying to make it. The term auto-immunity was only intended to generally describe ailments the medical community had been seeing, for communication purposes.

It only means attacking self and no distinction was/is made whether or not the immune system was the original instigator or whether or not the immune system is/was acting appropriately in attacking self.

In that light the 87 or so diseases which are called auto-immune diseases are auto-immune diseases and after that everything else is, of course, up for argument.


I agree with you for sure. MS is at most "secondary autoimmune".

Maybe more important is this whole misunderstanding is how MS is defined. Sometimes MS is defined just by its clinical course (in fact is quite normal to hear that McDonald criteria are the Clinical Definition of MS) and dealing with "clinical definitions" we are calling MS to any condition that behaves more or less in the same way.

Of course most pathologist disagree with such a "clinical definition", but as always, neurologist are the only ones with a voice here.
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Postby suze » Mon Dec 20, 2010 6:53 pm

If an illness was autoimmune, then suppressing the immune system would surely improve it. In the case of ppms, that definitely doesn't work. I think many would argue that it doesn't work particularly well in rrms either.
All we can really say is that ms could be autoimmune, I think that there isn't actually any conclusive evidence that it is.
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Postby jean-la-grenouille » Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:26 pm

Just a thought about the concept "autoimmune".


In France, doctors had ignored for long the life of microbes, those very small living thing, which you can only see if you use a microscope.
Pasteur was the first to describe the life of microbes, when the prevalent scientific dogma was the "spontaneous generation" ("génération spontanée" en français).

I don't know any proof of auto-immunity.
So-called auto-immune diseases exist, but this is just a concept. There is no proof that the immune system attacks itself "spontaneously".

We know that T-cells are over reactive in MS : is it a "spontaneous generation" of agressive T-cells ? Or is this activation due to other factors that we don't fully understand, iron deposition for example, or a deficient draining flow that fails in cleaning viruses properly.

EAE is artificially created to mimic MS, this is not found in humans.
Other diseases, like diabete or Crohn disease, are called "auto-immune". Does anyone have a proof of the root of the auto-immunity in this diseases ? I don't think so.

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