RNase enzyme deficiency disease (REDD).
RNase is an enzyme produced by the human body when it is attacked by viruses or bacteria. as the name implies, RNase denatures messenger RNA wherever it find its. as it comes in contact with the invading virus or bacteria, it destroys its RNA and thus kills the invader. this is a very quick-acting defense mechanism, unlike the slower production of T cells, B cells, etc., which can take days or even weeks, and thus is one of the body's first lines of defense.
in REDD, the mechanism that produces RNase is damaged by any number of causes, the most notable being environmental toxins.
one of the first things damaged by this defective RNase is the glutathione system, which is one of the body's major anti-oxidant systems. this leaves the body open to serious damage by its own free radical cascades. the areas most damaged are those that produce the most energy and free radicals, namely, the mitochrondria, or the small organelles in cells that produce all of the body's energy.
as the condition progresses, more and more mitochrondria are damaged and destroyed. in severe cases, the person is bedridden for the rest of their lives.
once the damage is done, the body begins producing a shortened but highly active form of RNase (37 kD instead of 80 kD). this 37 kD RNase has no turn-off mechanism, because the body only recognizes the 80 kD forms. therefore, the body keeps producing this 37kD RNase, which then proceeds to attack the RNA in literally every cell in the body.
it is thought to be either fully or partially responsible for a host of illnesses, including multiple sclerosis, myalgic encephalomyelitis, ALS, inflammatory rheumatoid arthritis, Gulf War Syndrome, fibromyalgia, to name a few.
another system quickly damaged is the body's Th1 immune system, which is responsible for intracellular protection (i.e., protection against pathogens that attack inside the cell, like viruses and primitive bacteria such as mycoplasma). an opportunistic bug is defined as one that is already present pretty much everywhere (and is already crawling all over you), but only attacks when a portion of the immune system fails. in the case of REDD, the opportunistic viruses are hhv6, epstein barr, and CMV; and on the bacterial side, mycoplasma. over 70% of REDD patients have active hhv6, and over 60% have active mycoplasma infections. for the population at large, it is less than 3% for both of those.
those are the symptoms common to all forms of REDD. additional symptoms vary depending upon which other systems are hit hardest by the body's own free radical cascades. if brain tissue, the result is myalgic encephalomyelitis, functionally indistinguishable from MS (and MS patients also have >60% active hhv6 and mycoplasma). crippling forms of chronic fatigue, rheumatoid arthritis, Gulf War syndrome, and ALS have been linked to this cluster. although the condition is often still called cfids (chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome), it applies only to severely debilitating cases. yuppie depression it ain't.
the first phase of the illness lasts about 5 yrs, and comes to an end, ironically, when the body's capacity to synthesize protein is so badly damaged that it can no longer make any RNase, either. the person then enters a second phase, which lasts about ten years, where things are relatively quiet in terms of the illness itself, it's just that their physical activity is severely compromised and they live in what has been called a "functional bubble," often having only a few hours a day of walking-around time. fortunately, i had cultivated a lifestyle that never required a body (:-), so i had a pretty good middle ten years (roughly, all of the 1990s).
the third phase begins when the cumulative damage to various tissue systems starts to take a toll. basically, it just opens the body up to new attacks by the 37 kD RNase. every time you get an infection, cold, flu, or fever, your body produces interferon, which tells cells to start producing RNase—which in this case is, of course, defective. so more mitochrondrial damage, etc.
the basic symptom is "hypoxia," or lack of oxygen in the cells (due to damaged mitochrondria), so you feel like you are suffocating most of the time, and you're often bedridden around the clock (literally). also fortunately for me, this means mega meditation. it also means depression, sadness, and pain, not so much for the pain in this body, but the pain of what this body can't do.
weirdly, of course, my spirit-mind just keeps writing books, and during this last really severe period (the last half year), i managed about 800 really good pages. often written in bed, but no matter.