Yuppie flu is one of a number of names given to the condition of general malaise and fatigue accompanied by various troublesome infections which results when the body for one reason or another becomes chronically run down. The condition is known also as chronic fatigue syndrome and myalgic encephalomyelitis. The malaise of chronic fatigue was described in a book published in the 1920s called Chronic Fatigue Intoxication by Edward H. Ochsner, BS MD FACS, Professor of Clinical Surgery, University of Illinois, in which he described the connection between toxemia and the state of disease:

"Long-continued, excessive use of narcotics and alcoholic stimulants favor its development.

"That mental over-work and emotional over-stimulation are often contributory causes is quite evident.

"The foundation for this affection is very frequently laid during the period of adolescence, the years when ambition is apt to run riot and when the wish and the will to do and dare far exceed the physical strength to execute.

"One of the most common combinations of causes is the combination of over-working and overeating, when excessively fatigued, or severe exertion on a full stomach. These combinations so alter the end results of digestion that the pabulum which is absorbed acts as a mild poison instead of a true food.

"Ordinarily the body rapidly recuperates from moderately excessive fatigue but if this excessive exertion is persisted in day after day for a considerable period of time and particularly if the work is done at an abnormally high rate of speed, the point ultimately comes when the system becomes so supersaturated with fatigue material that it is no longer able to rid itself of this excessive accumulation."

Professor Ochsner went on to describe the types of people who most frequently suffer chronic fatigue and they are of course the very same types who have it today.

For many years the illness of chronic fatigue was thought by doctors to be in the minds of people who felt wretched without being able to display an obvious symptom, but since our more affluent and permissive lifestyle has led to the condition occurring more commonly and in more serious forms in which multiple infections are displayed, the illness has now been recognized as real.

A comparison of young peoples' lifestyles of fifty years ago and today clearly reveals the causes of "yuppie flu" and why today it is not just flu, not just fatigue, but a syndrome of associated problems. Fifty years ago most people, even if they had wanted to, could not afford to drink hard liquor, smoke tailormade cigarettes or dine in restaurants. Not many people drank much at all; no one except society people did these things or had wine with meals. Children took cut lunches to school and when thirsty they drank water. Nice girls--and that was just about all girls--never smoked, touched liquor or did anything more daring. Even Saturday night was not too late a night because hardly any young folk owned a car and the dances ended at 11:30 so people could catch the last train or bus home. No one had much money, so chronic fatigue was pretty well outside of peoples' financial resources. In fact, no one knew there was such a thing as chronic fatigue, let alone herpes, myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), candida and things like that. Marijuana was thought to be the name of a Mexican dancing girl.

ME, yuppie flu, chronic fatigue syndrome or whatever else you want to call it is nothing more than a badly rundown state of the body which results in a depleted state of immunocompetence, and as this state is an acquired one, it becomes apparent that what is known as the chronic fatigue syndrome is different from AIDS only in matter of degree.

Apart from the factors of a "fast-living" lifestyle that lead to chronic fatigue syndrome, there are two additional factors that are probably more destructive to the body than all the others. They are: antibiotics and "recreational" drugs, the most common of the latter being marijuana. Whereas these drugs have been until recently regarded as fairly harmless, it is now known they are terribly destructive to the immune system. In regard to marijuana, a recent report reveals it to be, in the words of a scientist of pharmacology, a devastating drug that attacks and impairs the brain. Dr Gabriel Nahas, consultant to the UN Commission on Narcotics and Professor of Anaesthesiology at Columbia University, New York, said that marijuana was a sinister drug and much more devastating than doctors had thought, in view not only of its acute impairing properties but of its long-term toxic effects on lung and immune defences, brain and reproductive functions. Dr Nahas said studies had shown hashish smokers had six times the average incidence of schizophrenia, which was irreversible, and that children of mothers who smoked "pot" faced ten times the danger of developing leukemia. Put that in your pipe, man (but don't smoke it).

The syndrome of infections and other symptoms associated with chronic fatigue, most of which stem from within the body, include various forms of herpes, candida, glandular fever, hepatitis and chlamydia, which are often accompanied by swollen lymph glands, fevers, sweats, sore throats and other vague and not identified symptoms such as headaches and various aches and pains, all of which simply add up to the fact the body is sick right through. Thoroughly confused as to whether his patient has chronic fatigue syndrome, ME, glandular fever (infectious mononucleosis), or yuppie flu, which amount to the same thing anyway, the doctor mutters something about a virus, dispenses some more antibiotics out of pure habit, and hopes the patient won't get any worse. But antibiotics, besides being useless against viruses, are an immune suppressant and toxic in the body, so you can bet they will, in the long run, do more harm than good. They merely add another risk to an already risky lifestyle, if indeed they are not already implicated.

Glandular fever, sometimes called student's disease or kissing disease, is said to be transmissible to susceptible subjects by the Epstein-Barr virus. As well as being included in the range of complaints now known simply as ME it is also part of the AIDS-related complex (ARC) and of AIDS itself. It is characterized by the usual signs that accompany immunodeficiency such as fatigue, sore throat, headache, depression, enlarged lymph nodes, and abnormal lymphocytes in the blood.

However, a two-year study of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome at the University of Washington School of Medicine, reported in July 1990, concluded that no evidence could be found to support the hypothesis that chronic fatigue syndrome was caused by the Epstein-Barr virus or any other virus. What the researchers did find was that the "victims" . . . "had a strikingly higher rate of lifetime and current major depression" than people without the syndrome. Once again it is important to realize that although depression may be a factor in causing the syndrome, it is just as likely that depression is, like the fatigue itself, just another of the symptoms. Thus, while it is logical to suspect an apparently common denominator to be the cause of a certain disease (such as the Epstein-Barr and other viruses associated with hepatitis, cancer, AIDS and so on), a more in-depth assessment reveals such viruses to be only effects and not causes, the real cause of disease being the disrupted homeostasis within the body.

As mentioned earlier, the common cold never occurs to people with proper homeostasis, even when concentrated virus solutions are squirted directly into their nostrils. With declining community health standards fewer and fewer people are capable of displaying such resistance to infections, a fact borne out by the increasing incidence to all kinds of infections, including rarer varieties such as malaria, Ross River fever, Lyme disease* and Legionnaire's disease.

*Lyme disease was named after the town of Lyme in Connecticut where the symptoms were first associated with tick bites. The belief is now widespread that a special spirochete germ from a special sort of tick is the cause of the disease, but this has never been proven. Other kinds of ticks are now said to be carriers of the germ and in Australia the bite of the common bush tick has eventuated in symptoms accepted to be Lyme disease. However, confusion exists in medical circles because not only do the ticks vary from place to place but so do the spirochetes. In Australia the spirochete allegedly carried by the bush tick has evaded detection altogether.

Because many common bad lifestyle habits are accepted as normal and apparently harmless, and because their damaging effects are insidious and not clearly related to the lowered vitality they gradually cause, when the symptoms begin--fatigue, swollen glands, sore throat, headaches, etc--the lifestyle factors escape scrutiny and it is assumed some sort of germ or virus is responsible. The suspects, usually viruses but sometimes germs, are of course to be found, and association is often sufficient in the eyes of medical researchers to establish their guilt. So it is with another "up and coming" "disease" displaying headaches, sore throat, fevers, sweats, aches and pains, swollen lymph glands, chronic fatigue, etc, called Lyme disease, held to be caused by a spirochete (germ) picked up from a tick bite. However, millions of people get bitten by ticks without getting Lyme disease, just as it is possible to pick up the spirochete associated with syphilis without getting syphilis. Thus, while poison from a tick bite, with or without spirochetes, will obviously tend to impair the recipient's homeostasis, the ticks' participation should be looked upon as merely an additional factor in an already deteriorated situation.

In view of the confusion that has always existed about the association of germs and viruses with various disease conditions, including Lyme disease, one would wonder why medical research is still so firmly dedicated to the germ theory. It is interesting, however, that the blame for Lyme disease has been given (by association) to a germ (spirochete), and it is interesting too that Professor Luc Montagnier, the discoverer of HIV, now that he no longer believes HIV to be the cause of AIDS (see Chapter 9: The Myth of the AIDS Virus), believes a germ is involved. Will his germ, when he discovers it (which no doubt he will), resemble the spirochete of Lyme disease? Or perhaps one of the many germs that were blamed for beriberi?