This is a very rough draft, and it has a lot of holes in it. I'm putting in links to Wikipedia to fill some of the holes temporarily. The draft also has a lot of redundancies. For example, I have two introductions here that I will have to merge into one.
For most of my life I believed that heart attacks were caused by eating too much and exercising too little. I was sure I was safe because I had watched my diet and exercised for forty years.
In the summer of 1998 I had a heart attack. After I got out of the hospital I began to study heart disease. One of the books I read was Paul Ewald's book Plague Time. Ewald argues that most diseases must be caused by things in the environment, and those things are usually germs. I easily found hundreds of scientific articles indicating that obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are caused by germs (there are thousands of such articles).
With help from Dr. Per Mårin, I wrote a book called The Potbelly Syndrome: How Common Germs Cause Obesity, Diabetes, and Heart Disease. It's described at: www.potbellysyndrome.com.
I still have most of the health problems I had in 1998, and I have acquired some new ones. That's why I'm calling this book The Falling Apart Syndrome. Everyone over fifty will know exactly what I'm talking about.
I had a heart attack in 1998, and it prompted me to take a fresh look at heart disease. Within a few days I learned that there were lots of researchers who were skeptical of the diet-exercise explanation for heart disease. Within a few more days I discovered hundreds of scientific studies linking heart disease to infections.
I started to write a book about infections and heart disease, and while working on it I found studies linking infections to hundreds of other chronic diseases. After several years of reading and scribbling, my manuscript had grown to a prodigious size and it was clear that I wasn't anywhere near the end of it. Eventually I realized that I was trying to write three books at one time; one on heart disease, one on aging, and one on mood and cognition. I pulled the heart-disease material out of the manuscript and focused on it.
With a lot of help from Dr. Per Mårin, the heart-disease book was published in 2005. It was called The Potbelly Syndrome: How Common Germs Cause Obesity, Diabetes, and Heart Disease.
At about the same time that The Potbelly Syndrome was published, I was hospitalized for five days with Campylobacteriosis, an intestinal infection caused by a bacterium called Campylobacter Jejuni. In modern, industrialized countries, Campylobacteriosis doesn't kill many people. It does, however, cause chronic illnesses that can last for years. In my case, I developed food allergies, chronic fatigue, depression, memory problems, heart arrhythmias, and constant pain that reached from my toes to my scalp.
The aftereffects of Campylobacteriosis have delayed the completion of this book by several years, and reshaped it quite a bit. While trying to find out what was wrong with me, I began to realize that most of the diseases that plague old people are really just symptoms of a single “umbrella” disease that some people are calling the falling apart syndrome. The falling apart syndrome is caused by infections and it begins in childhood.
I've begun to believe that many common diseases are caused by teams of germs. I'm calling them polymicrobial disease teams (PDTs). Is there any evidence to support this theory? There is, but presenting it in such a simple way that even doctors can understand it is going to be a challenge. I hope that within a few months I can show how PDTs cause several types of multiple sclerosis.
There are three appendices. The first is a list of disorders and the microbes that have been linked to them. The second is a list of microbes and the disorders that have been linked to them. The third is a list of disorders linked to other disorders.
Many chronic diseases are linked to several germs, and many germs have been linked to several diseases. By going back and forth between the three appendices, you can find networks of diseases and microbes that may explain your personal, particular version of the falling apart syndrome.