David Sanborn and Post-Polio Syndrome

April 3, 2007

In an interview in the March edition of US jazz monthly Downbeat, famed jazz saxophonist David Sanborn (61) revealed that he has been increasingly suffering from Post-Polio Syndrome. He was diagnosed with Polio aged three, in St Louis, and spent a year in an iron lung followed by 2 years in bed. During this convalescence, he listened to music on the radio, and was subsequently recommended to take up a wind instrument to help his recovery by increasing his stamina.

He said, "Now I'm dealing with the ramifications of post-polio syndrome. It's coming back. We're trying to figure out end-runs around the physical difficulties. I do therapy and a gym regimen that helps me maintain, but I'm comfortable in my own skin.

Post-polio syndrome is often only recognised where the patient has had a diagnosis of polio as a child. There are cases where someone has been diagnosed with polio but did not suffer it severely, and when symptoms have appeared in later life, consultants have claimed that it could not possibly be post-polio syndrome.

One hypothesis for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & ME is that people have had a mild infection with polio earlier in life, which has not been recognised, but the same weakness in the immune reaction to the virus that results in clear cases of post-polio syndrome occurs in these patients. A central problem is that anyone vaccinated against polio could show viral titers, and that the immune processes that could be involved with a recurrence of the viral activity could have been triggered by such reactivation of a whole range of viruses.

Ref: Downbeat, March 2007, Vol.74, No.3, pp30-35; (c) 2007 Maher Publications
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