Support Pete Wirs at the Veterans World Class F&G Wrestling Championship Dec 1
Mitochondrial Disease ("Mito" for short) is a multi-symptom, multi-organ metabolic disease. Mitochondria is that part of every cell (but red blood cells) which produces energy. Mito is when the Mitochondria does not generate the necessary energy the body requires. Mito is divided into two types, DNA and Nuclear, each which there are scores of variants. In fact, a new variant was discovered in Pete Wirs. It is now called "Wirs Disease." The C10orf2 chromosome responsible for delivering protein to the Mitochondria is heterozygous (the two strands are internally fighting). Wirs has only 80% of the energy and oxygen a normal person possesses, thus resulting in Acute and Chronic Fatigue.
The only thing one can do about Mito is to take a "Mito Cocktail," a blend of nutritional supplements and vitamins. And exercise. Wirs exercises twice a day for total three hours, including jogging up to 5 miles a day. And despite his age, Wirs now wrestles, and runs Marathons and Triathlons. Getting Mito under control is evident in the before and after photo of Pete Wirs in 2010 and today. Then, Wirs weighed over 300 lbs. Today, he's at 170 lbs.
... the first terminally ill Paralympic to run and finish a marathon - the 2018 AACR Philadelphia Marathon - in a time of 6:45:35 at a 15:29 pace. Wirs placed 9,412 of 9,516 total competitors and 171 of 178 of runners over 61, who finished.
This time was set despite the fact that Wirs seriously Misfired at 5.5 miles and had to complete the race in chronic pain. A Misfire - common Mito symptom - is when the muscles fail to obey neurological commands. Wirs misfired four more times, the last after crossing the Finishing Line.
Pete Wirs was also the first athlete to be equipped with a state-of-art medical grade Pulse Oximeter which recorded not only Peripheral Oxygen Saturation (SpO2) and Pulse, but now the Perfusion index is an indication of the pulse strength at the sensor site. The PI's values range from 0.02% for very weak pulse to 20% for extremely strong pulse. The McKesson Brand Handheld Pulse Oximeter used by Wirs provided continuous data. While commonly used in hospitals and medical facilities, the November 18, 2018 Philadelphia Marathon was the first time an advanced Pulse Oximeter was used in a real-life sporting event.
The real-time oximetry provided totally unexpected and unexplained volatility between the SpO2, Pulse and PI. Suffering from Mito, Wirs would be expected to have troublesome SpO2 readings while in the first ATP energy level. Once Wirs advanced to the second Glycolytic, and finally the third Oxidative energy levels, the SpO2 leveled out. But the Pulse and the Perfusion Index remain erratic throughout the race. The PI rarely got out of the danger zone and made normal range only a couple of times in 6 hours, while the Pulse kept dipping in and out of normal Range. The Pulse never became consistent during the race. Even doing regular exercise, the Pulse sounds the alarm.
This volatility, however, has not been limited to the Marathon. Wirs constantly runs Oximetry testing through normal daily activities and his twice-daily exercise regimens. Wirs' Interdisciplinary Medical Team, lead by nationally renown geneticist Darius Adams, M.D. are at a loss explaining this volatility. This is particularly true regarding the Perfusion Index, given that normal cardio tests such as EKGs, failed to detect what is now Wirs' apparent heart weakness due to suffering from Mito.
These Oximetry results suggest (and remember, these are "early days") there is possibly much more energy interdependence between the heart, lungs and muscles (the Oxygen delivery and utilization system) than now known. Many physiological authorities, such as Dr. Martin Burtscher, have long suggested existence of a heart-lungs-muscle axis. But until Wirs' run, medical science has been unable to demonstrate from real-time empirical data, the need for focus on cardiorespiratory fitness.
This is important, as both the U.S. National Health Institute and its' UK equivalent demonstrate that people age differently due to cardiorespiratory exercise. Those that exercise regularly "age" much later than those who don't exercise. Cardiorespiratory is also believed to be critical for athletes' endurance and stamina, particularly in mankind's two instinctual sports - running and wrestling.
What these Oximetry volatility may be suggesting is that for when people exercise, the lungs borrow energy the heart needs. In healthy people, this may or may not be detectable. In people with metabolic diseases, like Wirs who suffers from Mitochondrial Disease, the lung's borrowing of energy from the heart is quite obvious, and potentially dangerous if not addressed.
If this hypothesis is proven correct, all older people in addition to people with metabolic diseases, will need to improve their exercising to accommodate this increased lung-heart energy transfer. Athletes of all ages will need to focus on precise cardiorespiratory exercise training to improve endurance and stamina during sports competition.