Olli Polo, MD, PhD, is a Finnish pulmonologist, sleep specialist, docent of physiology and CFS/ME expert working in Tampere, Finland. He was formerly a professor of pulmonology at Tampere university, but lost the professorship in 2014 as a result of official complaints made against him by insurance doctors. He had his own clinic Unesta, where he mostly treated and studied CFS/ME, RLS and sleep apnea. He has also treated Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and mold illness.
Polo has been treating and studying CFS/ME since 2007, but he lost his license to practice medicine on the private sector in 2017. This decision remains in effect even though just days later a Finnish court decided that the 2014 complaints, on which the legal action was based, were unwarranted in the light of scientific evidence. Polo is still allowed to practice pulmonary medicine at the Tampere university hospital.
Olli Polo is yet to publish a single paper on CFS/ME, though he has published over 100 papers in prominent journals about sleep disorders, particularly RLS, sleep apnea and the effect of menopause on sleep. He has been a speaker at the 2016 Invest in ME International ME Conference in London and many smaller CFS/ME conferences and events.
Polo's ideas of the causal mechanisms of CFS/ME are focused on the sympathetic nervous system, circadian rhythm and tissue hypoxia. He believes Ehlers-Danlos syndrome or a similar type of collagen abnormality underlies virtually every case of CFS/ME. He has documented this in hundreds of patients and the evidence has been the subject of many of his conference speeches.
Polo has developed several experimental medical therapies, as well as utilizing more common treatments like LDN, supplemental oxygen, saline, vitamin B12, rotigotine and pramipexole. He believes e.g. most psychiatric drugs, sleeping pills and Lyrica are harmful in CFS/ME.
Polo has been a vocal advocate for CFS/ME, MCS and mold illness in the Finnish media and has been interviewed in TV, radio, online documentaries and many newspaper and magazine articles. This has not always been positively received by his colleagues.
For years Polo applied for permission to run clinical trials on LDN and his experimental treatments, but his applications was always turned down. The Finnish regulatory agencies are of the opinion that CFS/ME is such a mild illness that virtually any potential side effect, no matter how minor, would be unacceptable.
In 2017 Polo finally got the permission to run an LDN study. It had just completed enrollment, when he was barred from continuing it due to losing his right to private medical practice. He has, however, compiled a retrospective paper on using LDN in hundreds of his CFS/ME patients, which is currently under review.
Talks & interviews[edit | edit source]
- 2016, speaker at the 11th Invest in ME International ME Conference on "Clinical Diagnosis of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis" DVD available
- 2017, speaker at the Care4ME conference in Brussels on sleep and dysautonomia in ME. YouTube video