There is definitely a major difference in opinions between academia and the practicing clinician.
Regarding academia and their quest for knowledge, it has become apparent, based upon academic peer reviewed research publications, whether chronic, catastrophic diseases like SARDS can be called autoimmune or not. Some of these credible publications state that SARDS is an autoimmune disease. Other credible research publications say it may not be autoimmune.
The definition of autoimmune seems to come from a defect in humoral, or cellular immunity. However, autoimmunity is thought to destroy self-tissue of the patient, but as it has been pointed out with the SARDS patients, there seems to be no identifiable, microscopic, pathological changes in the retina, but apparently there are functional changes.
For the sake of academia, possibly the SARDS syndrome should be stated as the following:
SARDS initially develops from a cortisol/estrogen/thyroid imbalance, which causes a loss of control of the immune system, which in turn, causes a functional destruction of self-tissue, which in this particular instance is retinal tissue.
According to some researchers, this functional destruction of the retinal tissue is only temporary. My learnings and clinical findings for SARDS and other chronic, catastrophic diseases all come from my patients and not from academia.
As a veterinary clinician, my only concern is how to identify and correct this endocrine immune defect I have discovered and how to return function to these target self-tissues. My understanding concerning any of these diseases like SARDS, will be based upon my clinical success and not the academic publications, even though I certainly read and respect them. Herein lies the difference between being clinical and academic.
There is a definite need for both and hopefully a respect for both and for each other. There will always be a struggle between clinical results and academic findings but my hope is that coalescing both will only add to the betterment of the patient.
Hopefully you can respect my clinical findings and at the same time, please realize, what I have found has come from my patients and not from the literature. I will always strive to learn and listen everyday.
Hopefully my thoughts make sense.