The Biology of Lyme Disease – a continuing saga of suffering, controversy and outright denial of facts…
by Dave Cottrell
The biology of Lyme disease continues to elicit controversy in the medical community, including denial of facts from those who are most able to help, and awful suffering from those who are sick, living with an un-diagnosed and therefore untreated disease.
As recently as two years ago, I was told by not one, but two infectious disease specialists that my disease was not Lyme disease, because I tested negative with the Elisa test, that the Elisa test was the gold standard for Lyme disease diagnosis, that you could get any positive test you wanted from an ACCREDITED US lab (referring to a Western Blot from Igenex in California), and that clinical trials have proved that antibiotic therapy is ineffective against chronic Lyme disease.
None of these things are true.
The blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis), the primary vector for Lyme disease in the central and eastern United States. (And elsewhere, too. Uploader) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
These doctors refused to consider the very number of my symptoms. That, alone, according to the Centre for Disease Control in my own jurisdiction, is enough for a positive diagnosis of Lyme disease. No other disease, except syphilis, which is very easy to test for, has such a high number of symptoms.
They could not or would not explain why my throat was sore for five years, and still had visible pustules.
They could not explain why I was getting sicker, and ignored that fact.
They could not explain why I continued to test positive for Bartonella, even after a short run of antibiotics, and when I tested negative for the third time for HIV, concluded that I had a natural genetic weakness in my immune system. That declaration was completely in opposition to the fact that at 47 years of age, having worked since 17 years of age, I had rarely missed a day of work, and often worked for years in a row, never missing a day of work, in a very physically and mentally demanding field.
They could not explain why my health improved while on antibiotics and declined when I went off antibiotics, claiming it was a placebo effect. (I am one of the few that cannot be hypnotized. I am NOT open to suggestion.)
They could not explain why my cortisol levels were elevated. Cortisol is the “fight-or-flight” hormone that is produced at times of stress, either by the situation (fear, for example) or by other stressors on the body, such as alcohol (I do not drink) or illness.
They diagnosed me with CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), which in itself is a misnomer. (See my article on ME – Myalgic Encephalomyelitis ). In fact, one of the recommendations of the massive study done on ME is that the patient be tested for previous exposure to Borrelia! They simply do not understand the biology of Lyme disease. Their own Colleges have told them that it is simple to treat and has no long lasting effects.
They denied that any clinical study has been done that supports long term antibiotic therapy for chronic Lyme disease, and even cite a study done a few years ago that was DESIGNED TO FAIL, yet I have on my desk a copy of a study done at Columbia University and reported in final form on June 26, 2007, more than six years ago! (A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of repeated IV antibiotic therapy for Lyme encephalopathy, by B. A. Fallon, MD et al ).
This study concluded that “IV ceftriaxone therapy results in short-term cognitive improvement for patients with posttreatment Lyme encephalopathy, but relapse in cognition occures after the antibiotic is discontinued. Treatment strategies that result in sustained cognitive improvement are needed.” Neurology 2008;70:992-1003
To put this in its simplest terms, their study proved that patients who were proven to have had Lyme disease, who had already had the standard treatment, but who continued to exhibit the cognitive problems with Lyme disease (brain fog), improved with another short run of antibiotics, then relapsed again when the treatment was discontinued.
The bottom line is, every bit of real science that has been done related to Lyme disease for at least the last ten years shows that unless it is diagnosed and treated in the early, acute stages, Lyme disease is very hard to treat with the present available medical knowledge, and takes a long time to resolve, if it is ever resolved. It is not known at this point in time if it is possible to cure everyone who truly has chronic Lyme disease.
One man who has studied Lyme disease (burreliosis) extensively is Dr. Alan MacDonald. He is a pathologist and recognized expert in Lyme disease. He studied Alzheimer’s for many years, and is one of several top research doctors who have made a positive connection between Alzheimer’s and Lyme disease. For example, he successfully grew burrelia cultures from the tissue four out of four brains taken from patients who died of diagnosed Alzheimer’s.
Dr. MacDonald has very graciously produced a number of videos in which he describes in detail many of the problems with Lyme disease recognition, diagnosis, denial and treatment. I am including part one, here. These are very good videos. Dr. MacDonald has done a remarkable job of explaining everything in a clear, concise, and very understandable way.