Lyme disease linked to birds, study finds

•March 1, 2015 • 2 Comments

Excerpted from the DelhiDailyN ews: (03/01/2015)

A new study has found that Lyme disease is linked to birds. It is notable that Lyme disease is the leading tick-borne infection in America.

According to Robert Lane, a medical entomologist and UC Berkeley Professor of the Graduate School is a leading expert on ticks and Lyme disease: “Another species of Lyme disease spirochete closely related to, but distinct from, Borrelia burgdorferi was detected in birds for the first time anywhere in the world.”

Lane said the findings of the study left him completely surprised. The new species of Lyme disease dubbed as Borrelia bissettii has the same symptoms like the old Lyme disease. According to Lane, it is the most common form of the Borrelia species recently found in birds.

“The fact that we found this particular bacterium for the first time in birds in California is notable because of the ease with which birds can distribute spirochetes to different regions. It is worth watching to see if this spirochete expands in this state,” Lane added.

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Could Claritin Cure Lyme Disease?

•March 1, 2015 • 1 Comment

Excerpted from the PharmacyTimes : (02/28/2015)

An OTC allergy medication may be able to kill the bacteria behind Lyme disease, bringing researchers closer to developing the first targeted therapy for the debilitating infection.

Since Lyme-causing Borrelia burgdorferi survive on manganese (Mn), researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine hypothesized that blocking the bacteria’s Mn transport protein, Borrelia metal transporter A (BmtA), would starve the bacteria and ultimately help cure the infection.

Among a shortlist of FDA-approved compounds that could potentially bind to the BmtA structure, the investigators determined that the antihistamine loratadine (Claritin)—and specifically its metabolite, desloratadine—were able to inhibit Mn from entering the cell walls of Borrelia, causing the bacteria to die in test tubes.

“It’s exciting to see first-hand that our insights into the metabolic activity of this elusive bacteria may give us the ability to actually kill it,” said lead study author Jayakumar Rajadas, PhD, in a press release. “…Our results bring us closer to the possibility of discovering the first targeted therapy to treat Lyme disease.”

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Lyme disease costs up to $1. 3 billion per year to treat, study finds

•February 5, 2015 • 1 Comment

Excerpted from the ScienceDaily : (02/05/2015)

The study’s lead author John Aucott, MD, an assistant professor of rheumatology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, says it does no good to keep debating the existence of long-term problems related to Lyme disease while people are suffering a debilitating illness. And he says that increasing awareness of potential complications is crucial to avoid misdiagnosis and unnecessary medical testing.

“These patients are lost,” he says. “No one really knows what to do with them. It’s a challenge, but the first thing we need to do is recognize this is a problem. There’s not a magic pill. These patients already got the magic pill and it didn’t work.”

Lyme disease, transmitted by a bite from a tick infected by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, had long been considered easy to treat, usually requiring a single doctor’s visit and a few weeks of antibiotics for most people.

But new research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests that a prolonged illness associated with the disease is more widespread and serious in some patients than previously understood. With an estimated 240,000 to 440,000 new cases of the tick-borne illness diagnosed every year, the researchers found that Lyme disease costs the U.S. health care system between $712 million and $1.3 billion a year — or nearly $3,000 per patient on average — in return doctor visits and testing, likely to investigate the cause of some patients’ lingering symptoms of fatigue, musculoskeletal pain and memory problems. These visits come after patients have finished their original course of antibiotics.

Some doctors call those persistent symptoms post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS); others call it chronic Lyme disease. Still others attribute the complaints of fatigue, headaches and memory problems to the hum of daily life, the aches and pains that come with aging. At the core of the controversy is whether PTLDS can be a severe and chronic condition that requires more than reassurance and symptomatic therapy. While a blood test can confirm Lyme disease, there is no definitive test for PTLDS and there are no approved or proven treatments. It’s a controversial topic in medicine, the Hopkins researchers say.

A report on the findings is published online Feb. 4 in the journal PLOS ONE.

“Our study looks at the actual costs of treating patients in the year following their Lyme diagnosis,” says study author Emily Adrion, MSc, a PhD candidate in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Regardless of what you call it, our data show that many people who have been diagnosed with Lyme disease are in fact going back to the doctor complaining of persistent symptoms, getting multiple tests and being retreated. They cost the health care system about $1 billion a year and it is clear that we need effective, cost-effective and compassionate management of these patients to improve their outcomes even if we don’t know what to call the disease.”

Adrion and her colleagues looked at medical claims data from approximately 47 million people enrolled in a wide range of commercial health insurance plans in the United States between 2006 and 2010. The researchers ended up analyzing 52,795 cases of Lyme disease patients under the age of 65 who had been treated with antibiotics within 30 days of a Lyme disease test order and/or Lyme disease diagnosis. The data were compared to nearly 264,000 other similar people with no evidence of Lyme disease exposure.

The researchers found that, on average, people with Lyme disease cost the system $2,968 more than matched controls. They had 87 percent more visits to the doctor and 71 percent more visits to the emergency room within the year following diagnosis. Those with Lyme disease were nearly five times more likely to have any PTLDS-related diagnosis — fatigue, nerve pain, joint pain, cognitive troubles — within that year and were 5.5 times more likely to have a diagnosis of debility and excessive fatigue.

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Dr. Saunders, a dubious expert

•January 24, 2015 • 1 Comment

Once again, a physician, in this case a pediatrician by the name of Russell Sanders, is going out of his way to publicly state that Yolanda Foster of the TV program “Real Housewives ” has a fake disease, Lyme Disease (LD). ( )

How can a medically certified pediatrician, if he is, chime in on a patient’s medical condition when in fact she is not his patient, not privy to her medical records, not a child for which he supposedly specializes in, and not an infectious disease expert? This in itself should constitute revoking his medical license. Instead, he appears to crave publicity by vocalizing his opinion on her condition. I hope his medical records reflect that he is the one with Morgellons (i.e., attention grabbing syndrome).

To make matters worse, his patients, children, are the ones most prone to playing around in the grass and picking up ticks. If Dr. Saunders questions the existence of chronic Lyme disease (CLD), then the children he treats are at a greater risk of a treatable disease (i.e., LD )becoming unnecessarily crippling and potentially robbing them of their childhood.

I hope his patients are educating themselves about LD so they can challenge his recommendations. As for Yolanda Foster and all other LD patients, I wish you the very best in your struggle. These absurd denials of CLD only add to the daily difficulties.


Antibiotics: US discovery labelled ‘game-changer’ for medicine

•January 8, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Excerpted from the BBC: (1/07/2015)

The decades-long drought in antibiotic discovery could be over after a breakthrough by US scientists.

Their novel method for growing bacteria has yielded 25 new antibiotics, with one deemed “very promising”.

The last new class of antibiotics to make it to clinic was discovered nearly three decades ago.

The study, in the journal Nature, has been described as a “game-changer” and experts believe the antibiotic haul is just the “tip of the iceberg”.

The heyday of antibiotic discovery was in the 1950s and 1960s, but nothing found since 1987 has made it into doctor’s hands.

Since then microbes have become incredibly resistant. Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis ignores nearly everything medicine can throw at it.

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Commentary: CLD – Caustic LD Denier

•December 17, 2014 • 2 Comments

I just came across a dubious Lyme disease article in Forbes, “NY Governor Must Decide Today On Shielding Doctors Who Use Unproven Lyme Disease Treatments”.

Leave it to a business magazine to dogmatically support the interests of financial entities over the wellbeing of the very ill. I’m sure the author of the article, Steven Salzberg, considers himself a reputable investigative journalist, but his opinions on this subject are nothing shy of sycophancy.

To suggest that Chronic Lyme Disease (CLD) does not exist or that patients and doctors are just racking up unnecessary medical expenses, implies that Salzberg’s knowledge of CLD is greater than the collective experiences of the 10’s of thousands afflicted with the disease, as well as the scores of Lyme Literate Doctors (LLD) on the front lines treating the disease every day. Frankly, it is hard for me to take seriously anyone preaching the pros or cons of CLD who hasn’t experienced the disease firsthand.

Personally, having had LD for approximately 16 years and had daily intravenous (IV) antibiotics of Rocephin and Zithromax for about five of those years, I believe the proper level of treatment can only be determined on an Individual basis. In my case, through much trial and error of many varying treatments, and objective self-analysis of my cognitive healing and neuro-muscular changes, my LD induced quadriplegia is gradually on the mend. This certainly would not have been the case based on the medical professional’s denials of CLD nor merely three weeks of Doxycycline.

So, should a financial magazine journalist whose self-interests are clearly aligned with those that profit from misdiagnosing CLD be taken seriously? Obviously, no. Unfortunately for many of Mr. Salzberg’s readers who live comfortably in the LD hotspots of Connecticut and Long Island, his misinformation has put their families and themselves at an even greater risk of contracting the disease.

And as for all those medical professionals racking up my medical expenses by insisting that I have MS – a disease with no known cause nor cure – rather than LD, I say “Hmmm”.


A tick (and antibiotics) in time

Saves Lyme



Willy Burgdorfer, Who Found Bacteria That Cause Lyme Disease, Is Dead at 89

•November 20, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Excerpted from the New York Times: (11/19/2014)

Willy Burgdorfer, a medical entomologist who in 1982 identified the cause of what had been a mysterious affliction, Lyme disease, died on Monday at a hospital in Hamilton, Mont. He was 89.

The cause was complications of Parkinson’s disease, said Tom Schwan, a colleague of Mr. Burgdorfer’s for many years at the Rocky Mountain Laboratories of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Hamilton.

Lyme disease took its name from the Connecticut area where it first drew attention in the 1970s, including the towns of Lyme, Old Lyme and East Haddam. Scores of people in the area, particularly children, had developed rashes, fevers, swollen joints and sometimes more serious symptoms. Early on, it was called Lyme arthritis. It did not take long for scientists to speculate that there was a common link: blacklegged ticks, also called deer ticks.

Many of the children lived and played in wooded areas and developed rashes after being bitten by deer ticks. Cases were more prevalent east of the Connecticut River, where there were more deer. Many laboratory hours were devoted to determining if the deer ticks were spreading a virus. But no virus was detected. There had to be another explanation.

Dr. Burgdorfer, who was born and educated in Basel, Switzerland, moved to Hamilton in 1951 to pursue his distinctive specialty: tick surgery, as he liked to call his meticulous method of dissecting ticks to study the diseases they spread. Hamilton, a small city in the Bitterroot Valley, had been home to a prominent laboratory for decades, after the discovery in 1906 that wood ticks in the region were transmitting Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

In the early 1980s, Dr. Burgdorfer was analyzing deer ticks from Long Island that were suspected to have caused spotted fever when he stumbled on something unexpected under his microscope: spirochetes, disease-causing bacteria shaped like corkscrews. They were located in only one section of the ticks, the so-called midguts. He had studied spirochetes in graduate school.

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