Shania Twain opens up about contracting ‘debilitating’ Lyme disease that led to vocal issues

•July 9, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Excerpted from National Post:  (07/07/2017)

TORONTO — Shania Twain is cautioning nature lovers to immediately seek treatment if they suspect they’ve been bitten by a tick.

The Canadian country music superstar, who recently revealed she’s battling complications from Lyme disease as a result of a tick bite over 10 years ago, says there’s “a very short window to catch it and then treat it.”

Twain says even when you treat it, you could still be left with symptoms, which is what happened to her.

Twain, who recently released the single “Life’s About to Get Good” off her upcoming album “Shania Now,” notes Lyme is “a debilitating disease” that “you can’t play around with.”

The Timmins, Ont., native says she saw a tick fall off her in Norfolk, Va., during her 2003-04 “Up!” tour.

She recalls becoming dizzy in the ensuing days and almost falling off the stage while performing.

Twain says her contracting Lyme disease led to a vocal cord disorder for which she’s had to have physiotherapy.

“Normally it can attack your nervous system or the vital organs — heart, liver, kidneys, nervous system,” she said in a phone interview on Thursday.

For more: http://nationalpost.com/news/national/shania-twain-on-contracting-debilitating-lyme-disease-that-led-to-vocal-issues/wcm/e11279f5-4d89-4bc4-951c-67f24291887c

Lyme Disease: Inside America’s Mysterious Epidemic

•June 26, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Excerpted from Rolling Stone:  (06/10/2017)

In 2004, Kelly Osbourne was bitten by a tick. Her dad burned it off with a match and that, she thought, was the end of that.

But in the years that followed, she suffered from persistent body aches, headaches, stomach pain and trouble sleeping. In 2013, she had a seizure on the set of her show, Fashion Police. As her symptoms piled up, so did the prescriptions: Ambien, Trazodone, anti-seizure medications, even painkillers, despite her past addiction issues. The pills robbed her of her energy and emotions. “You know in movies where a mental patient sits in a rocking chair in a cardigan and nightgown and stares at a wall all day?” Osbourne wrote in her new memoir, There Is No F*cking Secret: Letters From a Badass Bitch. “That was me.”

As a last resort, Osbourne consulted an alternative medicine practitioner and asked to be tested for Lyme disease. The test came back positive: she had stage III neurological Lyme. Osbourne immediately flew to Germany to receive stem cell therapy. She kept her diagnosis private, she writes, “not only for fear of pharmaceutical companies coming after me because of the cure I found in Germany but also because it seems like the trendy disease to have right now.”

As unlikely as it seems that a tick-borne illness could ever be deemed “trendy,” Osbourne is right: Lyme disease is having a moment.

In recent years, a growing list of celebrities have gone public with their Lyme diagnoses. In the 2013 documentary The Punk Singer, Kathleen Hanna emerged from a nearly decade-long hiatus to reveal her excruciating battle with Lyme disease. “I didn’t want to face the fact that I was really sick,” she told the camera, tearing up. “I wanted to tell everybody I chose to stop [performing], but I didn’t choose.” Then there was Avril Lavigne on the cover of People magazine in 2015, gazing out pensively over the headline, “I thought I was dying.” In 2016, there was the news that Kris Kristofferson’s tragic memory loss wasn’t due to Alzheimer’s after all; it was Lyme. There was the multiple season storyline on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills about Yolanda Hadid’s battle with Lyme, the accusations she was faking it, and then the shocking news that her supermodel daughter Bella and son Anwar had Lyme, too.

Lyme has been a known disease for several decades, but only in the past five years has it forced its way into cultural and medical relevance and become something that’s widely discussed. Lyme is now the focus of A-list fundraising galas and E! News headlines. Unfortunately, the increased attention hasn’t translated to a more hopeful prognosis for Lyme sufferers. Roughly 329,000 new infections occur annually, and scientists are projecting a historic spike in infections around the country this summer. For a disease that’s been studied for 40 years, with many prominent people pushing for answers, the truly shocking thing about Lyme disease is how much of a mystery it still is.

“There’s an incredible amount of detail and nuance to the Lyme disease story,” says Taal Levi, assistant professor of quantitative wildlife ecology at Oregon State University. “Anyone who tells you there’s a simple answer is lying to you.”

For more: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/lyme-disease-inside-americas-mysterious-epidemic-w487776

The Coming Pandemic of Lyme Dementia

•May 31, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Excerpted from Psychology Today :  (05/29/2017)

There are many known causes of dementia. One of these causes are bacteria. Bacteria are usually ignored despite its historical and current significance in dementia research.  A hundred years ago it was well known that syphilis—a bacterium—was the only known cause of dementia. The bacteria interferes with the nerves until it reaches the brain where it destroys the brain from the inside. In the end, the expression of long-term syphilis is dementia—Neurosyphilis. Alois Alzheimer wrote the textbook on neurosyphilis before his supervisor Emil Kraepelin propelled him into the history books by defining Alzheimer’s disease as a new disease in 1911. [1]

Neurosyphilis was very common in the 1900s. Between one in four to one in ten people in mental institutions were there because of neurosyphilis. Eventually syphilis kills its victims. Before the introduction of penicillin in 1943, syphilis was a common killer. In 1929, among men, the death rate from syphilis was 28.3 per 100,000 for Whites and 97.9 per 100,000 for Blacks [2]. The similarities between syphilis and dementia were addressed repeatedly in the early literature in Alzheimer’s disease [1]. Because syphilis can now be treated easily and cheaply, it has nearly been eradicated. But there is a new bacterium threat emerging—one that also causes dementia.

Today, the main bacterial threat to acquire dementia comes from Lyme disease—a bacterium borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. These ticks are themselves infected by feeding off diseased insects and birds, which bring the infection from across the globe. Worldwide there are 23 different species of these Lyme disease ticks.

Lyme disease is the most common disease transmitted by animals in the northern hemisphere and it is becoming an increasingly public health concern [3]. Not only because Lyme disease is a debilitating disease, but because eventually Lyme disease has been shown to cause dementia—Lyme dementia [4]. Science has not identified the mechanism for the development of Lyme dementia but more than 65 countries have the blacklegged ticks which transmit Lyme disease.

Ernie Murakami, a retired physician, has been monitoring the spread of Lyme disease in the north and south of the 49th parallel. The prevalence varies dramatically. Canada reporting the lowest cases in the world, with 1 case per million, while Slovenia reports 13 cases per 10,000. In the United Sates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 329,000 people are likely to be infected every year in the U.S. alone. Only one in ten cases are reported since clinicians are not looking for it. This estimated number of infections is higher than hepatitis C, HIV, colon cancer, and breast cancer. Lyme disease accounts for more than 90% of all reported cases of diseases transmitted by animals (vector-borne illness).

For more: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/iage/201705/the-coming-pandemic-lyme-dementia

Alec Baldwin latest celebrity to battle Lyme disease: What is it?

•May 24, 2017 • 2 Comments

Excerpted from USA Today :  (05/23/2017)

Alec Baldwin is the latest celebrity to open up about his battle with chronic Lyme disease. 

Baldwin said he has struggled with chronic Lyme disease for 17 years after he was bitten by a deer tick, treated, and then bitten again a few years later.

“The first time was the worst of all,” Baldwin said. “And I really thought this is it, I’m not going to live. I was alone, I wasn’t married at the time, I was divorced from my first wife. I was lying in bed saying, ‘I’m going to die of Lyme disease,’ in my bed and ‘I hope someone finds me and I’m not here for too long.’ ”

The bacterial infection is transmitted through a tick bite and can be treated successfully with antibiotics if caught early. If left untreated, it can cause heart and nervous system problems and have devastating long-term effects including memory loss, stiffness in joints and speech impairment.  While the Centers for Disease and Control estimates approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease each year, the number is likely much higher.

For more: https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/nation-now/2017/05/23/alec-baldwin-latest-celebrity-battle-lyme-disease-what-it/338592001/

Jimmy Walker reveals he’s battling Lyme Disease

•April 20, 2017 • 1 Comment

Excerpted from CBS Sports.com:  (04/19/2017)

Sometimes injuries are straightforward and easy to explain (like falling down the stairs at the Masters). Sometimes they are not, like on Tuesday when Jimmy Walker revealed that he has Lyme Disease.

Walker has been plagued for months by lethargy and a dampened enthusiasm, and his game has shown it. He just one top 10 on the 2016-17 PGA Tour season, and that was in the tiny field event at the Tournament of Champions to start the calendar year when he finished T9. On Wednesday at the Valero Texas Open, he opened up about his fight with a disease he did not see coming.

“I actually tested positive for Lyme Disease, found that out Wednesday of Augusta,” Walker said. “So we’ve been talking to a lot of doctors. I think that was more of what was going on as opposed to the mono, and a lot of doctors think that wasn’t really anything that was going on. Been very tired and fatigued and no strength and it comes and goes in waves and just hasn’t been real fun.

“So, dealing with that and I think I’ve had it for, you know, a little while now. I haven’t felt really good since Thanksgiving. I’m holding strong to that. How long I’ve had it, I don’t know. I know I haven’t felt great since about then. So, been talking to some doctors, trying to figure out the course of action to take and get on some meds to get it going in the right direction.”

Walker also noted that he probably needs rest but doesn’t want to take it.

“Anybody knows me, rest isn’t something I’m really good at doing,” Walker said. “Even when … we thought it was something else, it was still tough but I … kind of accepted that this is how I’ve been feeling and I’ve been feeling like this for awhile now and I keep plugging along, keep going.

“I didn’t know anything was wrong. I finally got to a point something is wrong, I don’t feel good and I need to get something figured out. Basically feels like you got the flu. No strength. Just got nothing. And it comes and goes in waves. You never know when it’s going to pop up.

“Augusta week I felt like I had a pretty good week. I felt nice and solid all week. Anti-inflammatories like Advil, kind of kick some of the symptoms a little bit. I had a really rough week at Honda. But it just comes and goes. I can’t figure any rhyme or reason out. I’m ready to get over it. I know that.”

Walker did say he’s not blaming his poor performance (relative to how he’s played in recent seasons) to the symptoms, but it’s hard to not draw the through line for him.

For more: http://www.cbssports.com/golf/news/jimmy-walker-reveals-hes-battling-lyme-disease/

Lyme’s disease may have deeper consequences

•April 16, 2017 • 2 Comments

Excerpted from the Hibbing  Daily Tribune :  (04/12/2017)

HIBBING — St. Louis and Itasca counties are in the highest risk zones for tick borne disease in the state, according to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

In St. Louis County there are been nearly 900 confirmed cases of Lyme’s disease since 2000.

The number of Lyme disease cases has been increasing dramatically since the 1990s, the MDH points out. A variety of factors — including increasing physician awareness, increasing infection rates in ticks and expanding tick distribution — may have led to this trend.

Typically, Lyme’s disease diagnosis and research is based on blood tests that look at the body’s antibody response to the infection

Yet, according to Thomas Grier, a microbiologist based in Duluth, blood tests may be missing the full extent of the Lyme disease infection.

Grier, who since 1997 has been studying the brains of dementia and Lyme disease patients, has found a startling relationship between the bacteria present in Lyme’s disease and the bacteria present in dementia.

For Grier this research proves a possible infectious component to dementia that is directly related to Lyme disease.

 

For more: http://www.hibbingmn.com/news/health/lyme-s-disease-may-have-deeper-consequences/article_63e74136-1ee5-11e7-b412-43a625597e2f.html

Swedish MD suspended over Lyme disease care; patients bereft

•March 5, 2017 • Leave a Comment

sweden

Excerpted from the Huffington Post :  (03/03/2017)

The top doctor in Sweden for treatment of advanced Lyme disease has been suspended from practicing medicine, leaving hundreds of patients without care in a country with a large and growing problem of tick-borne disease.

The physician, Kenneth Sandström, said the action was taken because he treated patients with longer courses of antibiotics than recommended by prevailing treatment guidelines.

Sandström is a seasoned general practitioner who treated his first Lyme disease case about five years ago, when a registered nurse who had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis asked him to treat her for possible Lyme disease. He studied the scientific literature for several months – he at first thought the idea was “rubbish” — then put her on four months of antibiotics.

“Twenty years of MS was gone,” he told me at a conference in Philadelphia last November when he was facing disciplinary charges. He acknowledged that other cases were not as “easy” but said he saw overall and sometimes-dramatic improvement from longer antibiotic treatment. “You have to accept this is something,” he said.

‘For patients, it’s a catastrophe.’ — Janna Strandli, president of the Swedish Lyme Disease Association

More than 6,000 people signed an online petition and 400 patients left messages of support when his disciplinary action was announced in 2014. People with Lyme disease and their advocates were devastated by the news of Sandström’s suspension.

“For the patients this means they have to turn to doctors abroad to get treatment, and for those who can’t afford this or are too ill to travel, it’s a catastrophe,” said Janna Strandli, president of the Swedish Lyme Disease Association. “Dr. Sandström has helped so many patients to regain their health and hope to get well again.”

In an email after the licensing board’s decision, Dr. Sandström said the suspension was based on charges related to prescribing the antibiotic Rifampicin to 13 patients, all of whom Sandström said got better. The suspension was not for a set amount of time; Sandström said he would appeal.

Southern Sweden has Western Europe’s highest rate of Lyme disease at 464 cases per 100,000 residents, according to published research, rivaling rates in the U.S. Northeast. In Sweden, a warming climate has helped push diseased ticks about 300 miles further north in recent years, part of a global trend that I will write about in an upcoming book.

Dr. Sandström’s case demonstrates the worldwide influence of Lyme treatment guidelines developed in the United States by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Those guidelines, which generally limit antibiotic courses to 10 to 28 days, were removed last year from the National Guidelines Clearinghouse because they had not been updated since 2006. Currently, the NGC has approved posting the guidelines of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, which recommend longer and, for potentially chronic cases of disease, repeated rounds of antibiotics, and which Sandström said he followed.

 

For more: httphttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/swedish-md-suspended-over-lyme-disease-care-patients_us_58b9e03de4b02b8b584dfb74