Chronic Lyme disease: A dubious diagnosis

Excerpted from  the L.A. Times ( Posted: 12/08/2010 ) 

Dr. Bernard Raxlen arrived at Manhattan’s glamorous Gotham Hall on a cool autumn night in 2008 to receive a humanitarian award.

With a lime-green Lyme disease advocacy ribbon pinned to his dapper black suit, Raxlen joined partygoers sipping martinis below a stained-glass skylight bigger than most New York City apartments.Money was in the air. The “Unmask A Cure” gala invitation listed Goldman Sachs, New York Private Bank & Trust and Marquis Jet as sponsors. The event raised money for the Turn the Corner Foundation, a Lyme nonprofit on whose medical advisory board Raxlen sat.

The scene was light-years from the institutional brick building where the Connecticut Medical Examining Board was considering disciplinary action against Raxlen for the fourth time in 10 years. Raxlen had been accused of telling a woman dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease that she had chronic Lyme disease, an illness that might not even exist.

Lyme disease is real. The bacterial infection, chiefly transmitted by deer ticks, can cause rashes, swollen joints and inflamed nerves, and usually is curable with a round of antibiotics.

But doctors around the country are telling patients with common medical problems such as back pain, poor concentration and fatigue that their ailments stem from a chronic form of Lyme disease that can evade standard treatment and wreak havoc for years. To fight what they believe is a persistent infection, the doctors often order months or years of intravenous antibiotics, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

For the complete article:  http://www.latimes.com/health/ct-met-chronic-lyme-disease-20101207,0,6710096,full.story

~ by Rob on December 10, 2010.

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