Thursday, May 31, 2012

NY Times Editorial on Lyme Disease

"It took a 5 billion dollar loss by JP Morgan, but if it attracts the attention that tick-borne-diseases (TBD) need, then so be it." -Hootan (A Lymie friend who spotted this today).


The Tale of Ticks and Other Excess

I cannot tell you what a relief it was when I discovered that the multibillion-dollar trading loss at JPMorgan was because of deer.
Yes, I know. You thought it was the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, right? Me, too.
Then I read the recent Times article by Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Nelson Schwartz that reported that Ina Drew, the executive who was in charge of JPMorgan's chief investment office, had been laid low by Lyme disease during the period preceding the debacle.
Some of you who don't live in the Northeast may not be familiar with Lyme disease, but it can really knock you out. And it's not always easy to diagnose, so it can hang around until the symptoms get truly debilitating. Believe me, if you have advanced Lyme disease, you are not going to be able to keep a handle on a passel of frisky traders.
Lyme disease is transmitted by....
Read full op-ed:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Serratiopeptidase: The Answer for Chronic Pain?

If you suffer from pain to any extent – occasionally, chronically or somewhere in between – an enzyme known as serratiopeptidase may just be the answer for you. This is especially true if you have an aversion to, or are experiencing any side effects of, the medication you currently use for pain management. Whether you take prescription or over-the-counter “painkillers,” serratiopeptidase is a safe, natural alternative with no known side effects.

Serratiopeptidase, also known as serrapeptase, is a proteolytic (that is, having the ability to break down proteins into simpler compounds) enzyme which is naturally present in the silkworm intestine. Now, before you go running for cover, screaming, “I’m not swallowing anything that came from a worm’s innards!” – let me just emphasize: The type that is available to consumers today is processed through fermentation of plant-grown enzymes, and is generally of such purity that it is suitable even for consumption by vegetarians. ...

Read more:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Announcing 23andMe's First Patent in Parkinson's


Parkinson's Research Initiative

Dear Robert,

In October, we announced our discovery that a version of the gene called SGK1 may be protective against Parkinson's in those carrying the high-risk version of the LRRK2 gene. We were immediately excited about this discovery because such a finding could be the basis of a new drug target for Parkinson's. So we partnered with researchers at Scripps to explore this finding in greater detail. If this research is successful, we hope that a biotechnology or pharmaceutical company will develop this into a new therapy so that patients can benefit from the finding. Because bringing a new treatment to market generally takes more than ten years and costs more than $1 billion, pharmaceutical companies typically only invest in developing treatments that are protected by patentable findings. Therefore we filed for a patent on these findings.

We are excited to announce that this patent has been approved. This is exciting as it gives us the best shot of translating this finding into a new treatment that could help people with Parkinson's.

We will continue to update you as we learn more about how SGK1 works and if it could be translated into a new treatment for Parkinson's.

You can read more about what this patent means in our recent blog post.   

Warmest wishes,  
Emily Drabant, Ph.D.  
Parkinson's Research Manager

PS - We are still enrolling! If you know someone with Parkinson's, they are eligible for free 23andMe genotyping and research participation at

There are many ways to advance Parkinson's research. Find out which clinical trials need you at the Fox Trial Finder.   

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Lyme Disease misinformation on NPR

Here's a radio story from NPR's Science Friday, May 25, 2012. It has received criticism for featuring a guest from the IDSA, discrediting the existence of chronic infection, stating that "patients believe they have ongoing infection...".

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm John Dankosky, in for Ira Flatow. You've probably already encountered them this year, buried deep in your pet's fur, maybe on your own skin - yes, ticks. These bloodsuckers are often no bigger than a poppy seed, but they can wreak havoc with your health and your pet's.
Infected ticks are the main culprits in the transmission of Lyme disease. It's being blamed for causing a senior banker at JPMorgan to miss a lot of work, leading to a more than $2 billion blunder. Lyme disease can be debilitating. The symptoms can range from fever and fatigue to neurological problems, but there's not agreement about how to diagnose and treat the infection.
After all, Lyme disease has been called the great imitator. Its symptoms often mimic those of many other ailments. So how is Lyme disease transmitted? Why is it so tricky to detect and treat? And are we really seeing more of these nasty ticks than ever before?....

Friday, May 25, 2012

Personal video update May 25, 2010

Here's my video update. I haven't done one for a while. 


A New Tick-Borne Illness—Medical Establishment and the Government Behind the Curve Again!

Here's an article from 2011, but it's still somewhat timely. I was not aware of this new strain of Borrelia being found in North America.

Who can we trust for accurate info?

Yale researchers working with Russian scientists have discovered a new tick-borne disease affecting thousands of Americans each year. It’s a bacterium called Borrelia miyamotoi, and it’s a distant relative of the spirochete that causes Lyme disease. It’s found in the same deer tick that transmits Lyme.
The new bacterium causes higher fevers than Lyme disease does, and the fevers often disappear and reappear after a week or two. It was actually discovered over a decade ago, though Dr. Durland Fish, the lead Yale researcher, was repeatedly refused a study grant from NIH until the Russian scientists proved it caused illness.

Read article:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Was Lyme disease to blame for JP morgan's 3 billion dollar loss?

You may have heard about yesterday's news re JPMorgan Chase. Ina Drew resigned as head of JPMorgan’s chief investment office. She was the bank’s fourth-highest-paid officer. Apparently she contracted Lyme disease and was out of the office a lot for treatment. Lyme was all over the news, at least for a day. Here are three stories about it.

Lyme Conference video from Skidmore College now available online

The live webcast of the Lyme conference hosted by Skidmore College in New York last week was quite emotional at times, and certainly informative. Missed it? No worries. The video stream was recorded for those who want to watch it after the fact.

They broke it into three parts. (Loved the typo in the file names - 'bourne' instead of 'borne'. Someone's got the Bourne Supremacy on their mind. Then again, taking on the CDC, IDSA, and NY State is kind of in the action-movie category.)

IMHO, Drs Richard Horowitz and Kenneth Leigner were the big attractions. Horowitz gave a high-energy Power Point mini-course in Lyme and associated diseases. Leigner fully socked it to the establishment IDSA contingent, with a dressing down the likes of which I hadn't heard from an LLMD before. Pam Weintraub was the keynote speaker - passionate and articulate as always.

For direct links to the videos, you can click here:

Part 1:

Part 2:
At 1:47 (one hour, 47 minutes) into part 2, Dr. Leigner makes his compelling statement.

Part 3:

Here's the program and list of speakers:


9:00 Morning Session Opens Christina T. Fisk, Co-Chair Organizing Committee
Welcome to LymeNEXT Congressman Chris Gibson, 20th Congressional District, NY

9:15 Keynote Address
Into the Woods: The Patient Journey through Lyme Disease
Pamela Weintraub, Executive Editor, Discover Magazine and author of Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic

10:00 The Scope and Economic Burden of Lyme Disease
An Epidemic of Lyme Disease? Holly Ahern
The Economic Impact and Burden of Lyme Disease Lorraine Johnson

11:15 A Diagnosis that Fits the Disease - Multiple Chronic Infectious Disease Syndrome (MCIDS) Richard I. Horowitz, MD

1:20 Afternoon Session Opens Christina T. Fisk, Co-Chair Organizing Committee

1:30 Protecting Physicians who Treat Lyme Disease Daniel Cameron, MD

2:00 Preventing Transfusion-Transmitted Babesiosis David Leiby, PhD

2:45 New Methods for Lyme and TBD Detection Ahmed Kilani, PhD

3:15 A “Manhattan Project” for Lyme Disease Kenneth Liegner, MD

3:45 Closing Remarks Congressman Chris Gibson

The Low Dose Naltrexone

"Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) may well be the most important therapeutic breakthrough in over fifty years. It provides a new, safe and inexpensive method of medical treatment by mobilizing the natural defenses of one's own immune system.

LDN substantially reduces health care costs and improves treatment of a wide array of diseases. Unfortunately, because naltrexone has been without patent protection for many years, no pharmaceutical company will bear the expense of the large clinical trials necessary for FDA approval of LDN's new special uses. It is now up to public institutions to seize the opportunity that LDN offers."

Read entire article:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Livestream of Lymenext forum

A Forum on Tick Borne Diseases: What's Next?
Skidmore College
Saratoga Springs, NY
Monday, May 21st

You can listen live, tomorrow.

It starts tomorrow...All times below are east coast time zone. So, tune in at 6:00 AM, California time. 

Schedule of Presentations

Times are approximate

9:00              Morning Session Opens Christina T. Fisk, Co-Chair Organizing Committee
                                Welcome to LymeNEXT Congressman Chris Gibson, 20thCongressional District, NY

9:15                Keynote Address
                        Into the Woods: The Patient Journey through Lyme Disease
Pamela Weintraub, Executive Editor, Discover Magazine and author of Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic

10:00          The Scope and Economic Burden of Lyme Disease
                                An Epidemic of Lyme Disease?  Holly Ahern
                                The Economic Impact and Burden of Lyme Disease   Lorraine Johnson

11:00             Break

11:15            A Diagnosis that Fits the Disease - Multiple Chronic Infectious Disease Syndrome (MCIDS)    Richard I. Horowitz, MD

Noon                 Lunch Break
                                An optional one-price ($10) dining option is available for Forum attendees. Lunch will be held in the Murray-Aikins Dining Hall on the Skidmore Campus. See program for menu.

1:20                Afternoon Session Opens    Christina T. Fisk, Co-Chair Organizing Committee

1:30            Protecting Physicians who Treat Lyme Disease   Daniel Cameron, MD

2:00              Preventing Transfusion-Transmitted Babesiosis   David Leiby, PhD

2:30               Break

2:45            New Methods for Lyme and TBD Detection    Ahmed Kilani, PhD

3:15             A "Manhattan Project" for Lyme Disease    Kenneth Liegner, MD

3:45               Closing Remarks    Congressman Chris Gibson


Bob Cowart

Saturday, May 19, 2012

US baby boomers urged to take hepatitis C blood test

From the BBC News -- May 17, 2012

The CDC is recommending a one-time blood test to check for the virus
Hep C vaccine trial 'promising'

US baby boomers have been advised by health officials for the first time to get tested for the liver-destroying virus hepatitis C.

Those born between 1945-1965 are most likely to be infected but it is thought only a quarter of this generation has been tested for the virus.
The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) believes its campaign could save more than 120,000 lives.

The CDC estimates some 17,000 hepatitis C infections currently occur each year.

Health officials believe hundreds of thousands of infections occurred each year in the 1970s and '80s, when baby boomers would have been young adults.

The disease, which was first identified in 1989, can take decades to cause liver damage. Many of those infected may not even be aware of their condition.

One reason for the CDC advice is that from 1999-2007 the number of Americans dying from hepatitis C-related diseases nearly doubled.
Two million of the 3.2 million Americans known to be infected with the blood-borne virus are baby boomers.

CDC officials believe new testing could lead to 800,000 more baby boomers seeking treatment.

Many infections of hepatitis C come from sharing needles to inject drugs. Before widespread screening began in 1992, it was also transmitted through blood transfusions.

"The CDC views hepatitis C as an unrecognised health crisis for the country, and we believe the time is now for a bold response," said Dr John Ward, the CDC's hepatitis chief.

Continue reading the main story

Buhner Herb protocol

Have you looked into the Buhner Herb protocol?

Some Lyme patients have good results with it. 

Buhner's online lyme support group is reported to be helpful, as well. One user on the listserv suggested one approach might be: read Buhner's book "Healing Lyme", study the website, then join the group if you become interested.

There are many Lymies who've not had good luck with the antibiotic strategy, but are finding relief with the herbal protocol.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Zithromax and heart failure

An antibiotic widely used for bronchitis and other common infections seems to increase chances for sudden deadly heart problems, a rare but surprising risk found in a 14-year study.
Zithromax, or azithromycin, is more expensive than other antibiotics, but it's popular because it often can be taken for fewer days. But the results suggest doctors should prescribe other options for people already prone to heart problems, the researchers and other experts said.
Vanderbilt University researchers analyzed health records and data on millions of prescriptions for several antibiotics given to about 540,000 Tennessee Medicaid patients from 1992 to 2006. There were 29 heart-related deaths among those who took Zithromax during five days of treatment. Their risk of death while taking the drug was more than double that of patients on another antibiotic, amoxicillin, or those who took none.
Read more:



Azithromycin and the Risk of Cardiovascular Death
Wayne A. Ray, Ph.D., Katherine T. Murray, M.D., Kathi Hall, B.S., Patrick
G. Arbogast, Ph.D., and C. Michael Stein, M.B., Ch.B.
N Engl J Med 2012; 366:1881-1890May 17, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What is the CD 57 test?

A CD57 test (created by Dr. Ray Stricker of San Francisco) doesn't give you a positive or negative. It gives you the count of the natural killer cells (white blood cells) specific to Lyme disease + co-infections. (Other diseases are designated by different #s - for instance HIV is designated by CD4.)

Generally, with the CD57 test for lyme disease + co-infections:

  • A count between 60-200 is the normal range.
  • A count between 20-60 indicates that you're dealing with chronic disease.
  • A count below 20 indicates that it's severe.

When I first took this test in '09, it was hoped that the test would become the new gold standard for diagnosing lyme disease + confections. However, with time LLMDs have found that it's not quite as reliable a metric as hoped, but still a very good indicator, taken in context with other tests and clinical presentation. A few LLMD's I know want to see a level of about 300 for at least a few months before ending treatment. It treatment stops too soon, relapses are more likely to occur.

Is A Tick Bite Causing Your Depression?

The symptoms your doc could be missing

is a tick bite making you depressed?
However you feel about the mild winter we just experienced (Yay for less shoveling! Boo for global warming!), one thing no one’s excited about: The explosion in the tick population it caused. And while most people know that ticks can carry Lyme disease, many of us know very little about the hard-to-pin-down disease. Here’s how to recognize the symptoms and protect yourself from Lyme disease.

Read article:


Friday, May 11, 2012

My Blog was Hacked - Sorry!

Dear readers,

My blog is being spammed by an electronics company. Somehow they are breaking into my blog and posting ads for electronics.

I have taken the usual precautions againt this, turning off ads in the settings for my blog, etc. I phoned this company last year about this, and they claimed innocence, but now the ads are back. I delete them immediately, but by then they have been sent to you.

I am sorry, and I am doing what I can. I will report them to Google, who hosts my blog. Please just delete the ads when you see them. They are always from U.S. Appliance.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pathogens Causing PD?

Found at:
It is by no means certain that pathogens have nothing to do with PD
Just a couple of possibilities-
1) A pathogen called Nocardia has been shown to cause parkinsonism.
2) You may have heard of the German researcher Braak's work demonstrating that *something* enters the nerve fibers in the nose and stomach and then leaves a trail of Lewy bodies like bread crumbs as it marches into the brain en route to the substantia nigra. One other thing that follows a similar pattern is the polio virus.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

micro biomes studies of bugs in our guts and body

Copyright: Science Photo Library

I picked this up from the web site. It's a BBC article about gut bacteria and how strong a roll it plays in keeping us well (and making us sick if it is messed up). -Bob

Sun Apr 15, 2012 6:25 pm (PDT)

It is about the microscopic bugs that live all over your body – on your skin, in your mouth, in your nose, and in particular your digestive tract. These bugs are so numerous that they outnumber your own cells by a factor of 10. You are vastly more microbe than human.
Before you get so disgusted you stop reading, consider this: many of these bugs are as essential to your life as your own cells. These microbes have been around since before humans existed, and our bodies have evolved to adapt to their presence just as they have adapted to ours.
They are also – to quote one expert – the “last frontier” of medical research, a crucial aspect of our health that scientists rarely considered until recently. It is also one of the most daunting challenges facing biologists today.
“We know next to nothing about this whole universe that we host,” according to Bruce Birren, co-director of the Genome Sequencing and Analysis Program at the Broad Institute, a research collaborative between Harvard and MIT scientists. “It’s as if we’re coming to a planet for the first time and asking: what do we find?”.....
The rest of the story is here:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Thoughts about Depression

Depression and intense anxiety have been my primary symptoms when I have had acute Lyme flareups. The depressions have been sudden, quite scary, and sometimes long-lasting. It is as though my brain and emotions fall into a deep, dark well. The closest description I have found was wriiten by William Styron in his little book called Darkness Visible. Here it is:

After reading this and sharing with family members, I felt less alone. I knew that at least a famous writer really understood. I was a struggling author and so his story was one I could relate to. Then I started serious psychotherapy, and even earned a masters degree in psychotherapy, at age 55, to better understand myself and to help others.

When I saw my psychotherapy clients who were experiencing clinical depression I really understood that depression is a truly dark hell-realm. When I was in this depressed place, it was nearly impossible to remember that it was the result of how my brain was working, that it can be temporary, and that there is fun, lightness, and happiness waiting for me at the end of the tunnel. As anyone who has been clinically depressed (not just sad or grieving due to a loss -- these are natural and approrpriate responses to life and loss) knows, it can feel like you are in a nightmare that you just can't wake up from. A dark veil has fallen in front of your eyes, and the whole world looks and feels bleak.

I can now sense when my depressions are physical (organic) vs situational (or both). Two or three days ago, I felt it coming up again. I find mindfulness practice to be very helpful nowadays when depression starts creeping in. I don't panic, I just notice it ("Oh, hi depression, it's you again..."). I remind myself that it is probably temporary, and I try to do something nice for myself. A hot bath, see a friend, take a sauna. I also hit the Omega-3's, and get some exercise and sun. Usually it lifts. I also observe my thinking patterns. Have I been thinking about some mistake or 'failure' I have committed? Am I beating myself up about something? If so, I try to correct the thinking.

Of course, the way a chronic illness affects our lives IS pretty depressing. Losing my health, my job, my money, sex drive, ability to be in a relationship effectively, and my sense of well-being is depressing! It certaiinly isn't a cake walk. So it's actually pretty reasonable for many of us with chronic Lyme, Parkinson's, or other chronic diseases to be prone to depression.

My psychopharmacology professor used to say the best treatment for depression was dancing naked in the sunshine with your lover. That gets you touch, exercise, and Vitamin D. All three will increase seratonin. In lieu of a lover, getting a massage will meet our need for touch (well, sort of).

Last week, as my old friend depression was lurking about, hiding behind imaginary trees and standing in dark corners, I decided to really give him a run for his money. I packed up my car with my musical instruments and accepted an invitation to play a gig with a rock band. It's a group I play in a few times a year. I joined them in Yosemite National Park where they were playing at an annual bash called The Spring Fling, in El Portal. This is a small town just outside of Yosemite.

I had been on the fence about going. Would it tired me out? What about my medical regimen? What if I got sicker? Where would I sleep? Could I even play a keyboard on stage in front of an audience, when with just the smallest bit of anxiety I start to shake like a leaf??

In the end, I had a ball with my musical buddies. I stayed for five days and really enjoyed myself. Music, sunshine, amazing natural beauty, tons of young, vibrant people who work in the Park. Of course, at 59, I feel like a relic in their company, and also I want to tell them all to protect themselves from Lyme-carrying ticks, but I decided not to be the harbinger of bad news, and just to drop it and enjoy myself. Getting out in that beautiful nature, and having a nice drive for five hours each way was just what the doctor ordered!

It was not easy to do (especially because my Parkinsonism makes me shake really badly under pressure, and at times I was barely able to play my keyboard), but I took my PD meds regularly and got through it. A couple of times during the gig I had to stand up from my chair and keyboard and just dance around to shake off the nervousness and tremors. Luckily that looks pretty normal in a rock-band dance hall! (It doesn't go over as well at a classical piano recital.)

I guess what I'm saying is just an echo of what our hero Dr. Joe Burrascano says: People who get better are the ones who don't identify themselves with their disease. They continue to live their lives. They don't structure their lives around their illness. They still enjoy their people and their hobbies. They smell the roses and they cuddle with their pets. (My paraphrase.)


Salt and Vitamin C Lyme "cure"

I came across this today, via the email listserv. Years ago I tried the Salt/C approach (before I found a LLMD) and it did not help me. However, the salt tasted so disgusting that I did not do it for long. My experiment may not have lasted long enough to produce positive effects. This web site makes bold and hopeful claims about the regimen. I would say it is worth reading. Note that it is a come-on, attempting to sell you an e-book about the protocol. The list of therapies the author claims to have tried is impressive (if real), and the list of typical Lyme symptoms I found useful as I am becoming more methodical about tracking my own Sx to present to my LLMDs at appointments. -Bob

"Since 2004, quietly, without fanfare, a simple, inexpensive, 100% natural protocol has helped literally thousands of Lyme sufferers to become free of their Lyme symptoms.

This site is devoted to the presentation and ongoing practical research on this protocol and other adjuncts as it applies to Lyme infection. This site has a sister site, a discussion board, which is located here:

It is free and you are welcomed to join.

My name is M. Fett. I am a "former Lymie". When I say "former Lymie", I mean someone who previously suffered severe Lyme infection who no longer has Lyme, Babesia, Mycoplasma, and various other co-infections but instead remains free and unrelapsing since 2004. In fact, I recently retested negative again where these were once positive.

The story of how this came to be for myself and many others is very simple yet profound..."
Read more here: