Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Rutgers begins new institution for research on infectious diseases

NEWARK — Rutgers New Jersey Medical School is combining several research organizations into one new institute with the mission of detecting, treating and preventing infectious diseases, and focusing on the link between infectious and inflammatory diseases.

The Institute for Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases will enfold the Public Health Research Institute, the Center for Immunity and Inflammation and the Center for Emerging Pathogens, and will act as a springboard for research, according to a press release from the university.

Researchers at this new institute, according to the release, will look at the development of diseases with rapid detection of infectious agents and control of harmful inflammation as a major focus.

"We are establishing this institute, which brings together more than 250 scientists — many of them prominent in this field — to pursue a greater understanding of how the immune system and inflammatory responses contribute to a wide range of diseases," said Christopher Molloy, interim chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. "We anticipate that their successes will produce dramatic progress against some of these diseases and keep the institute growing at a significant pace."

The more specific goals of the new institute include:

•  Developing new treatments, diagnostics and preventive measures for infectious and inflammatory diseases

•  Moving new therapies and treatments from bench to bedside more quickly

•   Helping to break the cycle of poverty and disease in impoverished communities locally and worldwide

•   Offering continuing education to all health professionals as well as science writers and health educators

•   Sharing research and information with the public through publications, blogs, social media and video

"Dysfunction of the immune system is increasingly recognized as contributing to a broad spectrum of infectious and noninfectious diseases," said William Gause, senior associate dean for research at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. "The specific focus of our new institute provides a unique opportunity to build an innovative and significant program of biomedical research excellence for Newark and the State of New Jersey."

Lyme teen dies from accident

Lyme disease: For years, the effects of Lyme disease wouldn't allow Rob Leavens to skateboard because it was too painful.

Rob Leavens contracted Lyme disease at age 14 but was misdiagnosed for two years after testing negative for the disease until the family sought a specialist in Maryland who correctly diagnosed him, Jim Leavens said.

"He struggled mightily from the symptoms of Lyme disease," Jim Leavens said. "It affected his emotions and cognitive ability."

Rob Leavens suffered intense headaches, was hospitalized twice and would become frustrated that he couldn't remember to complete tasks or be a carefree teenager, Jim Leavens said.

The disease had such ill effects that Rob Leavens missed an extensive amount of school, and he finally withdrew from York Suburban School District.

However, with proper treatment, the younger Leavens was becoming his old thoughtful and compassionate self and was looking to the future as he began to talk about getting his GED and going to college, Jim Leavens said.

On the day Rob Leavens died, he did two things he hadn't done in a long time. He went to a mall with a friend and bought vitamin supplements to counteract Lyme disease and a long-sleeved button shirt, a deviation from the T-shirts he normally wore.

The second thing he did was go skateboarding, Jim Leavens said.

"This was the first time he felt up to skateboarding in a very long time," he said.

 In lieu of flowers, his family asks an honor donation be made to the International Lyme and Associate Disease Society, http:/

Jim Leavens said he doesn't blame his son or Royer for what happened but rather blames Lyme disease, which affected Rob Leavens' motor skills, balance and reasoning.

Read the full story here:

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Treatment Trials for Post-Lyme Disease Symptoms Revisited


Joseph S. Alpert, MD
Professor of Medicine
University of Arizona College of Medicine
Tucson, Arizona

AJM Editorial Office

1840 E. River Road, Suite 120
Tucson, Arizona 85718

To the Editors of the American Journal of Medicine,

Re: Treatment Trials for Post-Lyme Disease Symptoms Revisited

Mark S. Klempner, MD, Phillip J. Baker, PhD, Eugene D. Shapiro, MD, Adriana Marques, MD, Raymond J. Dattwyler, MD, John J. Halperin, MD, Gary P. Wormser, MD

In July 1994, SmithKlein Beecham (Now GlaxoSmithKline) filed a Lyme Disease vaccine patent for OspA proteins of Borrelia burgdorferi. In table 1 & table 4 this patent demonstrates the need for human blood, skin and spinal fluid from untreated Lyme disease patients including the late stage presentation Acrodermatitis Chronica Atrophans (ACA) which is a feature of European Lyme disease and usually presents about 20 years after initial tick bite.

If you immediately treat all Lyme disease without restriction until symptoms resolve (As we do for all other infections) where would you find a population of late stage Lyme patients?

Gary Wormser is the lead author of the IDSA's "treatment-denial" guidelines for Lyme disease and in the UK has links to the Baxter vaccine that is going into its phase 3 clinical trials.

The antibiotic treatment trials referred to in the American Journal of Medicine article were not long term. The lead author of the foremost study used to justify this treatment-denial philosophy (Mark Klempner) and the lead author of the treatment guidelines which are used to deny Lyme victims effective treatment (Gary Wormser) are all biodefense researchers and/or biodefense epidemiologists. There has been speculation that these efforts are a large-scale treatment-denial experiment to create a vaccine market by the national security infrastructure. (The Tuskegee Syphilis experiment went on for 22 years.) This certainly offers an explanation for the purposeful mishandling of this disease and continuous disinformation campaign along with the deliberate refusal to listen to the patient voice.

How can hundreds of thousands of sick patients across the nation imagine a fictitious disease including Senator Chris Harris from Texas who was prescribed 17mo of antibiotics for his Lyme disease? The denial of this epidemic and refusal to reimburse for treating persistent infection has caused untold pain and suffering not only in New Hampshire but across the nation. 

Johns Hopkins published a study that followed patients who were treated from an acute Lyme disease stage but went on to develop debilitating symptoms after the standard IDSA treatment protocol. 35% of patients met the definition of post-Lyme syndrome 6 months after treatment and as many as 45% with one major symptom. I have suggested to Dr Aucott he test these patients using Advanced Laboratory Services' Borellia Culture test. We now have proof that persistent infection exists through Advanced Laboratory Services's Borrellia culture test as the laboratory is reporting positive cultures in 80% of symptomatic post treatment Lyme patient specimens so why is the CDC in no rush whatsoever to embrace this technology? Because the true epidemic and deceitful handling of the late stage Lyme disease epidemic will finally be exposed.

In reference to the recent abstract, Treatment Trials for Post-Lyme Disease Symptoms Revisited we believe that the authors of this article will reside at the top of the list with the congressional investigation of the CDC, IDSA and ALDF as called for in the following petition: Calling for a Congressional investigation of the CDC, IDSA and ALDF

A copy of this letter has been forwarded to Senator Richard Blumenthal.


Neurolymphomatosis and borreliosis

A Romanian paper from 2011 - I don't remember seeing this before. Apologies if it's been posted previously

We report the case of a female patient aged 43 years with known immunoblastic gastric lymphoma admitted for progressive motor and sensory deficit with sudden onset and relatively rapid ascending up to chest level and pain in lower limbs. Lumbar puncture revealed high proteins, low CSF glucose, and pleiocytosis with atypical lymphocytes. Considering the symptoms antiborrelia antibodies were tested finding the results extensively positive, advocating for a borreliosis. MRI revealed no significant changes. The case is a feature of the associating pathologies, finding in the literature few reports alike.

Bob Cowart shared an article with you via Readability

Bob Cowart ( sent you an article. They also provided the following note:

Filmmaker who produced Under Our Skin, the film about Lyme Disease, reports how the CDC stonewalled her request to release public documents about the disease while the film was in production. The Freedom Of Information Act is designed to facilitate release of public documents, yet Kris claims it took five years for her to finally see the records the CDC posessed.

by Kris Newby | 05.20.2013 • May 20, 2013

By Kris Newby | 05.20.2013 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers itself to be one of the nation’s foremost scientific institutions, dedicated to transparency and… Continue Reading »


Read Comfortably—Anytime, AnywhereReadability turns any web page into a clean view for reading now or later on your computer, smartphone, or tablet.

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

New Insights Into How Antibiotics Damage Human Cells

Many of us who are treating Lyme are exposing our bodies to die-off, and by-products of die-off such at cytokines. I have noticed at times that my skin has rapidly declined in connective tissue, and has appeared to age quickly. I have also noticed decreased hearing acuity and much-increased tinnitus. Is this normal aging, or accelerated aging? There's no way to know. This article may shed a little light on the question. My doctors are regularly writing me lab slips for testing oxidative stress and prescribing high levels of vitamin C, glutathione, NAC, folinic acid, and vitamin B-12 as means for countering the oxidative stress that long-term antibiotic therapy can cause.

The following story is based on materials provided by Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard.

New Insights Into How Antibiotics Damage Human Cells Suggest Novel Strategies for Making Long-Term Antibiotic Use Safer

July 3, 2013 — A team of scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University has discovered why long-term treatment with many common antibiotics can cause harmful side effects -- and they have uncovered two easy strategies that could help prevent these dangerous responses. They reported the results in the July 3rd issue of Science Translational Medicine.

"Clinical levels of antibiotics can cause oxidative stress that can lead to damage to DNA, proteins and lipids in human cells, but this effect can be alleviated by antioxidants," said Jim Collins, Ph.D., who led the study. Collins, a pioneer of synthetic biology and Core Faculty member at the Wyss Institute, is also the William F. Warren Distinguished Professor at Boston University, where he leads the Center of Synthetic Biology.
Doctors often prescribe antibiotics freely, thinking that they harm bacteria while leaving human tissue unscathed. But over the years reports have piled up about the occasional side effects of various antibiotics, including tendonitis, inner-ear problems and hearing loss, diarrhea, impaired kidney function, and other problems.
Collins suspected these side effects occurred when antibiotics triggered oxidative stress -- a condition in which cells produce chemically reactive oxygen molecules that damage the bacteria's DNA and enzymes, as well as the membrane that encloses the cell.
Collins' team had already discovered that antibiotics that kill bacteria do so by triggering oxidative stress in the bacteria. They wondered whether antibiotics caused side effects by triggering oxidative stress in the mitochondria, a bacterium-like organelle that supplies human cells with energy.
Sameer Kalghatgi, Ph.D., a former postdoctoral fellow in Collins' laboratory who is now Senior Plasma Scientist at EP Technologies in Akron, Ohio, and Catherine S. Spina, a M.D./Ph.D. candidate at Boston University and researcher at the Wyss Institute, first tested whether clinical levels of three antibiotics -- ciprofloxacin, ampicillin, kanamycin -- each cause oxidative stress in cultured human cells. They found that all of these drugs were safe after six hours of treatment, but longer-term treatment of about four days caused the mitochondria to malfunction.
Kalghatgi and Spina then did a series of biochemical tests, which showed that the same three antibiotics damaged the DNA, proteins and lipids of cultured human cells -- exactly what one would expect from oxidative stress.
The results mean that "doctors should only prescribe antibiotics when they're called for, and patients should only ask for antibiotics when they have a serious bacterial infection," Collins said.
The team also treated mice with the same three antibiotics in mouse-sized doses similar to what patients receive in the clinic. Long-term treatment with each of the three antibiotics damaged the animal's lipids and caused levels of glutathione, one of the body's natural antioxidants, to fall -- another sign of oxidative stress.
To make a difference in the clinic, however, the scientists still needed a way to prevent antibiotic-induced oxidative stress -- or a way to remediate it as it was occurring. They found both. They were able to prevent oxidative stress by using a bacteriostatic antibiotic -- an antibiotic such as tetracycline that stops bacteria from multiplying but doesn't kill them. They could also ease oxidative stress by mopping up chemically reactive oxygen molecules with an FDA-approved antioxidant called N-acetylcysteine, or NAC, that's already used to help treat children with cystic fibrosis.
The new results come on the heels of two other recent breakthroughs on antibiotic treatment from Collins' group -- a report in Nature showing that viruses in the gut that infect bacteria harbor genes that confer antibiotic resistance, and another report in Science Translational Medicine showing that silver can boost the effectiveness of many widely used antibiotics.
"Jim and his team are moving at lightning speed toward unlocking the medical mysteries that stand in the way of safe and effective antibiotic treatment," said Don Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., Wyss Institute Founding Director. "Doctors have known for years that antibiotics occasionally cause serious side effects, and Jim's new findings offer not one but two exciting new strategies that could address this long-neglected public health problem."
Next, Collins plans more animal studies to work out the best ways to remediate oxidative stress. But since both bacteriostatic antibiotics and NAC are already FDA-approved, doctors might be using this strategy soon.
"We're interested in seeing if this could be moved toward the clinic," Collins said.

Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard.
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:
  1. Sameer Kalghatgi, Catherine S. Spina, James C. Costello, Marc Liesa, J. Ruben Morones-Ramirez, Shimyn Slomovic, Anthony Molina, Orian S. Shirihai, and James J. Collins.Bactericidal Antibiotics Induce Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Oxidative Damage in Mammalian CellsScience Translational Medicine, 3 July 2013 DOI:10.1126/scitranslmed.3006055

Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard (2013, July 3). New insights into how antibiotics damage human cells suggest novel strategies for making long-term antibiotic use safer. ScienceDaily

Friday, July 26, 2013

Can Statins Fend Off Parkinson's Disease?

Published: Jul 25, 2013 | Updated: Jul 25, 2013
By Nancy Walsh, Staff Writer, MedPage Today
Reviewed by F. Perry Wilson, MD, MSCE; Instructor of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Action Points
Note that this large Chinese population study demonstrated that patients who continued their statin medication even after meeting LDL goals had a markedly reduced risk of Parkinson's disease.

Be aware that the nonrandomized nature of this study may introduce bias -- those who continue medications may engage in other healthy behaviors that reduce PD risk.
Patients who take statins to lower cholesterol may also protect themselves against Parkinson's disease, a Chinese population-based study suggested.

Compared with individuals who stopped taking statins when the low density lipoprotein target was met, those who continued on lipophilic statins had a hazard ratio of 0.42 (95% CI 0.27-0.64) for developing Parkinson's disease, according to Jou-Wei Lin, MD, PhD, of National Taiwan University in Taipei, and colleagues.

See the story:

Thursday, July 25, 2013

DEET vs. Permethrin for tick repellent?

Wondering which insect repellent to use to prevent getting Lyme disease?

deet side effects efficacyDEET is an active ingredient in most mosquito repellents, but is, unfortunately, not particularly effective at keeping ticks at bay. Permethrin is much more effective at keeping ticks under control but there are concerns over the possible connection between the product and Gulf War Syndrome. The efficacy of permethrin compared to DEET was studied by the Minnesota Insect-Borne Disease Education Council as part of field research. Duranon (a 0.5% permethrin solution) outperformed DEET in spectacular fashion as those ticks coming into contact with a shoe sprayed with Duranon three weeks earlier curled up and fell off the shoe whereas ticks continued to walk around unimpeded on a shoe recently sprayed with 35% DEET. DEET is, however, an effective fish repellent, which can explain why some river-fishermen have a hard time catching their supper if using the insect repellent over permethrin which seems to have little effect on fish.

Permethrin – Effective Against Ticks?

Unlike DEET, which is applied to the skin, permethrin is an insecticide applied to clothes and a single application may provide protection against ticks carrying Lyme disease for several weeks if not washed off. The chemical is derived from constituents of chrysanthemum plants and is odorless once applied to clothing and left to air-dry. Those spending considerable time outdoors are often advised to have a separate set ....
Read the rest of the story here:

Lyme (borreliosis) and Your Skin

I've been noticing weird stuff happen to my skin the last few years:

1. Additional pigmentation around my lower right leg,
2. Lots of new spider veins on my thighs appearing relatively quickly. This started recently.
3. Very rapid onset of wrinkles on the backs of my hands.
4. Increased transparency of skin on my hands, especially. 
5. Leatherlike skin on the soles of my feet.

I have been told by my LLMD that Bartonella can do some of this, especially the spider veins. Whatever the cause(s), my interest perked up when I found the following citation:

Lyme borreliosis and skin.

Authors: Vasudevan B, Chatterjee M

Citation: Indian J Dermatol 2013(May); 58(3): 167-74.

Location: Department of Dermatology, Command Hospital, Pune, Maharashtra, India.

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5154.110822

Lyme disease is a multisystem illness which is caused by the strains of spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato and transmitted by the tick, Ixodes. Though very commonly reported from the temperate regions of the world, the incidence has increased worldwide due to increasing travel and changing habitats of the vector. Few cases have been reported from the Indian subcontinent too. Skin manifestations are the earliest to occur, and diagnosing these lesions followed by appropriate treatment, can prevent complications of the disease, which are mainly neurological. The three main dermatological manifestations are erythema chronicum migrans, borrelial lymphocytoma and acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans. Many other dermatological conditions including morphea, lichen sclerosis and lately B cell lymphoma, have been attributed to the disease. Immunofluorescence and polymerase reaction tests have been developed to overcome the problems for diagnosis. Culture methods are also used for diagnosis. Treatment with Doxycycline is the mainstay of management, though prevention is of utmost importance. Vaccines against the condition are still not very successful. Hence, the importance of recognizing the cutaneous manifestations early, to prevent systemic complications which can occur if left untreated, can be understood. This review highlights the cutaneous manifestations of Lyme borreliosis and its management.


Heart-stopping Ticks

Authors: Karmacharya P, Aryal MR

Citation: World J Cardiol 2013(May); 5(5): 148-150.

Location: Paras Karmacharya, Madan Raj Aryal, Department of Medicine, Reading Health System, West Reading, PA 19611, United States.

DOI: 10.4330/wjc.v5.i5.148

Although Lyme carditis is relatively rare within 4-6 wk of exposure, it can uncommonly present as the first sign of disseminated Lyme disease. Here we present a 17 year old boy who presented to the emergency department with chest discomfort and was later found to have complete atrioventricular block due to Lyme carditis. He had uneventful recovery after empiric treatment with ceftriaxone (antibiotic). Our case highlights the importance of considering reversible causes of complete AV block since appropriate therapy can avoid the need for permanent pacemaker insertion.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

OMG Department: Hearing head noises

Noises in tourist's head were from flesh-eating maggots (yuk!)

LONDON (Reuters) - A British woman returned from a holiday in Peru hearing scratching noises inside her head to be told she was being attacked by flesh-eating maggots living inside her ear.

Rochelle Harris, 27, said she remembered dislodging a fly from her ear while in Peru but thought nothing more of it until she started getting headaches and pains down one side of her face and woke up in Britain one morning with liquid on her pillow.

Thinking she had a routine ear infection caused by a mosquito bite, she sought medical treatment at the Royal Derby Hospital in northern England, where a consultant noticed maggots in a small hole in her ear-canal.

"I was very scared. Were they in my brain?" said Harris, recounting her ordeal in a new Discovery Channel documentary series called "Bugs, Bites and Parasites" to be aired in the UK from July 21.

Doctors tried first to flush the maggots out of the ear using olive oil.

"It was the longest few hours that I have ever had to wait... I could still feel them and hear them and knowing what those scratching sounds were, and knowing what that wriggling feeling was, that just made it all the worse," she said.

When flushing the maggots out failed, the medics resorted to surgery and found a "writhing mass of maggots" within her ear, raising concern they could eat into her brain.

The surgery removed a family of eight maggots. Analysis found that a New World Army Screw Worm fly had laid eggs inside Harris's ear.

"I'm not so squeamish around those kinds of bugs now. How can I be? They've been in my ear!" Harris said.

(Reporting By Amritha John; Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)

See the original story:

Silver Makes Antibiotics Thousands of Times More Effective

The antimicrobial treatment could help to solve modern bacterial resistance
(Image: Wikimedia Commons/Riraq25)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A New Three-Part Lyme Video by Alan Macdonald

Richard Longland has produced a new Video on Lyme disease with an interview with well-known Lyme researcher, Alan Macdonald. There are supplementary, educational images added to the video to increase the viewer's understanding. Alan Macdonald continues to do cutting-edge research on chronic Lyme and other tick-borne infections.

The video is 26 minutes in length. Alan describes his history of research, how he became interested in human pathology and Lyme research, specifically, his interest in tissue tropisms in infectious disease. 
This talk should be required listening for anyone treating, living with, or studying Lyme disease.


Comments? (To add your comment, click the comments link below.)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Natural tick repellant for yard

Here's an article about an approach you can use to keep ticks out of your yard.

5 Ways to Keep Lyme Disease out of Your Yard

Ticks are nasty little critters. Not only is your blood their preferred food, in the process of sucking it they can transmit Lyme disease into your system. Infection can produce headache, fever, and other unpleasant symptoms. Without proper Lyme disease treatment, the disease can linger on for years with a wide range of side effects, from sore joints and memory problems to panic attacks and acid reflux, according to the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society. While some lawn-lovers turn to chemical interventions to keep ticks out of their yards, there are natural tick repellents to protect your yard and other tactics that include safer ways to make your property less appealing to those wee bloodsuckers. Here's how:

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

BIG Collection of Support Services and Links

This just came across my 'desk', (virtually speaking). It's an impressive collection of Lyme info, including legal resources, free clinics, Rx sources, SSDI representation, even services that help fly Lyme patients to doctors when they can't afford to travel, articles about prevention, and much more:

Brain Scan Cleared to Diagnose ADHD in Kids

A little off-topic from Lyme and Parkinson's, but relates to Lyme since some Lyme patients have children with ADHD. Personally, when my symptoms are exacerbated, I myself become less focused and am more likely to abandon a task and move to a new one. My friends have mentioned that I can be easily distracted. This issue was not typical before I got sick. Back in my prime (before 2002) I successfully authored many long technical books, did a high-tech startup as a principal, etc. Single-tasking rather than multi-tasking is something I have heard many Lymies claim is difficult for them.  Memory impairment may be part of the problem. Common examples: 

Why did I walk into this room? 
Did I take my pills yet? 
I know we have met, but I don't remember your face, where we met, or what your name is.
What day (month, year) is it? 


Begin forwarded message:

Brain Scan Cleared to Diagnose ADHD in Kids

WASHINGTON July 15, 2013 (AP)
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first medical scan that can help diagnose attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children by measuring brain waves.
The agency said Monday it cleared the NEBA system to help confirm ADHD for people ages 6 to 17. Doctors can use the device to confirm an ADHD diagnosis or to determine if more testing is necessary.

The device, from Augusta, Ga.-based NEBA Health, measures the frequency of two standard brain waves known as theta and beta waves. Children with ADHD tend to have a higher ratio of these waves than children who don't have the disorder.

The FDA approved the 15- to 20-minute test based on a study of 275 patients who had attention or behavioral issues. Clinicians evaluated the patients using the NEBA Health System as well as standard diagnostic tools like behavioral questionnaires, IQ tests and physical exams. An independent group of researchers then reviewed the data and reached a consensus on whether each patient had ADHD or not. The study results showed that use of the NEBA System helped doctors make a more accurate diagnosis than using traditional methods alone.

"Diagnosing ADHD is a multistep process based on a complete medical and psychiatric exam," said Christy Foreman, director of FDA's Office of Device Evaluation, in a statement. "The NEBA System along with other clinical information may help health care providers more accurately determine if ADHD is the cause of a behavioral problem."
Estimates of ADHD in U.S. children vary, but the American Psychiatric Association states that it affects 3 to 7 percent of school-aged children.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

New Book on Lyme

PJ Langhoff has written a new book and is making literally nothing from the sales of her new book.

It is more important for her with this particular book to make it available to everyone anywhere, because she believes it has critical information as far as tick pathogens, and new information that should help counteract the negative attitudes in the public health arena, not only about patients, but also toward physicians.

As anyone can see from reading it, there is a host of pathogens found inside the bodies of ticks.
Because of that, there is no practical way to address these pathogens under any regimented guidelines which ignore most of these infections.

Downloadable book:

Amazon print book:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

New Tick-Borne Illness Discovered - Borrelia miyamotoi

New Tick-Borne Illness Discovered -
Published: Jul 1, 2013 | Updated: Jul 2, 2013
Reviewed by Robert Jasmer, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco and Dorothy Caputo, MA, BSN, RN, Nurse Plan

Researchers have discovered a new tick-borne illness whose symptoms are similar to that of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses but that does not respond to conventional doxycycline in the same way, researchers reported online in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

In areas where deer ticks are common and Lyme disease, babesiosis, and human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA) are prevalent, patients presenting with sudden fever, myalgia, leukopenia, and elevated aminotransferase levels are presumptively diagnosed with HGA, reported Hanumara Chowdri, MD, of Tufts University.

But New England researchers identified two patients from the northeastern United States who were hospitalized for presumptive HGA and treated with doxycycline -- but both patients failed to respond. A lack of response to doxycycline after more than 24 hours prompted further analysis. Borrelia miyamotoi infection was identified in these patients who previously would have been reported to the...

Read the rest of the story here:

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Neurological manifestations of human babesiosis

Here's an academic article and additional resources about Babesia that came to my attention today. It's not free to read, unfortunately. Purchasing the article will cost you about $30. The article is about four pages long. 

Volume 114, 2013, Pages 199–203
Neuroparasitology and Tropical Neurology

Babesiosis is a worldwide emerging infectious disease caused by intraerythrocytic protozoa that are transmitted by Ixodid ticks, or less commonly through blood transfusion or transplacentally. Although headache and lethargy are common symptoms, babesiosis is uncommonly associated with specific neurological dysfunction in humans. Decreased level of consciousness or coma are rare complications that are associated with severe and often fatal disease but the pathogenesis is unclear.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tick-Borne Illness: Babesiosis a Hazard for Seniors: FDA

HealthDay news imageRisk highest in certain East Coast states

By Robert Preidt
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Related MedlinePlus Pages

TUESDAY, July 2 (HealthDay News) -- A tick-borne illness that can be severe or fatal among seniors, newborns and people with weakened immune systems is becoming more common in certain parts of the United States, federal health officials warn.

Babesiosis can cause flu or malaria-like symptoms, but young, healthy adults may have no symptoms. The illness is treated with a combination of antibiotics and anti-malaria drugs.

Babesiosis is caused by single-cell parasites called Babesia that are carried by the same kind of ticks that transmit Lyme disease. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is another disease transmitted by ticks.

"Public awareness is critical, because most cases of babesiosis can be prevented by avoiding tick bites," Mark Walderhaug, associate director for risk assessment at the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said in an FDA news release.

He was an author of an FDA study of babesiosis among the elderly that was released last year. It found that seniors in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island had the highest rates of babesiosis, and that the disease also appears to be on the rise in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Other hot spots include New Jersey, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

"Indications are that clinical cases reported are only the tip of the iceberg," said Walderhaug. "In some areas, up to 1.5 percent of the population tests positive for Babesia antibodies, meaning they have been infected at some point in the recent past."

Most people who get babesiosis are infected through tick bites, but rare cases of transmission from mother to baby during pregnancy or delivery have been reported. The parasites also can be transmitted through blood transfusions, the FDA noted.

The FDA study of seniors found that whites were more likely than blacks or Hispanics to get babesiosis, and the rates are higher for men than for women. White men had the highest rates of infection.

"We don't know if there are genetic links, but white males, many of whom spend more time outdoors, hunting, hiking, fishing and such, are more likely to be exposed to ticks," Walderhaug said. "People of both sexes and all ages and ethnic groups who go into tick-prone areas should be cautious."

SOURCE: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, news release, June 26, 2013
More Health News on:
Seniors' Health
Tick Bites

Foundation in Canada dedicated to Lyme Research

G. Magnotta Foundation for Vector-Borne Diseases becomes official Canadian registered charity
VAUGHAN, ON, Jul 3, 2013, 2013 (Menafn - Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) --Foundation is partnering with Toronto's new Humber River Hospital to establish Canada's first facility dedicated to Lyme disease and other vector-borne illnesses.

Rossana Di Zio Magnotta, president and CEO of Magnotta Winery Corporation, announced today that the G. Magnotta Foundation for Vector-Borne Diseases has been granted charitable status by the Canadian government.

Funds raised by the new foundation will be focused on establishing Canada's first facility dedicated to research, testing and treatment of Lyme disease and other vector-borne illnesses.

In addition, Magnotta announced the foundation is partnering with Toronto's new Humber River Hospital to house the facility when the state-of-the-art, acute care hospital opens in Fall 2015 in North Toronto at Keele and 401.

"We are thrilled to be working with Humber River Hospital to bring our long overdue facility for vector-borne diseases to Canada," said Magnotta. "The new Humber River Hospital is leading the way as North America's first fully digital hospital with a new model for patient care as well as aggressive green initiatives. Now it's including a world-class facility for researching Lyme disease and other vector-borne illnesses that will lead to better diagnostics and treatment for Canadians here in our own country. Currently, Canadians have had to leave Canada to get the necessary help."
Vector-borne diseases are transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected vector such as a mosquito or tick. Lyme disease is a common vector-borne disease that's currently affecting Canadians and is expected to grow.

Magnotta pointed to a recent study by the Public Health Agency of Canada and published in the Journal of Applied Technology that indicated the speed of tick invasion in eastern Canada is predicted to increase from 18% in 2010 to over 80% by 2020. Magnotta said this will likely result in a substantial increase in Lyme disease among Canadians. The two major factors dramatically influencing this rate of speed are more migratory birds carrying ticks coming across Canadian borders and climate warming.

Read the rest of the story here:

Sunday, July 7, 2013

New Tick-Borne Illness May Be Misdiagnosed

Case reports look at 2 older patients with Borrelia miyamotoi infection
By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter
MONDAY, July 1 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians say a new kind of tick-borne infection that's similar to Lyme disease can mislead doctors into thinking it's a different condition.

Borrelia miyamotoi can cause flu-like symptoms that are similar to Lyme disease, researchers found.
"In the few case reports available for patients in the U.S., symptoms of B. miyamotoi infection have included fever, fatigue, body aches, joint pain and headache," said Dr. Bobbi Pritt, director of clinical parasitology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Pritt was not involved in the research.
Researchers also think infection may cause dementia in the elderly, especially those who have conditions that weaken the immune system.
Lab tests also show low blood platelet counts and elevated liver enzymes, Pritt said...
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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Doctors urged to test for more than Lyme disease after a tick bite


The following appeared on
Doctors urged to test for more than Lyme disease after a tick bit
Date: Jul 2, 2013

Patients who test negative for Lyme disease after a suspected tick bite could instead be suffering from a recently identified illness also spread by deer ticks, a team led by Massachusetts researchers reported Monday. The paper describes two patients, one in Massachusetts and one in New Jersey, who were initially suspected of having another tick-borne disease but were instead found to have the new infection. Published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the findings underscore the increasing importance for doctors to think about more than Lyme, the region's most common tick-borne disease, when they see a patient who was or could have been bitten by a tick. The authors said the cases may also give a hint about why some patients who test negative for Lyme become sick.

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