Saturday, August 31, 2013

CNN jumps on the CDC wagon, too

Many Lymies have been scratching their heads lately, wondering if it's just fortuitous that an unusual number of articles, press releases, and TV news stories about Lyme have shown up in the last two months. Substantial pieces have been published in periodicals such as the New Yorker, Boston Globe, NY Times, Fresh Air (NPR show) and now this one, below, from CNN.

I suppose it could be just synchronicity, but as a long-term Lyme sufferer, I'm hoping it's more. Is it actually possible that all the patience, the hard work, the published research, medical conferences, letters to the editors, pleas to HMO's by late-stage Lyme victims has finally paid off? Has the ILADS contingent finally gotten an actual foot-hold in the Lyme debate? Are we, our families, and our devoted LLMDs (Lyme-Literate MDs) who have all been enduring the sisyphean task of fighting for the right to treat Lyme and Co's with evidence-based medicine, really going to result in policy changes, or is it the same old soft-shoe? Why did the CDC decide to make such a splashy PSA about something they've been estimating for years, namely that the probable number of new Lyme infected US citizens each year is a factor of 10 greater than the reported number (i.e. 300,000 instead of 30,000). 

Maybe this time, the guild of infectious diseases doctors and the insuarance companies they advise will be forced to lift the 'cone of silence' legitimizing Late-Lyme patients' demands for effective treatment options, money for research, and better, more accurate tests. 

Or, is this a much more Machiavellian move? Some LLMDs and late-Lyme patients (LLPs) speculate cynically that this scary CDC admission is just the preamble to an announcement of a new Lyme vaccine that could garner untold millions in revenue to Big Pharma and to the medical consultants who helped develop it. Sound too paranoid for you? Well, don't forget that a few years ago US Sen. Blumenthal (then Atty. Gen. of the State of Massachusetts) brought an action against the IDSA, on behalf of the citizens of the great state of Massachusetts, alleging among other things, that a significant number of members of the IDSA (Infectious diseases Society of America) Lyme contingent suffer conflicts of interest due to affiliation with those who stood to significantly profit were such a vaccine brought to market.  

I had originally intended to just post this link. Sorry. I got on a roll. 

Here's the CNN link. 


Friday, August 30, 2013


"One of the first projects should be the improvement of the test sensitivity for chronic Lyme disease patients worldwide. The European Union has spent over 1 million Euros on the development of a high-sensitive lab on a chip project which is still underway." -- Dr. Armin Schwarzbach

The CDC's new estimate this month of 300,000 cases of Lyme disease per year in the US (10 times higher than previously reported estimates) may also offer insights into the disparities surrounding reported cases versus real incidence in other countries (as discussed in my global series, Ticks). The CDC has explained that the reasons for the differences include patients who are misdiagnosed, patients who do not seek treatment and doctors who do not report cases. The dramatic increase in the number confirms that Lyme disease is a tremendous public health problem in the US and other countries, and highlights the urgent need for more education, prevention, better diagnostic tools, and better therapies.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Michael Specter interviewed by Terry Gross (NPR)

If you missed the Fresh Air interview between Terry Gross and Michal Specter, who wrote a story for the New Yorker called "Lyme Wars," here's the link:

Many listeners with Lyme disease were annoyed by this interview and his article as well. You be the judge. Certainly the story has had an impact and raised awareness about Lyme. It has helped trigger more of a debate, which is good news too, in my opinion.

For example he says that at least 36 hours are required before infection can be passed from tick to human.  This is hotly debated by some researchers who claim it may be a much shorter time.

The program is 37 minutes in length.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Homocysteine, depression and cognitive function in older adults.

Homocysteine, depression and cognitive function in older adults.

Chronic fatigue syndrome from vagus nerve infection: A psychoneuroimmunological hypothesis

Volume 81, Issue 3, September 2013, Pages 414–423


Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is an often-debilitating condition of unknown origin. There is a general consensus among CFS researchers that the symptoms seem to reflect an ongoing immune response, perhaps due to viral infection. Thus, most CFS research has focused upon trying to uncover that putative immune system dysfunction or specific pathogenic agent. However, no single causative agent has been found. In this speculative article, I describe a new hypothesis for the etiology of CFS: infection of the vagus nerve. When immune cells of otherwise healthy individuals detect any peripheral infection, they release proinflammatory cytokines. Chemoreceptors of the sensory vagus nerve detect these localized proinflammatory cytokines, and send a signal to the brain to initiate sickness behavior. Sickness behavior is an involuntary response that includes fatigue, fever, myalgia, depression, and other symptoms that overlap with CFS. The vagus nerve infection hypothesis of CFS contends that CFS symptoms are a pathologically exaggerated version of normal sickness behavior that can occur when sensory vagal ganglia or paraganglia are themselves infected with any virus or bacteria. Drawing upon relevant findings from the neuropathic pain literature, I explain how pathogen-activated glial cells can bombard the sensory vagus nerve with proinflammatory cytokines and other neuroexcitatory substances, initiating an exaggerated and intractable sickness behavior signal. According to this hypothesis, any pathogenic infection of the vagus nerve can cause CFS, which resolves the ongoing controversy about finding a single pathogen. The vagus nerve infection hypothesis offers testable hypotheses for researchers, animal models, and specific treatment strategies.

Recall of Heparin and Saline Flushes

This is a quick announcement to any of you on IV antibiotics:  There is a nationwide recall of Heparin and saline flushes made by Covidien Monoject, which is a big supplier.

If you're using flushes, check the supplier.  And send this to anyone you might know who's currently taking IV meds.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Linda Ronstadt has Parkinson's Disease, cannot sing a note

'Ronstadt says she began to show symptoms as long as eight years ago, but attributed her inability to sing then to a tick disease. When her hands began to tremble, Ronstadt said she thought the shaking was the result of a shoulder operation.'

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Global Search for Education: Norway - Ticks

Excerpt from the article:

"Oslo University biologists Morten Laane and Ivar Mysterud have discovered a method to identify Borrelia bacteria in the blood samples of patients, many of them seriously or chronically ill. Their experiments show that virtually all Borrelia bacteria are capable of changing into cyst formswithin an hour and that antibiotic medication is then unable to destroy them."  More....

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

New Lyme Culture Test Failed CDC Analysis

Well, so much for the new culture test by Advanced Labs. For a while we had at least thought that there was now a more accurate way to test for active Lyme disease in patients. It looks like the Centers for Disease Control have determined that the blood samples used for detection of the Borrelia were likely tainted with a strain of Borrelia that exists in the laboratory itself. The assertion by the CDC is that this probably lead to false positive findings of active ongoing Borrelia bergdorferi in the patients' blood cultures. It was not an inexpensive test, either. I elected to have it done on my blood shortly after the lab test became available, and it was around $600, as I recall. The results of the test on my blood was negative.

Medscape Medical News

New Lyme Culture Test Failed CDC Analysis

Janis C. Kelly

Aug 19, 2013


Eighty percent of the patient samples used to demonstrate a novel method of culturing Lyme disease spirochetes from serum contained gene sequences identical to those found in laboratory strains used to develop the test and were likely false positives, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers report in an article published online August 14 in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.   More…


Monday, August 19, 2013

Q and A Video about Lyme Disease Treatments

Here is a YouTube video of questions and answers featuring two Lyme
Disease doctors, Dan Cameron (was currrent ILADS president at that time)  and Steven Phillips (immediate past ILADS president) at a Rotary meeting in CT. 

Dr Phillips' answer to a question from the audience on their fear of 'antibiotic overuse and resultant resistance' is that resistance only really happens in hospital settings or feed lots, NOT in outpatient Lyme patients. 

Intuitive Lyme Diagnosis -- Boston Globe article

(C) Boston Globe

In Practice

Intuition told her patient had Lyme disease

 The patient, a man in his 40s, came to my office on a recent hot summer afternoon. All I'd been told before he arrived was what my secretary had typed next to his name when she scheduled the urgent appointment: "doesn't feel well." Yet somehow I felt certain, even seeing only his name and this telegraphic notation, that he'd have Lyme disease.

When I walked into the exam room I found the man lying on the table, shivering. He said he'd pulled a tick out of his skin two weeks earlier and since then his joints had been sore, his head had ached, and he'd had chills. None of this surprised me. In fact, as my patient spoke, I had the eerie feeling I knew what he would say before he said it. The only surprise was when I asked if he had a rash; he said no. But then I asked him again, and he said maybe there was a red area where his leg had chafed from lying around so much while he was ill. I peeled back the sheet to reveal what I knew I'd find: the classic, oval-shaped bullseye rash of Lyme.

The feeling of knowing something you don't have an apparent reason to know is called intuition — and doctors and nurses experience it all the time. Given how common intuition is in medicine, it's still quite hard to define.

Several studies have questioned the validity of intuitive healing, an ability claimed by some alternative practitioners. However, I do think that certain intangible factors — patients' emotions and the emotions they elicit in the clinicians caring for them, for example — can assist in diagnosis. I recall being told as a medical student that if a patient made me feel sad they were likely depressed, and if they made me angry they might have borderline personality disorder. I also learned that the most important skill I would develop as an intern was the ability to sense if someone was seriously ill — and that my most important tool for doing so was recognizing my own rush of adrenaline in encountering such a person.

Medical intuition is more than an emotional response, though. In his best-selling book, "Blink," Malcolm Gladwell argues that what we call intuition or gut feeling is often actually a logical, if abbreviated, reasoning process. Gladwell's "rapid cognition" is best exemplified by Sherlock Holmes, the literary creation of physician Arthur Conan Doyle. Holmes could, famously, extrapolate much of a person's life story from a creased sleeve or the sole of a shoe. Real and fictional diagnosticians from Sir William Osler to Dr. Gregory House have used what Holmes called "backwards reasoning" — and astonished their colleagues with what seemed uncanny clinical intuition.

In the case of my patient, my own intuition may have been somewhat Holmesian. I later realized that the appearance of the patient's name and "doesn't feel well" had initiated in me a chain of thoughts of which I was barely conscious at the time: He's always been healthy . . . rarely comes in except for routine visits . . . no mention of a single specific symptom . . . probably a systemic illness . . . most likely an infection . . . it's not flu season . . . but it is Lyme season!

I sent off blood tests for Lyme and other tick-borne infections as well as a complete blood count and metabolic screens. Meanwhile, as is recommended for people who live in areas where Lyme is prevalent and who have a typical rash and symptoms, I started him on a course of antibiotics without waiting for the test results.

The next day, I called the patient expecting him to tell me that he felt very much improved. He did not. He still had a headache and his joints still hurt. Maybe he was a tiny bit better, he said, but not much. I checked his lab results and found that everything was normal except the Lyme test, which had been read as "equivocal." Lyme tests are frequently unreliable, often negative in early cases, or falsely positive. While we waited for the results of a more sensitive Western blot test, I told my patient to stay on the antibiotics.

A few days later the Western blot came back negative. Though this result didn't completely rule out the possibility of Lyme disease, I began to feel less confident in my diagnosis. Could it be that my strong intuition had led me astray? That I'd perceived his rash as typical of Lyme because that's what I expected? I wondered if I'd failed to heed Sherlock Holmes's famous warning: "It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence."

When I called the patient again, he reported good news: within two days of starting the antibiotic, he'd felt 100 percent better. I told him to continue the full course of the medication.

Conditions such as Lyme disease, for which we do not yet have a definitive test, highlight how complicated the diagnostic process can be, involving the patient's account of his or her illness, the physician's knowledge of the body's functions and malfunctions, environmental factors, the physical examination, lab and X-ray tests, and, yes, intuition. Computers, which can process enormous amounts of data but which lack intuition, have not, as yet, proved to be infallible diagnosticians.

Philosopher and physician Hillel Braude, who has written extensively on this subject, points out that clinical intuition may be best thought of as a means of bridging the gap between what a doctor knows generally about a condition, and what he observes and feels when interacting with an individual patient.

I'll see my patient again soon and consider retesting him for Lyme. If the test is positive, my intuition will be validated. If it's negative, I'll still believe he had Lyme based on his history, his physical exam, and his response to treatment. But if he hadn't gotten better, then my initial intuition — powerful as it was — wouldn't have been worth a thing.

Dr. Suzanne Koven is a primary care internist at Massachusetts General Hospital. Read her blog at She can be reached at


CDC Estimates 300,000 New Cases of Lyme This Year


Press Release


For Immediate Release                                          Contact: CDC Media Relations

MondayAugust 19, 2013                                    (404) 639-3286


CDC provides estimate of Americans diagnosed with Lyme disease each year


Preliminary estimates released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that the number of Americans diagnosed with Lyme disease each year is around 300,000. The preliminary estimates were presented Sunday night in Boston at the 2013 International Conference on Lyme Borreliosis and Other Tick-Borne Diseases.

This early estimate is based on findings from three ongoing CDC studies that use different methods, but all aim to define the approximate number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease each year. The first project analyzes medical claims information for approximately 22 million insured people annually for six years, the second project is based on a survey of clinical laboratories and the third project analyzes self-reported Lyme disease cases from a survey of the general public.

Each year, more than 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to CDC, making it the most commonly reported tick-borne illness in the United States. The new estimate suggests that the total number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease is roughly 10 times higher than the yearly reported number.  This new estimate supports studies published in the 1990s indicating that the true number of cases is between 3- and 12-fold higher than the number of reported cases.

"We know that routine surveillance only gives us part of the picture, and that the true number of illnesses is much greater," said Paul Mead, M.D., M.P.H, chief of epidemiology and surveillance for CDC's Lyme disease program. "This new preliminary estimate confirms that Lyme disease is a tremendous public health problem in the United States, and clearly highlights the urgent need for prevention."

CDC continues to analyze the data in the three studies to refine the estimates and better understand the overall burden of Lyme disease in the United States and will publish finalized estimates when the studies are complete. Efforts are also underway at CDC and by other researchers to identify novel methods to kill ticks and prevent illness in people.

"We know people can prevent tick bites through steps like using repellents and tick checks. Although these measures are effective, they aren't fail-proof and people don't always use them," said Lyle R. Petersen, M.D., M.P.H, director of CDC's Division of Vector-Borne Diseases. "We need to move to a broader approach to tick reduction, involving entire communities, to combat this public health problem."

This community approach would involve homeowners trying to kill ticks in their own yards, and communities addressing a variety of issues. These issues include rodents that carry the Lyme disease bacteria, deer that play a key role in the ticks' lifecycle, suburban planning, and the interaction between deer, rodents, ticks, and humans. All must be addressed to effectively fight Lyme disease.

Most Lyme disease cases reported to CDC through national surveillance are concentrated heavily in the Northeast and upper Midwest, with 96 percent of cases in 13 states. Lyme disease is caused by the bacteriumBorrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.

CDC recommends people take steps to help prevent Lyme disease and other tickborne diseases:

Wear repellent

Check for ticks daily

Shower soon after being outdoors

Call your doctor if you get a fever or rash

For more information on Lyme disease, visit




U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


CDC works 24/7 saving lives and protecting people from health threats to have a more secure nation.  Whether these threats are chronic or acute, manmade or natural, human error or deliberate attack, global or domestic, CDC is the U.S. health protection agency. 





Saturday, August 17, 2013

Fwd: [CaliforniaLyme] Digest Number 4741

Here's some advice that I found on the Lyme listserv today. Thought I should share it. Thanks to Tara for writing this up.

Don't worry about not having access to supplements--supplements can actually hurt you. It's best to get everything that you need from your diet.

Inexpensive healing tools:

* heating your body, by a hot bath with Epsom Salt or the sauna. Every day, you should heat your body until you are sweating, it helps fight infections as well as cleanse toxins out of your body. Just make sure to stay hydrated, ideally by drinking coconut water. If you feel too uncomfortable, stop. Listen to what your body is telling you.

* sunshine. A little sunshine every day goes a long way.

* yoga. The deep breathing in yoga is particularly healing. You can watch free yoga videos online if you don't know know the steps (I'm not very good myself).

* laughter. This one sounds kinda crazy, but make yourself laugh into a laughing for every day. Studies have shown laughter releases chemicals in the brain that promote a feeling of wellness and healing.

* sing in the shower. Kinda like yoga, singing helps give your lungs a workout, as well as help pumps oxygen throughout your body.

* heating pad. For joints that hurt, a heating pad can help soothe pain.

* hot tea. Green tea, but there are many different kinds of teas that promote healing. Teas are very important.

* food. This one can get expensive, but it's absolutely critical. What you put in your body must be healthy all the time. Think of it, like 'is this going to help me or hurt me?'

A good source of free advice I've found over the years are the people who work in the supplement section at Whole Foods. If you explain to them your financial situation, they will still offer good suggestions and point you in the right direction. I've found most of the people who work in that department have a genuine love of healing the body naturally, and aren't trying to hustle one product or service.

I would be careful about doing hydrogen therapy or lemon water things, because you can upset your body's internal balance too much. Our bodies need a balance of electrolytes, and if we put in too much of one thing at once, it can cause us a lot of harm.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Lyme Wars — Chronic Lyme Disease Controversy And Treatment Explained

Fibromyalgia (FMS) is one of the most elusive diseases that affect the human body. Given its many vague symptoms – numbness, anxiety, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, depression and more – it's very hard to diagnose, which explains why the cause of FMS is currently unknown. Like any idiopathic disease or medical condition, not fully understanding the cause and treatment can be the most devastating part. Some experts believe FMS is related to hormonal disturbances and chemical imbalances affecting the nervous system. Others link the condition to illness, trauma or just plain stress. Still other researchers blame genetics or claim there is no explanation at all. Indeed, even today, fibromyalgia is often labeled as a somatoform disorder, meaning "it's all in the head," but anyone actually suffering from FMS will tell you this not the case.

Read the rest of the story:

Study Shows Lyme Persists in Monkeys

I posted about this in an earlier blog post, but it's good to repeat it from time to time, because so many articles keep showing up in the media (I just read another one today) that seem to miss the point that there IS evidence showing persistence of Lyme bacteria well after short-term antibiotic therapy has ended.

This is a clear, understandable, interpretation and report put together by the "Lyme disease policy wonk" at 

This is Part 1 of a series of posts I will do on this study. A new study by Drs. Monica Embers, Stephen Barthold and colleagues has found that the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) persist in monkeys after antibiotic treatment. It is the latest in a number of studies that have demonstrated persistent infection in animal models despite treatment. The issue of persistent infection in Lyme disease is a highly controversial issue. Probably the most controversial issue actually. The authors conclude that their studies "offer proof of the principle that intact spirochetes can persist in an incidental host comparable to humans, - See more at:

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Review of evidence for Immune evasion and persistent Lyme

In case you're ever wondering whether there's actually a strong argument to be made for the persistence of Lyme bacteria after antibiotic treatment, look no further. Here is a review of research papers and scientific studies addressing that issue. If you run into trouble with a medical practitioner or insurance company claiming there is no proof of persistence, and they want to take you off of antibiotics that your Lyme doctor is prescribing, you may want to refer them to this.

This is a 16-page PDF file. This literature review was published by the International Journal of General Medicine. It is an open-access, full-text article.

Off topic: Movie review -- Elysium

Yesterday I went to see Elysium at the IMAX theater in Emeryville, CA. You can save your $17. (Yes, here in the US it was $17, or $16 for seniors -- Oh boy, we saved a dollar!) There is lots of fantastic, grungy post-apocalyptic eye candy in it, yet the overall experience was very disappointing. Predictable, almost campy plot and script, an unusually disappointing performance by Jodie Foster as sinister lady, Matt Damon as Matt Damon, and way too much insipid brutality. 

The fight scenes were somewhere close to ridiculous, and shot so close and jerky that I had a hard time figuring out who was punching, knifing and shooting whom. And, of course the principal nefarious bounty hunter in search of Matt Damon sports an Australian accent that's so thick you wish they had subtitled it, and carries a Samurai sword as his primary weapon, just for the gruesomeness of it all. Carrying a sword makes a lot of sense and when you're up against ubermachine guns, laser beams and grenade launchers. The only thing missing was that cheery old line from Crocodile Dundee, "That's not a knife. THIS is a knife." 

I wouldn't have minded the violence so much if there hadn't been so many seemingly-endless minutes of it. After a while you kind of want to know what's going on and who's winning in all that hand-held, Blair Witch Projecty, slo-mo shake and blur. In the obligatory Shoot out at the OK Corral in space, the Robotically-enhanced dudes (the Aussie vs Matt) propel each other 10 or 20 feet repeatedly, landing on broken glass, spikes, pointy edges of rocket ships, being Mega-tasered, and yet never bruise or a nose-bleed.  Even Ironman would've had a short-circuit and called timeout for a reboot. (Okay, Matt Damon gets a cut on his hand once and you see a few drops of blood, and he gets a kiddy Band-Aid on his eyebrow.)

Jodie Foster (to my disappointment, since I usually enjoy her), has apparently no idea how to act the role of the despicable, Machiavellian political usurper. I think her prep for the part consisted of crib notes from Cruella Deville for Dummies. I just don't think mean is in her nature. Glenn Close must not have been available. Central Casting earned a Fail. 

And, of course, the "IMAX Experience" (probably by contractural terms with Dolby THX) requires that the sound level be cranked so high that you leave the theater with hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing). I had my trusty earplugs with me, thank goodness. Filmmakers wonder why we want to stay home and watch movies on Netflix. At least we can control the volume and cost of the popcorn.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Tick-Borne Encephalitis Vaccine

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Single-dose vaccine for tick-borne encephalitis:

Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) virus is the most important human pathogen transmitted by ticks in Eurasia. Inactivated vaccines are available but require multiple doses and frequent boosters to induce and maintain immunity. Thus far, the goal of developing a safe, live attenuated vaccine effective after a single dose has remained elusive. Here we used a replication-defective (single-cycle) flavivirus platform, RepliVax, to generate a safe, single-dose TBE vaccine. Several RepliVax-TBE candidates attenuated by a deletion in the capsid gene were constructed using different flavivirus backbones containing the envelope genes of TBE virus. RepliVax-TBE based on a West Nile virus backbone (RV-WN/TBE) grew more....

Monday, August 5, 2013

Pomegranate juice breaks down biofilms

Here's a fascinating factoid about a study of Pomegranate juice and its apparent ability to break down biofilms.

2013 Aug 1. [Epub ahead of print]

The anti-biofilm potential of pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) extract against human bacterial and fungal pathogens.


a Department of Biotechnology , Alagappa University , Karaikudi , India.


Infectious diseases caused by bacteria and fungi are the major cause of morbidity and mortality across the globe. Multi-drug resistance in these pathogens augments the complexity and severity of the diseases. Various studies have shown the role of biofilms in multi-drug resistance, where the pathogen resides inside a protective coat made of extracellular polymeric substances. Since biofilms directly influence the virulence and pathogenicity of a pathogen, it is optimal to employ a strategy that effectively inhibits the formation of biofilm. Pomegranate is a common food and is also used traditionally to treat various ailments. This study assessed the anti-biofilm activity of a methanolic extract of pomegranate against bacterial and fungal pathogens. Methanolic extract of pomegranate was shown to inhibit the formation of biofilms by Staphylococcus aureus, methicillin resistant S. aureus, Escherichia coli, and Candida albicans. Apart from inhibiting the formation of biofilm, pomegranate extract disrupted pre-formed biofilms and inhibited germ tube formation, a virulence trait, in C. albicans. Characterization of the methanolic extract of pomegranate revealed the presence of ellagic acid (2,3,7,8-tetrahydroxy-chromeno[5,4,3-cde]chromene-5,10-dione) as the major component. Ellagic acid is a bioactive tannin known for its antioxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. Further studies revealed the ability of ellagic acid to inhibit the growth of all species in suspension at higher concentrations (>75 μg ml-1) and biofilm formation at lower concentrations (<40 μg ml-1) which warrants further investigation of the potential of ellagic acid or peel powders of pomegranate for the treatment of human ailments.

[PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

See the links here, for more info:

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Man misdiagnosed with ALS has Lyme - short ABC video

Informative story about a man misdiagnosed with ALS.

Clinical evidence for rapid transmission of Lyme disease following a tickbite

Eleanor D. Hynote, Phyllis C. Mervine, Raphael B. Stricker
Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease, online before print, November 20, 2011.
 Lyme disease transmission to humans by Ixodes ticks is thought to require at least 36–48 h of tick attachment. We describe 3 cases in which transmission of Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochetal agent of Lyme disease, appears to have occurred in less than 24 h based on the degree of tick engorgement, clinical signs of acute infection, and immunologic evidence of acute Lyme disease.
 Health care providers and individuals exposed to ticks should be aware that transmission of Lyme disease may occur more rapidly than animal models suggest. A diagnosis of Lyme disease should not be ruled out based on a short tick attachment time in a subject with clinical evidence of B. burgdorferi infection.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

VA Leads the US in Informing Patients about Inaccurate Tests

Office of Governor Bob McDonnell

Governor McDonnell Ceremonially Signs the Lyme Disease Testing Information
Disclosure Act of 2013
– Legislation Makes Virginia First State to Require Health Care Providers to
Notify Those Tested for Lyme Disease That Tests Can Produce False Negatives –

June 25, 2013

Contact: Paul Shanks
Phone: (804) 225-4262

RICHMOND - Surrounded by legislators and community leaders, Governor Bob
McDonnell ceremonially signed today HB1933, the Lyme Disease Testing Information
Disclosure Act of 2013. The legislation makes Virginia the first state in the
nation to require health care providers to notify those tested for Lyme disease
that current laboratory testing can produce false negatives, especially in the
early stage of the disease.

Speaking today about the bill signing, Governor McDonnell, "This legislation is
a major milestone in the fight against Lyme disease and an important step
towards ensuring the continuing health and welfare of Virginians. We must
continue to work together to make certain that all Virginians are properly
educated on the dangers of Lyme disease."

Delegate Barbara Comstock states, "When the Lyme Disease Testing Information
Disclosure Act goes into effect on July 1st, we will have a patient-centered
solution that gets information about testing problems directly to those
suffering from Lyme Disease so they can seek additional testing, if necessary,
as well as appropriate treatment. I would like to give a special thanks to
Governor McDonnell for his support of this legislation and to the National
Capital Lyme Disease Association for their grassroots commitment to ensuring
that this effort was a successful one."

Monte Skall, Executive Director of the National Capital Lyme and Tick-borne
Disease Association, adds that "With the passing of the Lyme Disease Testing
Information Disclosure Act of 2013, Virginia has established itself as a leader
in the fight against this dreadful disease and serves as a model for state
action across the country."

Today's bill signing was held at Claude Moore Park in the heart of Loudoun
County, Virginia. Speaking on behalf of the Board of Supervisors and the Loudoun
County Lyme Disease Commission, Chairman York says "I am very pleased that
Governor McDonnell has chosen to sign this important bill here in Loudoun County
as our Board of Supervisors continues its aggressive approach in slowing the
rate of Lyme disease with a 10-point-plan to mitigate this devastating illness.
We have taken an aggressive approach to slowing the rate of the disease by
raising awareness and educating residents on prevention measures in that we had
219 recorded cases of Lyme disease in Loudoun County last year."

Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United
States. The Virginia Department of Health reports that there were an estimated
1,110 cases of Lyme disease in the state in 2012, up 9 percent from 2011. Cases
were reported in all regions of the state.

For more information about Lyme disease please view the Virginia Department of
Health Lyme Disease Fact Sheet at: or
contact Maribeth Brewster at (804) 864-7008 or at

# # #

Study: Statins Might Reduce Parkinson's Risk

Posted by  Nate Herpich, July 30, 2013

Study: Statins Might Reduce Parkinson's Risk

Could that medication you're taking to lower your cholesterol also prevent Parkinson's disease (PD)?

Maybe, says a new population-based study from researchers at National Taiwan University in Taipei, which found that, in particular, individuals taking simvastatin (Zocor) and atorvastatin (Lipitor) had a lowered risk of developing PD.

According to MedPage Today, scientists hypothesize that the reduced risk seen in the study may be due to "the powerful anti-inflammatory properties of statins and the ability of the lipophilic subclass to cross the blood-brain barrier," which, in turn, "might be helpful in preventing the neuronal degeneration seen in Parkinson's disease."

The study authors admitted that long-term follow-up studies are needed to really understand if statins might reduce Parkinson's risk.

Read the rest of the story: