Friday, April 25, 2014

Free Lyme culture test!

It just came to my attention that there's an opportunity for getting a free Advanced Laboratories Services Borrelia culture test which is normally runs about $600. 

This is both for people who may have Lyme disease and for healthy controls (meaning people who do not have Lyme disease). Both classes of subjects are needed for the collection of data for a study. So, if you are not sick but have friends or family who have Lyme disease, you can help contribute to the search for a cure simply by supplying some blood, at no cost to you.

Go to the following link and scroll down to News and Announcements. Then read about the opportunity for the free culture test. If you think you may have Lyme disease, this is the most conclusive test I know of. I would take the opportunity to engage in the study if I were you.

Here's the text, so you can read it here if you want to:

Advanced Laboratory is participating in a collaborative research study involving a blood culture test for detecting Lyme Disease. They are in need of both healthy patients with NO history of Lyme or tick bites, as well as patients with a current Lyme infection who meet the CDC surveillance case definition for Lyme Disease. If anyone is interested in participating and believes they fall into one of these categories, please call us at 714-667-5222 or email The sample will be processed free of charge to you!

The criteria are as follows:
Suspected Lyme-Infected Patients:
• Physician/health care practitioner-diagnosed erythema migrans rash, measuring at least 5 cm in average diameter
•CDC-recognized rheumatologic, neurologic, cardiac or skin signs of Lyme, not caused by another obvious concurrent illness PLUS a positive two-tier Lyme serology as currently defined by the CDC (copy of reports required for study enrollment)
In addition, the patient:
• Is currently displaying signs and symptoms consistent with an active Borrelia infection
• Is NOT currently on antibiotics, and has not been exposed to antibiotics during the prior four weeks
• Is willing and able to have EIGHT 9cc Vacutainer tubes drawn at one time

Healthy Control Patients:
• No history of tick bites OR of Lyme Disease
• Has never displayed any signs/symptoms consistent with Lyme Disease
• Is NOT currently on antibiotics, and has not been exposed to antibiotics during the prior four weeks
• Is willing and able to have EIGHT 9cc Vacutainer tubes drawn at one time

Yolanda Foster Recovering From Surgery Related to Lyme Disease

Yolanda Foster underwent surgery on Friday, Apr. 19, to remove a port in her arm used to treat her chronic Lyme disease. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star tweeted a picture of herself in the hospital and called it an "exciting day."

The Dutch model, 49, announced she was having the port implanted via Twitter in December 2012. "I need to start my treatment for Neuro Borellia Lyme disease," she explained. "I can't wait to get my energy back." (A port is a medical device implanted under a patient's skin that is used to administer frequent drug injections; it also draws blood for tests. The implantation and removal of the port are done under local anesthesia and mild sedation.)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Inspirational thoughts

If you've been following my blog for a while, you know this isn't my usual post. But it came my attention this morning and so I thought I would pass it on. Many years ago, when I think it was first sick with Lyme disease, one of the things that helped me out of it was positive thinking. I later learned meditation and that didn't require any visualization or any kind of positive thinking, per se. The positivity just came raining down on me automatically. But prior to that, I think it was Norman Vincent Peal's book, The Power of Positive Thinking that got me started on the mind-body connection. In retrospect, I have to say there is some value in it or was for me, at least. my very deep depression at the time started to lift, and I felt like I was pulling myself up by my own bootstraps by keeping a positive attitude around what was happening to me.

I've been thinking recently about what I feed my mind before I go to sleep. I've been watching episodes of Breaking Bad, True Detective, and other gnarly yet interesting, well-made, incredibly well acted TV series and movies before going to bed. Realizing that I felt extra funky in the morning, I decided to switch to watching Glee! and Friday Night Lights episodes, just to see what might happen. At first my critical mind couldn't find insipid enough words to describe Glee! And I'm really not into football, so why would I be interested in Friday Night Lights? Well, both series turned out to be deeper than I had expected, I often found myself getting teary-eyed especially during episodes of Friday Night Lights. I began to realize I actually needed some emotional release in the "good feelings" department, and desperately needed some inspiration around the enterprise of life itself. So I gorged, as they say, on FML, and ran out of those episodes, and currently on season three of glee. Anyhow, when this email came in this morning I skimmed over it, resonatef with a lot of what it said, and thought I would pass it on. Just a disclaimer here. I'm not advertising for this person, and don't even know who she is.

Dear Bob,

If you're like many others who are drawn to my work, then  more than ever before, you probably want to do something truly worthwhile with your life.

You may already be feeling alive and passionate about where your life is right now, or you may still be yearning for a deeper sense of direction and meaning.

But I'm sure you realize that even as profound as discovering your life's purpose might be, it alone isn't enough.

You need to be able to integrate that purpose into your everyday interactions—with your family and your coworkers, with friends and strangers . . . and with yourself.

And unless you know how to creatively express your purpose in every moment, it can often stay buried within you. And that won't truly benefit you or the rest of the world.

My upcoming advanced course, Living Your Supreme Destiny,explores a whole new toolkit of exercises and practices designed to take you on a deep journey to develop your spiritual, psychological, mythological, and sensory-physical realms.

And today I want to share with you a few powerful techniques I'll be teaching in the course:


In Session Two of Living Your Supreme Destiny, I'll give you a tool to help you release the psychological barriers that are perhaps keeping you stuck in old habits and ways of thinking.

Being able to release your brain from the familiar patterns that keep you operating in the same outmoded way can be like waking up from a dream.

It can allow you to suddenly recognize how day after day, month after month, year after year, you've been running on "automatic."

You may have the same thoughts and problems today that you had a year ago, maybe even five years ago. Talk about stuck!

In recognizing this, you may see that you've not made much progress in releasing yourself from your ordinary destiny.

"Ordinary destiny" is the destiny of chasing the "American Dream" and settling for creature comforts, or the things we're told by society will make us happy and whole.

While occasionally pleasant, ordinary destiny leaves you feeling empty, and haunted by your dreams of a life that you know in your heart is possible (and has nothing to do with where you live, how much money you have, or what kind of car you drive).

When you liberate yourself from your ordinary destiny and embrace instead a life of true creativity and inspiration aligned with your highest purpose, you may feel that you're doing what you've been called to do.

Everything falls into place and synchronicity abounds.

There is clarity to everything, and those around you feel nourished and enriched for knowing you.

One way to clear away the habits of consciousness that keep you stuck—or as I call it, sustain the brain's cataracts, mental and emotional delusions, and disappointments with life—is to restock your mind.
There are three practical ways of doing this . . .
1. Read something inspirational and beautiful before bed.

What do you read, listen to, or watch before bedtime? Do you watch the news, which is filled with stories of tragedy and violence? Do you read crime thrillers? Do you surf the Internet looking for controversial stories and get upset after reading the comments sections?
I would challenge you to pattern your mind with useful, empowering, and inspirational thoughts instead. Read a book about nature, beauty, enlightenment, overcoming, or transcending. Read about success stories and tales of adventure that show the power of the human spirit.
By filling your mind with these kinds of thoughts before sleep, you will literally be reprogramming it to different modes of problem solving, and more optimistic and creative channels of consciousness.
2. Write down positive memories and relive them in your mind, over and over. 
Is there something you've done in the past few years that you're particularly proud of? Maybe you had something occur that surprised and amazed you about yourself and your abilities. 
Write these down and remind yourself of your power and creativity.
3. Choose your mood. 
We have an uncanny ability as human beings to be able to mirror our emotional state of mind with our physical way of being. 
Choose a mood you'd like to feel. How will you walk to demonstrate that mood? How will you sit? What will your facial expression be? How will you speak with others?
Choose a positive mood and be conscious and mindful to reflect that state of mind through your physical being. In doing so, you'll improve the way you actually feel, create more positive interactions with family, co-workers and friends, and maybe even improve your wellbeing!
Now, the three tips I've just given you to help you restock your mind and release your creative barriers will allow you to make real changes in how you think, act, and show up in everyday life.
It's how you can step out of the ordinary and into a new world of the extraordinary.
And that's just the beginning. There's so much more I'll be sharing with you in the weeks and months to come.
To your highest purpose,
P.S.  Watch your inbox next week for an email inviting you to a free online seminar on Tuesday, May 6th at 5pm Pacific Time, where I'll reveal "The Keys To Living Your Supreme Destiny."
During that seminar, I'll give even more practical advice on how to move closer to your creative gifts and innate talents, so that you can realize your highest purpose!

 This email was sent by: Jean Houston - Evolving Wisdom
369-B Third Street, Suite 302 San Rafael, CA, 94901
© 2014 Jean Houston - Evolving Wisdom - All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Coconut oil for Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Lyme?

Through a funny series of coincidences tonight while looking for some information about whether Sinemet can be ingested sublingually more quickly than through the gut, I came across a website by a person who has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Apparently he has improved markedly through the daily ingestion of coconut oil. 

I continue to be surprised by just how many times I have bumped into discussions of coconut oil as the solution for any number of maladies including neurodegenerative diseases. About three years ago I interviewed a fellow who was teaching a medical Chi gong class here in Berkeley that I was taking on Saturday mornings. He told the class that he had been severely disabled and had come back more or less from the dead via Chi gong and some other things. Since I tend to leave no stone unturned in my research for my own healing, I made an appointment for a private consultation with him to pick his brain a bit more. Whatever he had, whatever diet or whatever exercises he was doing, I wanted it.

In our meeting he began by telling me his story of being an extremely vigorous outdoorsman for all of his adult life. He used to do stuff like river rafting down rapids on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Then, for unknown reasons, he suddenly crashed and burned. Diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, and having very little energy whatsoever, he became very depressed and hopeless. Like many of us who have been diagnosed with mysterious diseases for which medical science has very little in the way of solutions, he began digging into the Internet and any literature he could find about treatments for CFS. 

After all of his research, he ended up finding two things that works for him: medical Chi Gong and coconut oil. By the time I met him he seemed like a very vigorous athlete, both optimistic and helpful, and I quite liked his style of teaching medical Chi Gong. As he told me his story, however, I was dubious. I thought this is really just too far out and his healing must be coincidental, not caused by by coconut oil or Chi Gong, merely correlated with it. I mean, coconut oil? The stuff looks like Crisco. It's got to be blocking up his arteries. As for the Chi Gong, that seemed even stranger to me, after having taken only a couple of classes. It just looks like you're standing there and slowly moving your body this way and that, and visualizing energy coming out of nowhere and coursing through your body. 

I've seen a lot of health fads come and go in my 61 years of life. This coconut oil thing is just another fad preying on the hopes and fears of the general public. 

Well, fast forward a couple of years. I'm not totally a convert yet, but I do like coconut oil, I know it has a higher "smoke point" than does olive oil, so I know it's better for cooking at high temperatures. At high temperatures it doesn't turn into trans fats nearly as readily as olive oil does, for example. And, since it doesn't burn as readily, my food tastes better. I figure it can't hurt, so I use it for doing stirfries, frying eggs, etc. And, I'm still doing the medical Chi Gong. I've met a number of people who have benefited from it and so have I. You can read other posts on this blog that describe my friend Bianca, who now claims to be Parkinson's free as a result of intensive (3 hours per day) practice of medical Chi Gong.

I keep seeing more and more articles about the miraculous characteristics of coconut oil, including claims that it is a natural antibiotic and even has some antiviral qualities. (Not dissimilar from garlic in both of these departments.) Since then,I have begun eating coconut oil on a pretty regular basis. I have not been very religious about it, however, but after seeing this video and reading the associated website link which will also include here, I'm going to up my dose to somewhere in the vicinity of 8 tablespoons per day. I will keep you posted on how it goes. 

Apparently, this fellow who has the blog about his Parkinson's disease improvements believes that he owes his improving health to the coconut oil and a change of diet. From what I can gather, he did both pretty much at the same time. It seems he eliminated high glycemic foods, including grains, sugar, and concentrated fruit juice from his diet.

Okay. So much for my preamble. Here is the website:

And here is a video about someone improving from Alzheimer's symptoms by using coconut oil:

Please leave comments and tell me what you think. If you have been experimenting with coconut oil, I would like to hear your stories. And also I want to encourage you to subscribe to my blog so you will get new posts in email and you don't have to come back to the website to check for new postings.


Sunday, April 20, 2014


James Schaller, MD has written a new book about treating biofilms. As many Lyme patients no, biofilms are the protective structures, mucosal in nature, that helps Borrelia and other microorganisms to hide from the host's immune system. Penetrating the biofilms so that antibiotics can actually get to and kill off Borrelia is part of the treatment for chronic Lyme disease. Achieving this goal isn't particularly straightforward. This book goes into details about how and why. Looks like a good book.

New resesrch on PLDTS

Here's a newsletter that was sent out this morning with a notation of a study just released. 

Dear friends,

When the Lyme Disease Research Foundation embarked on the SLICE clinical research program (Study of Lyme disease Immunology and Clinical Events) in 2007, pioneering collaborations and trailblazing research breakthroughs were envisioned. We are delivering on that vision with important insights into the pathophysiology of Lyme disease.

Our newest publication, "Serum Inflammatory Mediators as Markers of Human Lyme Disease Activity", has just been published in the medical journal, PLOS ONE, with an accompanying press release from Johns Hopkins University. (see links below)

This is the first publication from a groundbreaking collaboration between the research teams of Dr. John Aucott (MD), Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Founder and President of the Lyme Disease Research Foundation, Dr. Mark Soloski (PhD), Professor of Medicine, Pathology, Molecular Biology & Genetics and Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and Dr. William Robinson (MD, PhD), Associate Professor Division of Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine.

This leading-edge research identifies human inflammatory responses to Lyme disease including relevant immune signatures and potential biomarkers. The research establishes evidence of persistent post-antibiotic immunologic mechanisms and inflammation. The investigation also validates the variability in human immune responses to Lyme disease, with severity and progression differing from individual to individual. The study shows the patterns of serum inflammatory mediators (cytokine/chemokine signaling signatures) before and after antibiotic treatment that are foundational to understanding which patients recover and which continue with prolonged post-antibiotic treatment illness. Results confirm that not all patients react to infection with the same immune response, putting some at risk of ongoing inflammation and poor outcomes. This research lays the foundation for determining which components of variability in the Lyme disease immune signature are most predictive of disease progression or resolution.

CDC acknowledges 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease in the US yearly and research indicates approximately 10-20% of patients treated for early Lyme disease develop a chronic syndrome known as post-treatment Lyme disease. A differentiated Lyme disease immune signature is vitally important for improving diagnostics and the measurement of disease progression in this increasingly prevalent, rapidly escalating infectious disease.

The Lyme Disease Research Foundation was founded in 2007 with the scientific mission of conducting translational clinical research to discover biomarkers to improve the diagnosis and therapeutic management of patients with all stages of Lyme disease. Our ongoing SLICE Studies, the first prospective, controlled studies on early Lyme disease in the US, have produced a 'gold standard' biorepository of well-characterized blood and tissue samples. This valuable research resource enables us to collaborate with leading academic research scientists and centers to progress the Lyme disease research field. Pivotal research emerging from our collaborations, including today's publication, advances the understanding of disease mechanisms important to improving diagnostics, treatments and outcomes for patients.

We thank our collaborators and financial supporters for their efforts, dedication and funding, without which this crucial progress would not be possible.

We are grateful for your continued interest and support.

Best regards,

Nancy Dougherty

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Generic Mepron, finally!

If you have been diagnosed with Babesia, then your doctor has probably prescribed an oral liquid drug called Mepron. At least in my experience, my insurance company would not spring for the drug. If you've been in my boat, you know that it costs about $1000 dollars a bottle, out-of-pocket.

Glaxo/SmithKline has a little bit of compassion for those in extreme poverty, via their program called Bridges to Access. If you can show low enough income, this 'big pharma' company will sometimes take pity on you and give you a bottle or two for free. That worked for me, once. To their credit, they actually did send me two free bottles. You have to jump through hoops by proving that you're disabled, and/or showing your tax returns for the previous year, and whatnot. Probably only folks inside the company know exactly what the secret recipe is for qualifying. However, many financially-strapped Lyme patients who have (or whose doctors suspect they have) Babesia have been forced to use a previous generation drug, similar to Mepron, called Malarone. Like Mepron, Malarone is an antimalarial drug that is also effective at killing Babesia and actually makes it into the brain which is where "Babs" likes to do its dirty work. Malarone is more likely to be covered by typical insurance drug plans. However, Malarone has some funky side effects such as nightmares. So, it was exciting to see this piece of news come across my desk today:

FDA approves Amneal Pharmaceuticals' ANDA for atovaquone oral suspension

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Depression and Suicide in Lyme disease

I just went into Brian Fallon's Columbia University website and discovered this blog with archived broadcasts.

Monday, April 14, 2014

BBC News: Living organ regeneration 'first'

Living organ regeneration 'first'

An elderly organ in a living animal has been regenerated into a youthful state by DNA manipulation for the first time, UK researchers say.

Read more:

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Melatonin can be neuroprotective against Parkinson's disease?

First, here is a link about neuroprotective properties of certain spices. Scroll down to 

For brain to optimally produce melatonin at night you need a very dark room (can 
not see your hand in front of face) It appears a sleep mask over eyes does help. 

Some earlier research had seemed to show light anywhere on body was a problem 
but this is in doubt now. Article below from life extension.

Melatonin may protect against Parkinson's disease
The theory that Parkinson's disease has an environmental cause has recently 
gained credence. A study published in the December 2000 issue of the journal 
Nature Neuroscience demonstrated that the pesticide Rotenone caused Parkinson's 
symptoms  when administered to rats. The article indicated that Rotenone may 
cause  the mitochondria, which are the power plants of the cells, to produce  
free radicals, thereby causing the damage that leads to Parkinson's  disease.
In a study published in the  January 1, 2001 issue of the Federation of American 

Societies for  Experimental Biology or FASEB journal, researchers injected the  
neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) into the right substantia nigra of  the 
brains of rats. This neurotoxin produces a loss of dopaminergic  cells, thereby 
creating an experimental model of Parkinson's in the  right hemisphere of the 
brain of the rats who received the injection, as  Parkinson's disease is 
characterized by a loss of these cells. The rats  exhibited a postural assymetry 

which causes rotation away from the the  undamaged side of the body, seen as 
circling behavior. Rats given  melatonin prior to administration of 6-OHDA did 
not demonstrate this  behavior. Analysis of the affected brain tissue in rats 
receiving 6-OHDA  who were not protected with melatonin showed a loss of complex 

1  activity of mitochondrial phosphorylation enzymes, a reduction of which  has 
been observed in the substantia nigra of Parkinson's disease  patients. However, 

the melatonin-treated rats were protected against  this loss. The researchers 
conclude that a deficit in mitochondrial  complex 1 could cause free 
radical-induced cell death in Parkinson's  disease, both directly and by 
decreased ATP synthesis and energy  failure, and that melatonin may be useful in  the
treatment of  neurodegenerative disorders in which free radicals play a role.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A little update on insect-borne diseases and travel

I just came across this today and thought to pass it along. Of course, Lyme disease is not mentioned nor mention of ticks, spiders, and other biting insects as vectors. This article is primarily about mosquitoes. Still, there are some sobering numbers and cautions here. Anybody with a chronic infection such as Lyme disease or co-infections of Lyme, should be wary of traveling to an area where the likelihood of picking up yet another infection is high. Many people can apparently carry Lyme disease bacteria within their bodies for a long time without symptoms. But, the classic Lyme onset scenario is when some even relatively-innocuous environmental stressor or additional infection occurs, and then the whole house of cards comes crashing down. The immune system can only handle so many challenges at one time.

Vector-Borne Diseases Pose A Threat to Traveler

Wed, 04/09/14 - 09:20

Vector-borne disease—those carried by insects and small animals (eg, malaria, dengue, yellow fever, and West Nile virus)—affect more individuals each year as globalization, travel, and climate change continue to shift the natural boundaries of these vectors away from their traditional regions. Today, roughly 50% of people living in the Western Hemisphere are at risk.

The chikungunya virus first debuted in the Americans in 2 cases on the island of Saint Martin in December 2013. By the end of March 2014, more than 3000 cases have been confirmed in 10 Caribbean countries.(3)

Researchers are now warning that the virus may soon be classified as an epidemic, particularly as travelers from across the world arrive to Brazil next month for the FIFA World Cup.

Brazil reports the highest incidence of dengue; the dengue and chikungunya viruses are transmitted by the same mosquitoes.(1)

Chikungunya can cause fever and severe joint pain, often in the hands and feet, which can sometimes lead to permanent disability. Mortality can reach 1 in 1000. Symptoms commonly begin within 3 to 7 days.

There is no vaccine or medication to prevent the chikungunya disease. If infected, avoiding mosquito bites will help prevent the spread of the virus.

"We as a world are in some ways more vulnerable than ever," said Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, "and that means that we as a world need to collaborate more effectively than ever so we can build the capacity to find new diseases, outbreaks and threats wherever they emerge promptly, and respond effectively."

Countries in the Americas have had success in the past fighting vector-borne disease. Malaria has gone down 60% and malaria deaths declined by 72% between 2000 and 2012.3  A majority of the progress can be credited to publicly-funded programs controlling mosquitoes and other insects, as well as vaccination campaigns against these illnesses.

In honor of World Health Day 2014, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) (3) urge governments to continue to publicly fund vector-control programs and invest in water sanitation and waste collection. Health authorities say countries should improve monitoring of these diseases as well as drug resistance.

"The successes achieved so far are today being threatened by the expansion of mosquitoes and other vectors into new habitats and by the emergence of insecticide and drug resistance," said Carissa F. Etienne, director of PAHO/WHO.

When traveling in a mosquito-heavy area, individuals should use air conditioning and/or window and door screens, wear repellent on exposed skin, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, wear permethrin-treated clothing, empty standing water from outdoor containers, and support local vector control programs. People at increased risk for severe diseases should not travel to areas with ongoing outbreaks.

by Michael Potts

   1. American Society for Microbiology. Chikungunya poised to invade the Americas [press release]. 2014 Apr 7. Available at: Accessed April 9, 2014.

   2. CDC. Chikungunya virus. Available at: Accessed April 9, 2014.

   3. World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization. Step up the fight against vector-borne diseases in the Americas [press release]. 2014 Apr 4. Available at: Accessed April 9, 2014.d

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

David Brooks on What Suffering Does

This is from David Brooks, columnist in the New York Times. I've seen him on the tube many times, doing his weekly political wrap-up on the PBS Newshour show. I didn't know anything about this side of him. For all of us suffering with chronic whatever, I recommend reading it.

What Suffering Does

(C)New York Times

April 7, 2014

By David Brooks,

Over the past few weeks, I've found myself in a bunch of conversations in which the unspoken assumption was that the main goal of life is to maximize happiness. That's normal. When people plan for the future, they often talk about all the good times and good experiences they hope to have. We live in a culture awash in talk about happiness. In one three-month period last year, more than 1,000 books were released on Amazon on that subject.

But notice this phenomenon. When people remember the past, they don't only talk about happiness. It is often the ordeals that seem most significant. People shoot for happiness but feel formed through suffering.

Now, of course, it should be said that there is nothing intrinsically ennobling about suffering. Just as failure is sometimes just failure (and not your path to becoming the next Steve Jobs) suffering is sometimes just destructive, to be exited as quickly as possible.

But some people are clearly ennobled by it. Think of the way Franklin Roosevelt came back deeper and more empathetic after being struck with polio. Often, physical or social suffering can give people an outsider's perspective, an attuned awareness of what other outsiders are enduring.

But the big thing that suffering does is it takes you outside of precisely that logic that the happiness mentality encourages. Happiness wants you to think about maximizing your benefits. Difficulty and suffering sends you on a different course.

First, suffering drags you deeper into yourself. The theologian Paul Tillich wrote that people who endure suffering are taken beneath the routines of life and find they are not who they believed themselves to be. The agony involved in, say, composing a great piece of music or the grief of having lost a loved one smashes through what they thought was the bottom floor of their personality, revealing an area below, and then it smashes through that floor revealing another area.

Then, suffering gives people a more accurate sense of their own limitations, what they can control and cannot control. When people are thrust down into these deeper zones, they are forced to confront the fact they can't determine what goes on there. Try as they might, they just can't tell themselves to stop feeling pain, or to stop missing the one who has died or gone. And even when tranquillity begins to come back, or in those moments when grief eases, it is not clear where the relief comes from. The healing process, too, feels as though it's part of some natural or divine process beyond individual control.

People in this circumstance often have the sense that they are swept up in some larger providence. Abraham Lincoln suffered through the pain of conducting a civil war, and he came out of that with the Second Inaugural. He emerged with this sense that there were deep currents of agony and redemption sweeping not just through him but through the nation as a whole, and that he was just an instrument for transcendent tasks.

It's at this point that people in the midst of difficulty begin to feel a call. They are not masters of the situation, but neither are they helpless. They can't determine the course of their pain, but they can participate in responding to it. They often feel an overwhelming moral responsibility to respond well to it. People who seek this proper rejoinder to ordeal sense that they are at a deeper level than the level of happiness and individual utility. They don't say, "Well, I'm feeling a lot of pain over the loss of my child. I should try to balance my hedonic account by going to a lot of parties and whooping it up."

The right response to this sort of pain is not pleasure. It's holiness. I don't even mean that in a purely religious sense. It means seeing life as a moral drama, placing the hard experiences in a moral context and trying to redeem something bad by turning it into something sacred. Parents who've lost a child start foundations. Lincoln sacrificed himself for the Union. Prisoners in the concentration camp with psychologist Viktor Frankl rededicated themselves to living up to the hopes and expectations of their loved ones, even though those loved ones might themselves already be dead.

Recovering from suffering is not like recovering from a disease. Many people don't come out healed; they come out different. They crash through the logic of individual utility and behave paradoxically. Instead of recoiling from the sorts of loving commitments that almost always involve suffering,they throw themselves more deeply into them. Even while experiencing the worst and most lacerating consequences, some people double down on vulnerability. They hurl themselves deeper and gratefully into their art, loved ones and commitments.

The suffering involved in their tasks becomes a fearful gift and very different than that equal and other gift, happiness, conventionally defined.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Detox pathways working?

Both breast cancer and the expression of Lyme disease can be linked to mutations affecting methylation and detox pathways. These mutations, or "SNIPS" play an important role in one's ability or inability to achieve and maintain good health, free of cancer and chronic disease.

This is the perfect reason for getting your genome done by the likes of 23andMe, then submitting your raw data analysis to one of the very affordable SNIPs analysis sites online, such as The analysis, after you have your genome data, is about $20. No big expense. 

Unfortunateley, 23andMe has been hampered in its public genome mapping services, due to a crackdown by the FDA (unwarranted, many claim). They web page currently says:

"After discussion with officials from the Food and Drug Administration today, 23andMe will comply with the FDA's directive and stop offering new consumers access to health-related genetic tests while the company moves forward with the agency's regulatory review


Luckily, I already had mine done before this happened, but if you didn't, I'd just recommend you stay tuned and check their site once in a while to see what's going on. I'm sure they or some other lab doing this work will appear. If you DO already have a genome mapping done by 23andMe, then I recommend you go to and read up about getting your SNIPS done. Then relay the results to your doctor(s) who may then suggest lifestyle, diet, exercise, and/or Rx changes to address your specific genetic needs. 


Sunday, April 6, 2014

BBC News: Ketamine 'exciting' depression therapy

I saw this story on the BBC News and thought I would report it here, since depression is such a common symptom of Lyme disease and Parkinson's.

Ketamine 'exciting' depression therapy

The illegal party drug, ketamine, is an "exciting" and "dramatic" new treatment for depression, say doctors who have conducted the first trial in the UK.

Read more:

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Germany's guidelines for Lyme treatment

I have been hearing for a while now about how Germany is more progressive than the US when it comes to reporting, acknowledging and treating Lyme disease. I stumbled across this document today while searching for an official estimate of the number of new cases of Lyme disease in that country. I recently heard some expert saying that Germany estimates a million new cases per year in a country that's a fraction of the size of the United States.

It's refreshing to read this document because clearly Germany recognizes late-stage Lyme disease exists, and further, that the effectiveness of late-stage treatment is very difficult to monitor by serology tests. They state that effectiveness of treatment must be determined solely through clinical evidence -- in other words how the patient looks, functions, and feels. They say that there's actually no reason medically to continue to do serological tests after late-stage (what they call Stage III) disease has been diagnosed. Further, the importance of DNA testing (PCR testing) and culture testing (in the US the only culture test I know of is done by Advanced Laboratory Services in Pennsylvania) is emphasized, although they acknowledge that sensitivity can be low, so negative PCR or culture test does not rule out chronic Lyme.

I'm still reading the document, but thought I would post it now on my blog. I will come back and comment if I have more to say about it. Please add your comments as you read through it. I'd like to hear your thoughts about it.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Lyme Disease Testing: Bob Giguere from IGeneX

Here's an excellent video I just found on YouTube, discussing the various tests that one can and probably should get for Lyme disease. Also discussed is why the tests are controversial. The interviewee is Bob Giguere, from IGeneX labs.