Wednesday, June 4, 2014

In a First, Test of DNA Finds Root of Illness

Here's a captivating story from today's NY Times. This has obvious implications for diagnosis of TBD's (tick-borne-diseases). I found the article encouraging. After reading a number of the comments, I think felt a bit more confused about whether this is as novel an approach as the article claims it to be. 

Still, if you or I could give a blood or CSF sample and have it analyzed in an hour or so, exposing exactly what bacteria, viruses, molds, fungi and parasites were active in that sample, it would be extremely cost saving as well as time saving. I've been unclear for a decade now just what bugs are alive in me. In that decade, I have developed Parkinson's disease-like symptoms such as tremor, some cognitive issues, disrupted endocrin system problems, and some emotional disturbances. I have at this point no way of knowing whether these symptoms are going to be permanent or temporary. If I had had a diagnostic test like the one described in this article way back 40 years ago when I first became sick, this kind of nervous system debilitation may never have occured. 


Joshua Osborn, 14, lay in a coma at American Family Children's Hospital in Madison, Wis. For weeks his brain had been swelling with fluid, and a battery of tests had failed to reveal the cause.

The doctors told his parents, Clark and Julie, that they wanted to run one more test with an experimental new technology. Scientists would search Joshua's cerebrospinal fluid for pieces of DNA. Some of them might belong to the pathogen causing his encephalitis.

The Osborns agreed, although they were skeptical that the test would succeed where so many others had failed. But in the first procedure of its kind, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, managed to pinpoint the cause of Joshua's problem — within 48 hours. He had been infected with an obscure species of bacteria. Once identified, it was eradicated within days....

Read this exciting story:

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