Monday, October 27, 2014

A terrible neck cramp leads to a drooping face

NY Times article of Oct 24, 2914

The 62-year-old engineer struggled as he put on his pants. His left arm, which had hurt for the last couple of days, now felt weak, and his left hand hung limp and useless, as if it were somehow paralyzed. When he went to brush his teeth, he noticed that the foamy toothpaste was pouring from his mouth. He glanced up at the mirror and was startled to see that his face was lopsided. The right side, from shaggy brow to toothpaste-covered lip, was lower than the left. The eyelid sagged, revealing the pink inner lid, and that side of his mouth was immobile.

Was this a stroke? He didn't think so. But his wife wanted to take him straight to the emergency room. He considered the option but decided against it. He had a follow-up appointment that morning with Dr. Isaac Moss, an orthopedic surgeon who was treating him for the arm pain. He figured that seeing a doctor who knew him might be better than going to the E.R. So late that morning he went to Moss's office at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington...

You can read the rest of the story here:

Monday, October 20, 2014

Is TM really easy to practice? Ask Ellen Degeneres and Jerry Seinfeld

I keep a pretty low profile about my meditation practice, and my past experiences as an instructor of Transcendental Meditation. However, sometimes I can't repress my enthusiasm. Today is one of those days. While poking around on the Web, looking for a url to send to a dear friend who expressed interest  in learning more, I came up with a video of Ellen Degeneres talking about her experinces with meditation. You can see the clip here:

And here's a clip with Jerry Seinfeld talking about his experience of TM:

I'll just say that of all the things that I have relied on to get me through my Lyme trials and tribulations (oral and IV drugs, herbs, psychotherapy, HBOT and much, much more), TM has been the hands-down winner. I was instructed in February of 1972 and have been doing it ever since. 


Friday, October 17, 2014

Fatal Infant Ehrlichia case

This is such a heart breaker, but points to our huge need for more LLMDs.
by a member of the Oakland/Eastbay (San Francisco area) Lyme disease support group. 

Nashville, TN,, United States - - October 13, 2014 —

On October 2, 2014, a Nashville jury held a pediatric clinic and local hospital accountable for the wrongful death of 22-month-old Ryder Laurent. Ryder died on June 10, 2009, as a result of complications from ehrlichiosis, a tick-borne illness.

The jury ruled in favor of the Laurent family against Old Harding Pediatric Associates, which was found to be 50 percent responsible for Ryder's death. Vanderbilt University Medical Center was also found 50 percent responsible, but had resolved all issues associated with the case prior to trial.

"We are very pleased that the jury carefully listened to this tragic matter and rendered a verdict that was fair and just," said Ms. Laurent's attorney, Daniel Clayton, of Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge in Nashville.

"Ms. Laurent did everything she could to get help for her son. The medical community let her down."

Ehrlichiosis is a bacterial infection transmitted by ticks. The disease causes flu-like symptoms in those infected and, as in the case of Ryder Laurent, can be fatal if it remains untreated.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the antibiotic doxycycline is the first line treatment for ehrlichiosis. If it is administered within the first four to five days of symptoms, fever usually subsides within 24 to 72 hours and the infection is cured with no long-term problems.

In this case, the diagnosis and treatment both came too late for one little boy.

In May 2009, a tick bit Ryder Laurent while he was playing outside. Approximately two weeks later, he developed a fever and a rash on his face. Ryder's mother, Story Laurent, took her son to Old Harding Pediatric Associates in Nashville on Wednesday, June 3, because of his symptoms.

The pediatrician, Dr. Chris Patton, noted the recent tick bite on Ryder's chart, but advised Ms. Laurent that the bite had nothing do with her son's illness, citing an ear infection as the cause.

The following morning, the rash had spread all over Ryder's body. Ms. Laurent said that he had a high fever throughout the night, was experiencing episodes of disorientation and was patting his head like he had a headache.

She took Ryder back to Old Harding and saw Dr. James Keffer. Dr. Keffer failed to look at the chart from the day before, which would have revealed the recent tick bite, and diagnosed Ryder with an allergic reaction.

By Friday, with her child's symptoms worsening, Ms. Laurent took Ryder to Vanderbilt University Medical Center twice – once in the morning and once around midnight – and was sent home both times.

Finally on Monday, June 8, Ms. Laurent brought her son back to Vanderbilt, where an infectious disease expert made the presumptive diagnosis of ehrlichiosis. At that point treatment began, but it was too late.

Ryder Laurent died after suffering a brain herniation caused by ehrlichia meningitis on June 10, 2009. Ms. Laurent made the decision to give the gift of life and donated Ryder's organs.

For more information about us, please visit

Contact Info:
Name: Daniel Clayton
Organization: Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge

Protein in ticks could lead to new antibiotics

October 16, 2014

A protein in ticks that protects them against the cold could inspire a new class of antibiotics for humans, according to a Yale University study.

Scientists discovered that IAFGP, an antifreeze protein in ticks that kicks in during winter, also fights infection. Synthesizing such a protein may offer new therapies and medical applications to ward off dangerous pathogens such as MRSA.

"We wanted to know if this protein also has an anti-microbial function. Lo and behold, it does," said Erol Fikrig, the Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Medicine and chief of the Infectious Diseases Section at Yale School of Medicine, who was the study's principal investigator. "It prevents bacterial growth quite successfully."

The findings were published online Oct. 16 in the journal Cell Reports.

Full story:

Contact Yale University, Office of Public Affairs &

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson comes to Washington, D.C.

Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson comes to Washington, D.C.
 By Connie Lawn, October 12. 2014


 A very important and meaningful event was held Sunday at the Washington Hilton. Over 700 people came to the hotel to attend an all day event sponsored by the Michael J. Fox Foundation.  It was called "Partners in Parkinson's – Discover the Benefits of Team."
It was extremely beneficial for those of us who suffer from this life-altering disease. We come from all walks of life and are struggling to walk, talk, swallow, drive, write, dress ourselves, go to the bathroom, and hang onto life. Many of the participants Sunday were well educated and had, or have, important jobs. The lucky ones (like me) can still work and have the support of family members. Without the support of my wonderful husband, Dr. Charles Sneidermanand my sons, I would not be alive now.
The forum gave us all a chance to meet members of the Parkinson community and realize many have similar experiences.  The strong medications can cause hallucinations, nausea, dizziness, or other reactions. Some patients have had success with deep brain stimulation or other procedures. Doctors and scientists are constantly trying to develop new medications, and many of us would be pleased to participate in clinical trials.
The Foundation is located in New York, but is active all over. This was their first major workshop in Washington DC.  There is also the Parkinson Foundation of the National Capital Area, which is extremely important and active.  They were one of the many organizations which had representations at the Hilton.
The Forum was a pioneering effort to build a partnership which includes patients, families, healthcare team members, and researchers. There were sessions on how to find and work with a Parkinson disease specialist, the latest in scientific research regarding the spectrum of disease named after the neurologist who first described "the shaking palsy" a century ago, and tips on lifestyle modification including exercises, social networking, and home and work adaptations.  
Famous people, such as Michael J. Fox, Linda Ronstadt, and others, help to publicize the disease and raise millions for research. We are still reeling over the suicide of Robin Williams, who was reported to have early stage Parkinson when he died. But we try to maintain hope that advances will be made. This is just one of many diseases which has no cure, at this time. For now, we keep moving, exercising , dancing, popping pills, and do our best to manage this beast!
Connie Lawn in Washington D.C.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cancer versus Lyme disease

If you survive cancer you get a formal dinner, speeches from long lost family members, and a legacy is born, children want to sit in you lap.

If you survive chronic Lyme disease you get to start over with nothing but a dog, yet it is at least as great a victory, and It makes me wonder who made these rules.  

Dr Mike D Maddox DC

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Qi Gong and Parkinson's disease

ParkinsonsArticleBringing the Mind Back to the Body helps Parkinson's Patients

New Article for FREE download
"Qigong Helps with Parkinson's: A Medical Overview"

Parkinson's disease affects the brain and nervous system. Your doctors will tell you that Parkinson's disease is progressive and incurable. Yet the eastern mind-body practice of Wisdom Healing Qigong can be very beneficial for people with Parkinson's, and western science is beginning to find proof...Master Gu's students with Parkinson's report their symptoms diminish, disappear or do not worsen." Read more by downloading free article here

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Are you wondering if that tick bite should be treated?

Statement on the ILADS website, at :
Up to fifty percent of ticks in Lyme-endemic areas are infected with Lyme or other tick-borne diseases. With odds like that, if you have proof or a high suspicion that you've been bitten by a tick, taking a "wait and see" approach to deciding whether to treat the disease has risks. The onset of Lyme disease symptoms can be easily overlooked or mistaken for other illnesses. Once symptoms are more evident the disease may have already entered the central nervous system, and could be hard to cure. This is one case in which an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. - See more at:

Saturday, October 4, 2014

What does having Lyme disease feel like?

This pretty much says it all!
Thanks to Judy for sending this!

Friday, October 3, 2014

NIH Announces $46M BRAIN Initiative Grants

From a blog called: Aging and Parkinson's and Me

Originally Posted: 02 Oct 2014 05:36 AM PDT

With news outlets – and their consumers – focused on ISIL, ebola, and the White House gate jumper, a press release issued on Tuesday, September 30 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) didn't garner much attention. But the news it announced will probably mean a lot more to people 50 years from now than those other issues.

Here's how that release began:
The National Institutes of Health announced today its first wave of investments totaling $46 million in fiscal year 14 funds to support the goals of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. More than 100 investigators in 15 states and several countries will work to develop new tools and technologies to understand neural circuit function and capture a dynamic view of the brain in action. These new tools and this deeper understanding will ultimately catalyze new treatments and cures for devastating brain disorders and diseases that are estimated by the World Health Organization to affect more than one billion people worldwide.
As you might imagine, NIH's director Dr. Francis Collins was pretty excited about the news. On his September 30 blog post, Collins compared the efforts to more fully understand the human brain to the 1969 moonshot -- plans that President Kennedy announced to a Joint Session of Congress on May 25, 1961. 

Many observers thought the president was crazy and his plan way too ambitious. But just eight years later, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the moon. Collins and his NIH team hope for similar successes, though surely not so fast in coming.

In his posting, Collins restated the goal of the BRAIN Initiative:
To produce the first dynamic view of the human brain in action, revealing how its roughly 86 billion neurons and its trillions of connections interact in real time. This new view will revolutionize our understanding of how we think, feel, learn, remember, and move, transforming efforts to help the more than 1 billion people worldwide who suffer from autism, depression, schizophrenia, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and other devastating brain disorders.
When President Obama introduced the BRAIN Initiative to some fanfare last year, he explained that NIH was one of four federal agencies involved in the enterprising project. The other three are the National Science Foundation, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

NIH's just-announced grants will fund 58 different projects detailed on its website. Most of those grants "focus on developing transformative technologies that will accelerate fundamental neuroscience research." They include: 
  • classifying the myriad cell types in the brain 
  • producing tools and techniques for analyzing brain cells and circuits 
  • creating next-generation human brain imaging technology 
  • developing methods for large-scale recordings of brain activity 
  • integrating experiments with theories and models to understand the functions of specific brain circuits 
To get a "flavor" of the projects, here are brief overviews of just three of those 58 projects: 
  • In this project, Dr. Yoon's team will make optogenetics, a technique that enables scientists to turn neurons on and off with flashes of light, more precise and diverse by creating light sources that will enable control of specific neuronal circuits with a variety of lasers. 
  • Dr. Wang and his collaborators will test a way to image the electrical activity of neurons deep inside the brain, using a variation on ultrasound imaging he invented called photoacoustic tomography.
  • Dr. Kleinfeld and his colleagues will use a variety of tools and techniques to create detailed maps of circuits in the brainstem, the region that regulates many life-sustaining functions such as breathing and swallowing, and match the circuits to actions they control.
Many of the NIH awards will fund projects that involve rodent – or fruit fly – brains. Experience has made very clear the cavernous gulf between those structures and the human brain. Still, it's an impressive list of projects.

NIH Director Collins further explained the Initiative:
The human brain is the most complicated biological structure in the known universe. We've only just scratched the surface in understanding how it works — or, unfortunately, doesn't quite work when disorders and disease occur," said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. "There's a big gap between what we want to do in brain research and the technologies available to make exploration possible. These initial awards are part of a 12-year scientific plan focused on developing the tools and technologies needed to make the next leap in understanding the brain. This is just the beginning of an ambitious journey and we're excited about the possibilities.
Story Landis, Ph.D., is director of the NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. He said, "We are at a critical juncture for brain research, and these audacious projects are from some of the brightest researchers in neuroscience collaborating with physicists and engineers."

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  • The White House's webpage  webpage further explains the BRAIN Initiative, its significance, and "how far we've already come"
  • Here's NIH's page for the BRAIN Initiative.
  • Last December on this blog, I provided an update on the BRAIN Initiative.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

MS, Parkinson's, ALS and Lyme infection

A quote from the film Under Our Skin, the documentary film about Lyme disease.

New Blood Test for Depression: Farewell, Stigma

A new study suggests that a simple blood test can now accurately screen for depression and even identify the treatment therapy most likely to succeed.

For centuries, depression was a mysterious, unpredictable condition. Since there were no typical physical symptoms, and since it left no visible evidence on the body – no pockmarks, no bleeding, no coughing, no visible scars – people questioned its authenticity as a "disease."

Through the years, people suffering with the mental illness would hear things like, "There's nothing wrong with you! Pull yourself up by the bootstraps and get on with your life."

The End of Depression's "Stigma"? 
In addition to helping doctors identify and treat people with depression -- and even detect in advance those patients likely to experience depressive episodes in the future -- this new blood test provides evidence that depression is biologically very real -- like cancer, pneumonia, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's.

Now, as with other diseases, observable biological causes can be assigned to depression, and DNA test results may even suggest potential targeted treatments. The new blood test could help eliminate – once and for all -- the unfortunate "stigma" that has so long accompanied depression. That stigma has prevented countless sufferers from coming forward to seek help.

With her team, Dr. Eva Redei, a neuroscientist and professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, took blood samples from 32 patients 21-79 years old who – through clinical interviews – had been diagnosed with depression. The researchers then compared those samples with blood from 32 people within that same age range without depression -- the control group.

Three conclusions emerged:

1) The researchers discovered nine RNA markers – molecules the carry out instructions from the DNA – that varied significantly between the two groups. The team at Northwestern assigned those markers as the basis for diagnosing depression.

2) The 32 depressed patients then underwent 18 weeks of cognitive behavioral therapy, a common treatment for depression. After that interval, Dr. Redei retested their blood. She found she could identify the patients who had most benefited from the therapy simply by observing the changes in their RNA markers. Put another way, the second sampling provided biological evidence of the treatment's effectiveness.

3) The researchers identified three RNA markers that didn't change from the first test to the second, regardless of the patient's level of improvement. Redei suspected those three unchanging markers indicated predisposition to depression – another potential bonanza for clinicians... and their patients.

Co-lead author Dr. David Mohr said:
Being aware of people who are more susceptible to recurring depression allows us to monitor them more closely. They can consider a maintenance dose of antidepressants or continued psychotherapy to diminish the severity of a future episode or prolong the intervals between episodes.

More Biological Evidence for Depression
Dr. Zachary Kaminsky, at the Mood Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine, also weighed in on the study's findings. He wasn't involved in the study, but he had pioneered an earlier blood test to predict suicide risk. In his own research, Kaminsky had measured very different things than Redei and her team. Still, he thinks his own research shares something basic in common with Redei's: an effort to create biological tests and evidence for mental illness.
It's an exciting time -- there is potential to find factors that are going to distinguish between various mental illnesses as well as responses to direct clinical treatment. Any finding that gets us closer to that is very interesting and worth following up.

Kaminsky and Redei both agree that her recent findings need to be replicated in larger test groups before the FDA would consider approving the blood test.

There's another issue, too. Said Redei, "The major question here is always funding. We are really trying to gather as much funding from as many sources as possible so it can move ahead."

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates that major depressive disorder -- the leading cause of disability for Americans ages 15 to 44 -- affects 6.7 percent of all Americans.

Redei hopes her work can help bring psychiatry into "the 21st century. We'll get to the point where there won't be any discrimination between physical illness and mental illness."

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Here is Northwestern University's September 14, 2014 press release announcing the study's results.