Friday, November 28, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Exercise and gut flora diversity are positively correlated

Being physically fit appears to be associated with a greater diversity of gut bugs, researchers found.

In a case-control study, Irish athletes had a far wider range of intestinal microbes than did matched controls who weren't athletes, Fergus Shanahan, MD, of the University College Cork in Ireland, and colleagues reported online in Gut.

"Exercise seems to be another important factor in the relationship between the microbiota, host immunity, and host metabolism, with diet playing an important role," they wrote.

There's been much attention surrounding gut microbiota and its relationship with obesity and metabolism, but few have looked specifically at the effects of exercise on these gut microbes.

Shanahan and colleagues looked at 40 professional athletes from an international rugby team while they participated in pre-season camp -- a regulated environment -- and compared them with healthy male controls from the Cork region of Ireland.

They found that athletes and controls differed with respect to plasma creatinine kinase, a marker of extreme exercise, and inflammatory and metabolic markers. Athletes had less inflammation and better metabolism than did controls, they reported.

Athletes also had a far higher diversity of gut bugs -- 22 phyla, 68 families, and 113 genera compared with just 11 phyla, 33 families and 65 genera for controls with a low body mass index (BMI), and 9 phyla, 33 families and 61 genera for controls with a high BMI.

Athletes also consumed far more protein than controls, with protein accounting for 22% of their total energy intake compared with 16% of energy intake for low-BMI controls and 15% for high-BMI controls.

This high protein intake, as well as high levels of creatinine kinase, positively correlated with bacterial diversity, suggesting that both diet and exercise are drivers of biodiversity in the gut, Shanahan and colleagues wrote.

The results provide evidence that exercise has a beneficial effect on gut microbiota diversity, they concluded, but it also indicates that the relationship is complex since it's also tied to dietary extremes -- which is why further investigation is needed into the relationship, with a particular need for intervention-based studies to tease it apart.

In an accompanying editorial, Georgina Hold, MD, of the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, noted that the article is the first to report that exercise increases gut microbe diversity and that it "highlights that exercise is another important factor in the complex relationship among the host, host immunity, and the microbiota."

She added that future studies examining the impact of exercise and the nutritional value of foods in terms of relevance to gut bacteria are essential: "Developing new ways to manipulate the beneficial properties of our microbiota by finding ways to integrate health-promoting properties into modern living should be the goal."

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bartonella causing liver disease

At our Lyme support meetings, we of course often talk about our coinfection test results, and about the multi-pronged approach to treating Lyme disease, since coinfections are common in the same patient. There are  many known coinfnections that come along in the same tick, and more are being discovered all the time. Not only does the Lyme bacteria itself have three different forms (spirochete, cyst, biofilm), but there are many species of Borrelia. Then, there are the coinfections such as Bartonella, Ehrlichea, Babesia, Cytomegalvirus, EBV, HHV6, Protomyxzoa, and so on, and each of these requires a different drug or herbal regimen for effective eradication or at least reduction. Specialists often disagree over the order in which the different microbes should be attacked,  which ones prevent the others from being effectively treated. That's a big topic. But here's a little side note worth considering:

Below is an abstract of a case study (a single patient) whose liver was infected with Bartonella henselae. It was very difficult to discover the cause of the patient's pain, and then to determine that there was an infection, and that it was  Bartonella. This kind of case study makes me wonder how many bugs we all have running around unchecked in our bodies. 

It  seems to me, more and more, that the best way to get better from all these many coinfections is to do as much bolstering of our immune systems as possible. That is what my homeopath used to say to me, as she was trying (unsuccessfully) to find the right 'constitutional remedy' to reboot my immune system. I wish she had been successful. Often, unfortunately, chronic Lyme patients are so sick that their immune systems are not working correctly and just won't reboot from getting a lot of rest, eating a clean diet, removing heavy metals from the body, doing psychological work to reduce/rethink negative thought patterns that affect the immune system, and so on. 


Granulomatous hepatitis due to Bartonella henselae infection in an immunocompetent patient





Bartonella henselae (B. henselae) is considered a rare cause of granulomatous hepatitis. Due to the fastidious growth characteristics of the bacteria, the limited sensitivity of
histopathological stains, and the non-specific histological findings on liver biopsy, the
diagnosis of hepatic bartonellosis can be difficult to establish. Furthermore, the optimal
treatment of established hepatic bartonellosis remains controversial.


Case presentation


We present a case of hepatic bartonellosis in an immunocompetent woman who presented
with right upper quadrant pain and a five cm right hepatic lobe mass on CT scan. The patient underwent a right hepatic lobectomy. Surgical pathology revealed florid necrotizing granulomatous hepatitis, favoring an infectious etiology. Despite extensive histological and serological evaluation a definitive diagnosis was not established initially. Thirteen months after initial presentation, hepatic bartonellosis was diagnosed by PCR studies from surgically excised liver tissue. Interestingly, the hepatic granulomas persisted and Bartonella henselae was isolated from the patient's enriched blood culture after several courses of antibiotic therapy.




The diagnosis of hepatic bartonellosis is exceedingly difficult to establish and requires a high degree of clinical suspicion. Recently developed, PCR-based approaches may be required in select patients to make the diagnosis. The optimal antimicrobial therapy for hepatic bartonellosis has not been established, and close follow-up is needed to ensure successful eradication of the infection.



Thursday, November 20, 2014

NY Governor must sign Lyme bill

Editorial: Governor must sign Lyme disease bill
Friday, November 14, 2014
From The Daily Gazette
Schenectady, NY
Gazette Editorial pages

With the Polar Vortex upon us and the Ebola scare closer in the rearview mirror than it appears, right now might seem like an odd time to be talking about Lyme disease.

But the governor and the state Legislature will return to Albany soon, and on their desks is a bill that could help treat this terrible, growing tick-borne illness.

The legislation, entitled the Patients' Rights/Doctor Protection bill (S.7854/A.7558B), would enable doctors to use effective forms of long-term treatment on patients with Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses without fear of being charged with professional misconduct or loss of medical license.

We're not talking about turning our backs on legitimate medical science and allowing any quack to invent his own treatment for the disease.

We're talking about allowing government regulators to be flexible when doctors employ new, long-term antibiotic treatments to care for patients suffering from pain and chronic health problems due to long bouts with it.

The medical community is particularly wary of long-term antibiotic treatments. But such long-term treatment is sometimes necessary to fight stubborn cases of Lyme disease where short doses of antibiotics haven't worked.

The reason we should care about this bill is because Lyme disease is growing at epidemic levels. There are more than 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease in the U.S. each year, and New York has among the highest rates in the country.

The epicenter for the state is the Mid-Hudson Valley area. But cases also are prevalent in our area. In 2011, according to a Gazette report in 2013, Schenectady County reported 79 cases of Lyme Disease; Schoharie County, 29; Saratoga County, 525; Rensselaer County, 656; Montgomery County, 30; Fulton County, 8; and Albany County, 364.

The number of confirmed cases has grown exponentially during the past two decades and is expected to continue to grow at an alarming rate.

And just because it's getting cold out doesn't mean the threat is over. While they're generally active during the spring and summer, disease-spreading ticks can still be prevalent through Thanksgiving and can even be a threat in winter.

The state and individual counties have information about ticks and Lyme Disease on their websites. so visit them for more information about how to prevent, identify and treat the disease.

But for people who already suffer from it, and for whom short-term antibiotic treatments didn't cure them, it's imperative that the state give them relief.

The bill has already passed both houses of the Legislature. The governor now needs to sign it and let doctors do what's necessary.

The source:

Several obituaries for Willie Bergdorfer

Here are a number of URLS for tributes fot WIlly Bergdorser. 

NY Times:

Monday, November 17, 2014

22-month-old baby dies from ehrlichiosis

Nashville Jury Awards $5 Million In Death From Tick Infection

Posted: Oct 13, 2014 7:40 AM PDTUpdated: Oct 14, 2014 6:41 AM PDT

A local pediatric clinic and hospital were found jointly responsible for failure to diagnose the bacterial infection that led to the death of a young boy.

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

Release ID: 65912

Discoverer of Lyme bacterium is in hospice

Dear Friends,
You may not be aware of this gentle and brilliant soul who identified the spirochete as the cause of Lyme disease. Thus it was named Borrelia.burgdorferi (Bb)

You may have heard that Willy Burgdorfer, discoverer of the Lyme spirochete, is in Hospice.

He is still aware of his surroundings but his health has been deteriorating all summer. We don't know how long he will live, but we have an opportunity to show our appreciation of his work. We hope that hearing from you will boost his spirits.

We have set up a website where you can express your thoughts to Willy about his life's work. We will share your words with his family. 
Please visit:

to send Willy a message.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Interacttive Lyme disease map

 I am pleased to let you know that there is now an online interactive map displaying the prevalence of Lyme disease vectors In different geographical regions within California. 

Look under the heading Interactive Maps.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Mayday Project Responds to Dr. Paul Auwaerter's Defense of IDSA Guidelines for Lyme Disease

Washington, DC
November 07, 2014

The Mayday Project welcomes the response by Dr. Paul Auwaerter to our concerns about the IDSA guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease, which were discussed in a recent Medscape article about Mayday's outreach to IDSA members at the IDWeek medical conference in October 2014.

Dr. Auwaerter's statement that there can be "productive collaboration among advocacy groups" was especially encouraging.

Mayday also appreciates the open-mindedness of the doctors and researchers who spoke with us at IDWeek, and those who read our open letter to IDSA members ( We gained valuable insight into the complications of battling emerging diseases, such as Lyme, and a better understanding about the dangers related to overuse of antibiotics.

Monday, November 10, 2014

High-fat diet postpones brain aging in mice

November 6, 2014

Kerala coconuts (credit: Dan Iserman CC)
A new Danish-led research suggests that signs of brain aging can be postponed in mice if they are placed on a high-fat diet. The finding may one day allow for developing treatments for children suffering from premature aging and patients with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Lyme is the most misunderstood disease since AIDS


Sat Nov 8, 2014

Valley View: Lyme is the most misunderstood disease since AIDS
Gov. Andrew Cuomo should sign the Patients' Rights/Doctor Protection bill.
Holly Ahern, for The Poughkeepsie Journal (opinion page), Poughkeepsie, New York

With the possible exception of HIV/AIDS, no infectious disease in recent history has been as misunderstood, maligned or politicized as Lyme disease.

After more than two decades of controversy and government neglect, Lyme disease has become too large an issue to ignore any longer. A year ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that only 1 in 10 cases of Lyme disease were properly reported to public health agencies and increased the likely incidence to more than 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease in the U.S. per year. As a highly endemic state, a significant proportion of those cases are in New York.

Read the complete article:
The mission of LymeInfo is to keep you informed of issues that might be of interest to Lyme disease patients.   Postings are not meant to imply that we agree with the content of all items we distribute.

For Lyme information, see:

A possible alternative to antibiotics

Credit: Eric Erbe, Christopher Pooley, Wikipedia
Nov 04, 2014
Scientists from the University of Bern have developed a novel substance for the treatment of severe bacterial infections without antibiotics, which would prevent the development of antibiotic resistance.
Ever since the development of penicillin almost 90 years ago, antibiotics have remained the gold standard in the treatment of bacterial infections. However, the WHO has repeatedly warned of a growing emergence of bacteria that develop . Once antibiotics do no longer protect from , a mere pneumonia might be fatal.

Alternative therapeutic concepts which lead to the elimination of bacteria, but do not promote resistance are still lacking.

A team of international scientists has tested a novel substance, which has been developed by Eduard Babiychuk and Annette Draeger from the Institute of Anatomy, University of Bern in Switzerland. This compound constitutes a novel approach for the treatment of bacterial infections: the scientists engineered artificial nanoparticles made of lipids, "" that closely resemble the membrane of host cells. These liposomes act as decoys for bacterial toxins and so are able to sequester and neutralize them. Without toxins, the bacteria are rendered defenseless and can be eliminated by the cells of the host's own immune system. The study will be published in Nature Biotechnology Nov 2.

Artificial bait for bacterial toxins

In clinical medicine, liposomes are used to deliver specific medication into the body of patients. Here, the Bernese scientists have created liposomes which attract bacterial toxins and so protect host cells from a dangerous toxin attack.

"We have made an irresistible bait for . The toxins are fatally attracted to the liposomes, and once they are attached, they can be eliminated easily without danger for the host cells", says Eduard Babiychuk who directed the study.

"Since the bacteria are not targeted directly, the liposomes do not promote the development of ", adds Annette Draeger. Mice which were treated with the liposomes after experimental, fatal septicemia survived without additional antibiotic therapy.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

New Lyme and confections testing technology

An Optimized SYBR Green I/PI Assay for Rapid Viability Assessment and Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing for Borrelia burgdorferi


Lyme disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi is the most common tick-borne disease in the US and Europe. Unlike most bacteria, measurements of growth and viability of B. burgdorferi are challenging. The current B. burgdorferi viability assays based on microscopic counting and PCR are cumbersome and tedious and cannot be used in a high throughput format. Here, we evaluated several commonly used viability assays including MTT and XTT assays, fluorescein diacetate assay, Sytox Green/Hoechst 33342 assay, the commercially available LIVE/DEAD BacLight assay, and SYBR Green I/PI assay by microscopic counting and by automated 96-well plate reader for rapid viability assessment of B. burgdorferi. We found that the optimized SYBR Green I/PI assay based on green to red fluorescence ratio is superior to all the other assays for measuring the viability of B. burgdorferi in terms of sensitivity, accuracy, reliability, and speed in automated 96-well plate format and in comparison with microscopic counting. The BSK-H medium which produced a high background for the LIVE/DEAD BacLight assay did not affect the SYBR Green I/PI assay, and the viability of B. burgdorferi culture could be directly measured using a microtiter plate reader. The SYBR Green I/PI assay was found to reliably assess the viability of planktonic as well as biofilm B. burgdorferi and could be used as a rapid antibiotic susceptibility test. Thus, the SYBR Green I/PI assay provides a more sensitive, rapid and convenient method for evaluating viability and antibiotic susceptibility of B. burgdorferi and can be used for high-throughput drug screens.

Rest of the study here:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The influence of inflammatory cytokines in physiopathology of suicidal behavior

Volume 1721 February 2015, Pages 219–230

The influence of inflammatory cytokines in physiopathology of suicidal behavior
·         V.A.L. Mináa, , ,
·         S.F. Lacerda-Pinheiroa,
·         L.C. Maiaa,
·         R.F.F. Pinheiro Jr.a,
·         C.B. Meirelesa,
·         S.I.R. de Souzab,
·         A.O.A. Reisc,
·         B. Biancob,
·         M.L.N Rolima




Based on the urgent need for reliable biomarkers in relation to suicide risk both for more accurate prediction as well as for new therapeutic opportunities, several researchers have been studying evidence of the potential participation of inflammatory processes in the brain, in particular cytokines, in suicide. The purpose of this review was to analyze the associations between inflammation markers and suicide.



To achieve this goal, a systematic review of literature was conducted via electronic database Scopus using the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) terms: "cytokines", "suicide" and "inflammation". Through this search it was found 54 articles. After analyzing them 15 met the eligibility criteria and were included in the final sample.



One of the most mentioned inflammatory markers was Interferon-α (IFN-α), a pro-inflammatory cytokine which has been shown to increase serum concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6, tumor necrosis factor-a (TNF- α) and IFN-ϒ, which are factors increased suicide victims and attempters. In this line, IL-6 is not only found to be elevated in the cerebrospinal fluid of suicide attempters, even its levels in the peripheral blood have been proposed as a biological suicide marker. Another study stated that increased levels of IL-4 and IL-13 transcription in the orbitofrontal cortex of suicides suggest that these cytokines may affect neurobehavioral processes relevant to suicide.



A lack of studies and great amount of cross-sectional studies.



Inflammation may play an important role in the pathophysiology of suicide, especially levels of some specific inflammatory cytokines.

Full article:

Lyme physician in Sweden needs support

This came across my desk this morning. I cleaned up the translation a bit and decided to post it here as another data point, contextualizing the treatment of patients and the censure of Lyme physicians in the EU. Here in the States, we assume that diagnosis and treatment of Lyme and coinfections in the EU is more progressive and more widely available than in the US. This doesn't seem to be the case in Sweden, at least. If you know otherwise, please leave a comment. 


We have a doctor in Sweden who has saved many lives, and is now risking losing his medical license. The reason is that he treated some severe cases of tick infection, and prescribed more advanced treatment than current practice in Sweden permits. We need help to organize support for Dr. Kenneth Sandström. 

A doctor's primary mission is to alleviate suffering and cure, which Dr. Sandstrom did​​, whereas other doctors for years failed to make the diagnosis and to give proper treatment because of carelessness and ignorance. He is a doctor, who with great empathy and expertise, has dedicated a lot of time helping his patients. He achieves additionally a result that the conventional health care does not come close to. Swedish doctors spends the least time in Europe on their patients, partly because our health care system is built around economicinterests rather than patient need. 

He is a member of ILADS and has learned from the best specialists in the world, with extensive knowledge of the complex Borrelia bacterium and its co-infections. He has participated in conferences around the world to gain a unique insight. In Sweden skills among doctors and other health professionals is often lower than should be, in large part because there is no requirement for continuing education, as there is in most other countries. 

Tick-borne disease treatment in Sweden has low priority, even though there are around 40,000 patients a year who contract Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections (according Scand Tick). The big problem is that about 5 to 10% of those affected by Lyme disease develop long-term, chronic symptoms, and these patients are in most cases without any help from health care. There are some doctors in Sweden who recognize this issue. Although they may recognize the most difficult and characteristic symptoms and can see the patient's suffering, they do not dare to treat, for fear of being reported and potentially lose their licenses. If Dr. Sandstrom loses his license, other doctors will have additional reason to avoid effective and agressive treatments for desperately-needy and suffering patients. 

Lyme disease is a rapidly progressive disease worldwide and, due to global warming, the spread is likely to increase even moreso in the future. Anyone can contract this disease,  receive misdiagnosis and incorrect treatment. This can lead to unnecessary suffering and long term illness and incapacitation. ILADS recommendations for treatment therapy regarding persistent Lyme disease has been proven in studies. Over 90% get better or completely well. 

It is important that Swedish doctors treat and cure their patients without fear of any reprisals. The US now has in place some laws designed to protect those doctors under similar conditions. Our support for Dr. Sandstrom provides guidance and our hope is that it will encourage other doctors to learn more about tick-borne diseases, and to treat according to ILADS recommendations. Punishing Dr. Sandstrom because he has chosen to continue his education in the field and let the knowledge be of benefit to the patients is totally unacceptable! 

It is therefore important that as many people as possible add their names to this petition! 

Borrelia & TBE compound Sweden

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

New Lyme conference videos available online

Dear blog readers: 

I just received this message this morning from a Lyme disease group on the east coast of the US, in the Delaware/Maryland/Virginia area (abbreviated "Delmarva") and I want to pass it on. Here is what the news release said:

This past May, our group hosted a "Symposium on Tick-borne Diseases" - a full day conference with an incredible line-up of speakers.  The conference was well-attended by medical and counseling professionals from several different states.  The problem was, that we were mostly shut out by the medical community in our own backyard.  So one woman who is friends with many doctors practicing on the mid-Delmarva area started asking why her friends weren't attending the conference.  The answers were varied, but one that kept being repeated was that the doctors didn't want to be seen at the conference, because of peer pressure.

And thus, a YouTube channel was born which will eventually have all of the videos from our conference available.  Right now, there are just two:  Dr. Burrascano's presentation on Lyme disease; and Dr. Horowitz's presentation on tick-borne co-infections.  In the coming days, the other four videos will be uploaded and made available.  These include a presentation by Dr. Bransfield on the neuropsychiatric manifestations of tick-borne diseases; a presentation by Dr. Sunjya Schweig on the Lyme and gut connection; and another presentation by Dr. Horowitz on the Lyme-MSIDS Map which explains contributing factors preventing healing.  We also filmed the question and answer session which will also be uploaded.  During this session, Dr. Burrascano successfully enticed Dr. Horowitz to sing his now-famous Lyme song.  It was a great day filled with excellent presentations and we're very happy to be able to provide the presentations on YouTube.

The channel's name is "Lyme Association of Delmarva" to reflect our upcoming name change.

Marilyn Williams

Lyme Disease Association of the Eastern Shore of Maryland