Saturday, December 26, 2015

Anti-inflammatory effects of dexamethasone and meloxicam on Borrelia burgdorferi-induced inflammation in neuronal cultures of dorsal root ganglia and myelinating cells of the peripheral nervous system

Anti-inflammatory effects of dexamethasone and meloxicam on Borrelia burgdorferi-induced inflammation in neuronal cultures of dorsal root ganglia and myelinating cells of the peripheral nervous system
Geeta Ramesh, Olivia C. Meisner and Mario T. Philipp
Journal of Neural Inflammation, online first, December 23, 2015.


Lyme neuroborreliosis (LNB), caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb), could result in cognitive impairment, motor dysfunction, and radiculoneuritis. We hypothesized that inflammation is a key factor in LNB pathogenesis and recently evaluated the effects of dexamethasone, a steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, and meloxicam a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), in a rhesus monkey model of acute LNB. Dexamethasone treatment significantly reduced the levels of immune mediators, and prevented inflammatory and/or neurodegenerative lesions in the central and peripheral nervous systems, and apoptosis in the dorsal root ganglia (DRG). However, infected animals treated with meloxicam showed levels of inflammatory mediators, inflammatory lesions, and DRG cell apoptosis that were similar to that of the infected animals that were left untreated.

To address the differential anti-inflammatory effects of dexamethasone and meloxicam on neuronal and myelinating cells of the peripheral nervous system (PNS), we evaluated the potential of these drugs to alter the levels of Bb-induced inflammatory mediators in rhesus DRG cell cultures and primary human Schwann cells (HSC), using multiplex enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). We also ascertained the ability of these drugs to modulate cell death as induced by live Bb in HSC using the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) viability assay and the potential of dexamethasone to modulate Bb-induced apoptosis in HSC by the TUNEL assay.

Earlier, we reported that dexamethasone significantly reduced Bb-induced immune mediators and apoptosis in rhesus DRG cell cultures. Here, we report that dexamethasone but not meloxicam significantly reduces the levels of several cytokines and chemokines as induced by live Bb, in HSC and DRG cell cultures. Further, meloxicam does not significantly alter Bb-induced cell death in HSC, while dexamethasone protects HSC against Bb-induced cell death.

These data help further explain our in vivo findings of significantly reduced levels of inflammatory mediators, DRG-apoptosis, and lack of inflammatory neurodegenerative lesions in the nerve roots and DRG of Bb-infected animals that were treated with dexamethasone, but not meloxicam. Evaluating the role of the signaling mechanisms that contribute to the anti-inflammatory potential of dexamethasone in the context of LNB could serve to identify therapeutic targets for limiting radiculitis and axonal degeneration in peripheral LNB.

Free, full text (pdf file, 2.7 MB):

Lyme and Other Tick-Borne Diseases: Science Bridging the Gap: 

Summary Report from:

Lyme Disease Association 16th Annual Conference, November 14 & 15 2015, Rhode Island, USA

Report from Dr Sandra Pearson, Lyme Disease Action's Medical Director, who attended the conference.

The conference was opened by Patricia Smith, President of the Lyme Disease Association, who gave an overview of the spread of Lyme disease and increase in tick-borne diseases in the USA. Pat detailed the work of the Lyme Disease Association in raising awareness and the significant support and fund-raising undertaken for important research projects.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Could Claritin Cure Lyme Disease?

I have posted about this before, but here is another publication on the same topic:

An OTC allergy medication may be able to kill the bacteria behind Lyme disease, bringing researchers closer to developing the first targeted therapy for the debilitating infection.

Since Lyme-causing Borrelia burgdorferi survive on manganese (Mn), researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine hypothesized that blocking the bacteria's Mn transport protein, Borrelia metal transporter A (BmtA), would starve the bacteria and ultimately help cure the infection.

Among a shortlist of FDA-approved compounds that could potentially bind to the BmtA structure, the investigators determined that the antihistamine loratadine (Claritin)—and specifically its metabolite, desloratadine—were able to inhibit Mn from entering the cell walls of Borrelia, causing the bacteria to die in test tubes.

Read the full story:

Medical brain teaser from a colleague...

Okay. So I love to play Scrabble on my computer, early in the morning, with a cup of coffee. 

This morning I played the word "pint" and the computer added an "a" to the word on the next round.  

Pinta? As in Nina, Pinta and the Santa Maria???

I was lost for a definition. So I asked the program to define the word and it came back: skin disease.

Well you all know how I love Google. And guess what, pinta is a skin disease caused by a spirochete -Treponema pallidum (as many of the docs here might well know).

From the Merck Manual:

Bejel, pinta, and yaws (endemic treponematoses) are chronic, tropical, nonvenereal spirochetal infections spread by body contact. Symptoms of bejel are mucous-membrane and cutaneous lesions, followed by bone and skin gummas. Yaws causes periostitis and dermal lesions. Pinta lesions are confined to the dermis. Diagnosis is clinical and epidemiologic. Treatment is with penicillin.


Pinta is a bacterial infection of the skin that causes lesions, red to bluish-black colored spots and splotches, and discoloration of the skin.


Pinta is a skin infection caused by the bacterium Treponema carateum , a relative of the bacterium that causes syphilis. The word "pinta" comes from Spanish and means "painted." Pinta is also known as "azula" (blue), and "mal de pinto" (pinto sickness). It is one of several infections caused by different Treponema bacteria, which are called "endemic" or "non-venereal" treponematoses.


Pinta is spread from one person to another by direct skin-to-skin contact. The bacteria enter the skin through a small cut, scratch, or other skin damage. Once inside the body, warmth and moisture allow the bacteria to multiply. The bacterial infection causes red, scaly lesions on the skin.

The disease is also known as endemic syphilis. According to Medscape,

"Treponemes are highly sensitive to azithromycin and penicillin, which remain the drugs of choice. Yaws, pinta, and endemic syphilis are treated with azithromycin or penicillin G benzathine. Alternatives are appropriate only if penicillin cannot be used. Tetracyclines or chloramphenicol have been used. Treatment failures with penicillin have been reported, but reinfection could not be ruled out."

And look at this photo of rashes caused by the disease posted at a site run by BRIAN L. ALTONEN, MS MPH.  It resembles a bull's eye.

Here is Altonen's description of the disease:

Pintos Malady

Pinta is a skin condition that occurs in Mexico, Central America and South America.  It is caused by Treponema pallidum carateum, an organism quite similar in biology and genetics to the Treponema pallidum associated with syphilis.   The ability for a bacterium to evolve within a given region is obviously quite possible, and this version of Treponema is no exemption to this evolutionary concept.   The prevalence of  this version of Treponema is not unique to Mexico's epidemiological history.  As early as Chris Colon's arrival to the New World in 1492, it was possible for this form of sexually transmitted disease to make its way around the world in exchange for equally contagious forms of measles and small pox left behind by the same sailing crew.

The most noticeable feature of those infected by this bacterium is the mottled skin, with varying colors and sizes of the patches that are formed.  The resemblances of these patches to the mottled, marble-like patterns found on Pinto horses naturalizing to this region is the source of the name for this condition.  Pinta is transmitted through direct skin-to-skin contact rather than through mucosal membranes like the related Treponema pallidum when it is responsible for syphilis.  Two to three weeks following transmission the area in and around the point of contact erupts to form a papule, which ultimately becomes dry and scaley enabling the skin to flake off.  Three to nine months later, thick, flat patches are formed all over the body which can remain there permanently at times resulting in reductions and increases in the natural pigmentation process scattered about the body's surface irregularly.

What I haven't seen yet is how people come in contact with this bacteria in the first place.The disease common in childhood. Here's a 2014 article on the topic from Clinical Microbiology Reviews. 

I guess this rambling also speaks to six degrees of separation for bacteria too. And certainly provides food for thought about the rashes, sexual transmission and other issues we have discussed here.

PA woman says she was sickened by risky Lyme treatment

Mon Dec 14, 2015 12:24 pm (PST) . 

*Pa. woman says she was sickened by risky Lyme treatment*
Tom Avril, /The Philadelphia Inquirer/, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

December 8, 2015

Ashley Pettis started to have trouble concentrating at the end of spring 
semester in 2013 at Lancaster Bible College, and soon began to feel 
sluggish and achy.

Exhausted by the end of the summer, she was found to have mononucleosis. 
But later, she still felt sick, and went that fall to Haverford Wellness 
Center in the Montgomery County town of Harleysville, seeking answers.

Clinicians there said she had late-stage Lyme disease, a chronic form of 
the tick-borne illness that is diagnosed in an estimated 300,000 
Americans a year.
The treatment they administered was controversial: five months of 
heavy-duty oral and intravenous antibiotics costing tens of thousands of 
dollars that her insurance would not cover.

Pettis did not have Lyme disease at all.

*Full story & comments*:


What do you think? Leave comments!


Monday, December 14, 2015

Ticks in Christmas trees

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – An unseasonably warm winter could see ticks and mites in Christmas tree branches.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of trees are cut, sold, and stood up in houses all over the world. But this season has been abnormally warm, and experts say that can bring some unwanted insects hidden in the branches.

Christmas season is an industry all on its own. Troy's Landscaping in Albany New York sells over 1,500 trees each year. This winter is off to a mild start, and without snow to brush off the branches, some trees may have insects, such as ticks and mites, settled in for the winter.

"They can shake them out," tree salesman Justin Burbube said. "If they are nervous, they can go home, set it up in their garage for a day or two. If your garage is warm enough, if there are ticks, that may help them get out."

If you do find bugs in your tree, don't spray pesticides on the tree. It's toxic to breathe in and could cause the tree to catch on fire if it has Christmas lights.

Burbube said there's no way to know exactly what, if anything, is living in a Christmas tree, so it's important to remain observant.

"Just be vigilant," he said. "You check your kids and your dog that you aren't getting anything like that. A lot of places are like us. They do a good job of making sure that you don't get the ticks."

See the article:

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Isolation of live Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato spirochetes....

Isolation of live Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato spirochetes from patients with undefined disorders and symptoms not typical for Lyme borreliosis — ScienceDirectThis is groundbreaking, if confirmed!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Austrailian soldier claims antimarial drug mefloquine caused brain damage

This story is relevant to Lyme because of the references to doxycycline (the antibiotic most often used for treating Lyme disease) and anti-malarial drugs such as Lariam. That drug brings to mind other antimalarials such as Mepron and Malarone, both used for treating Babesia in the brain.

A West Australian former soldier has spoken out over fears an anti-malaria drug he took as part of a pharmaceutical trial while serving has left him with a permanent and debilitating brain injury.

Former rifleman Mathew Emerson came forward after another high-ranking currently serving soldier gave evidence at a Senate inquiry last week,detailing concerns hundreds of soldiers may have suffered severe long-term side effects from the drug mefloquine, including depression, anxiety, vertigo, nightmares and suicidal thoughts.

Mr Emerson, 35, said his battalion was offered the choice of mefloquine, marketed as Lariam, or the older more established drug doxycycline, prior to a planned deployment to East Timor in 2001.

"They said 'it's got less side effects than doxycycline, and you only need to take it once a week', so most of the people I knew decided to take the mefloquine," he said.

"I felt perfectly safe and that the Army had my life as their best interest. They trained me, they're meant to look after me, but in this case, they didn't."

He said he was told to sign a consent form, and that if he did not sign it he could not deploy.

He stopped taking the drug after experiencing nausea, but then was placed back on it for another five weeks.

In 2003, Mr Emerson said he started to "go downhill" mentally.

"I started to feel depressed. I wanted to kill myself, had constant thoughts about it," he said.

"I went to see the Army psychiatrists, and it sounded stupid when I went to say the words so I didn't say anything, I just kept my mouth shut.

"I put on a rosy exterior, just tried to keep a smile on my face all the time."

He also started having nightmares and outbursts of anger, and in 2004 had a complete nervous breakdown where he woke up in hospital with no memory of the previous few days, despite being conscious and alert during that time.

Mefloquine use in Australia

  • Mefloquine approved for use by Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in 1993
  • Drug's factsheet from manufacturer Roche notes neuropsychiatric effects including anxiety, paranoia, depression and psychotic behaviour have been reported to occur long after the drug has ceased to be taken
  • The ADF continues to prescribe mefloquine, but says it is a "third-line agent", and only used when one of two other TGA-approved medications are not appropriate
  • ADF says prescriptions have averaged 25 per year for the past five years

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Treatment for MS does well in phase 3 trials

(since this is one of the misdiagnoses of Lyme, maybe it will interest some)

Anti-CD20 antibody wows in multiple sclerosis

Nature Biotechnology
Published online
09 December 2015
Jessica Wilson / Science Source
MRI of normal brain (left) and one with multiple sclerosis (right).
Roche plans to seek approval early in the new year for its anti-CD20 antibody ocrelizumab as therapy in both forms of multiple sclerosis (MS)—primary progressive and relapsing remitting—following positive outcomes from recent phase 3 trials.


Is chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) actually an infection by a type of herpes virus?

Dolores Claesson, FL 

Friday, December 4, 2015

German sudy finds Lyme disease in mosquitoes

Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2015 Nov 12. pii: S1877-959X(15)30032-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ttbdis.2015.10.018. [Epub ahead of print]

Occurrence of Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. in different genera of mosquitoes (Culicidae) in Central Europe.

Melaun C1Zotzmann S1Santaella VG1Werblow A1Zumkowski-Xylander H2Kraiczy P3Klimpel S4.


Author information




Lyme disease or Lyme borreliosis is a vector-borne infectious disease caused by spirochetes of the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato complex. Some stages of the borrelial transmission cycle in ticks (transstadial, feeding and co-feeding) can potentially occur also in insects, particularly in mosquitoes. In the present study, adult as well as larval mosquitoes were collected at 42 different geographical locations throughout Germany. This is the first study, in which German mosquitoes were analyzed for the presence of Borrelia spp. Targeting two specific borrelial genes, flaB and ospA encoding for the subunit B of flagellin and the outer surface protein A, the results show that DNA of Borrelia afzelii, Borrelia bavariensis and Borrelia garinii could be detected in ten Culicidae species comprising four distinct genera (Aedes, Culiseta, Culex, and Ochlerotatus). Positive samples also include adult specimens raised in the laboratory from wild-caught larvae indicating that transstadial and/or transovarial transmission might occur within a given mosquito population.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Exploring The Link Between Infection And Mental Illness

The latest research into the link between germs and mental illness -- and what we all need to know. 

In the early 20th century, if you displayed symptoms of mental illness a doctor might have searched you for signs of infection, and then removed the teeth, tonsils or other body part that was the suspected culprit. Treatment has evolved a great deal since then, but the idea that infection could play a significant role in some mental illness is making a comeback. A number of experts say ten to fifteen percent of conditions – from schizophrenia to bipolar disorder – could be caused by infection. But many others warn too much remains unknown to dramatically change our thinking about treatment. We explore the link between germs and our mental health.


  • Dr. Robert Yolken director, Stanley Laboratory of Developmental Neurovirology; professor of pediatrics, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • Harriet Washington medical ethicist and writer; author of the new book "Infectious Madness: The Surprising Science of How We 'Catch' Mental Illness", and of 2007's "Medical Apartheid", winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award; Shearing fellow at the University of Nevada's Black Mountain Institute; former Research Fellow in Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School
  • Dr. James Giordano Professor of Neurology; Chief, Neuroethics Studies Program at Georgetown University Medical Center
Read full transcript and/or Listen to the show:

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Lyme disease increase predicted by acorn boom

In New York's Hudson Valley, it's hard to go outside without stepping on an acorn. Oaks have 'boom and bust' acorn production cycles. In lean years, trees produce a handful of nuts. In boom years, acorns seem to rain down from the sky. We are currently experiencing an acorn bumper-crop, or what ecologists call a 'mast' year.

In some forests, there can be more than 100 acorns per square meter. This is welcome news to animals like mice, chipmunks, and squirrels. They can gorge on the bounty and stock their larders. Acorn caches help wildlife avoid predators and survive the lean months of winter. They even give well-fed rodents a jump-start on the breeding season.

For this reason, acorn "mast" years are also harbingers of future Lyme disease risk. In the summer following acorn booms, white-footed mouse numbers explode. In New York's Hudson Valley, these mice play a major role in infecting blacklegged ticks with the agents that cause Lyme disease, Babesiosis, and Anaplasmosis.

Cary Institute disease ecologist Rick Ostfeld explains.

"The ticks that are emerging as larvae in August – just as the mice and chipmunks are reaching their population peaks – they have tons of excellent hosts to feed from. They survive well and they get infected with tick-borne pathogens. And that means that two years following a good acorn crop we see high abundance of infected ticks, which represents a risk of human exposure to tick borne disease."

Predictions are based on 20 years of field studies that have confirmed the relationship among acorn mast years, mouse outbreaks, and the prevalence of infected ticks. Mark your calendars – 2017 will likely be a bad year for Lyme disease.

"Earth Wise" is heard on WAMC Northeast Public Radio and is supported by the Cary Institute.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Dangerous Antibiotic-Resistance Gene Identified in China

November 18, 2015

Dangerous Antibiotic-Resistance Gene Identified in China — Implications "Enormous"

By Joe Elia

Edited by Susan Sadoughi, MD, and Richard Saitz, MD, MPH, FACP, FASAM

Polymyxin resistance, possibly caused by extensive use of colistin in meat production, has emerged in China, according to a study in the Lancet Infectious Diseases.

The resistance factor, called MCR-1, is carried on a plasmid (a small, extrachromosomal piece of DNA in bacteria) and could be transferred between strains of E. coli. It has also occurred in other enterobacteria, including Klebsiella and Pseudomonas.

Samples of meat sold at retail in China showed an increased prevalence of the factor between 2011 and 2014. Sixteen hospitalized people also tested positive for MCR-1.

Commentators say that "the implications of this finding are enormous," warning that MCR-1 "will seriously limit the lifespan of the polymyxins as the backbone of regimens against multiply resistant Gram-negative bacilli."

- See more at:

"Emergence of plasmid-mediated colistin resistance mechanism MCR-1 in animals and human beings in China: a microbiological and molecular biological study"

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Scientific evidence for persistence of Lyme bacteria

The list of scientific references from ILADS, with information provided by Dr. Bransfield, is actually 5 separate lists. 

The first list (general) is very long. Farther down are separate lists: Another long one on psychiatric topics, and toward the bottom of the file, lists on AD, autism, and congenital transmission.  

Thanks to MMI (Microbes and Mental Illness) for having posted these lists, and to Dr. Bransfield for his dedicated work on them. 

New movie about the Lyme controversy

This is a recent video by Randy Sykes about the Lyme controversy:


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Fossilized tick found in amber indicates Lyme disease is older than human race

Tick larvae encased in a 15- to 20-million-year-old piece of amber contains oldest known ancestor of Borrelia burgdorferi.

Mar 09, 2015

Veterinary professionals are no strangers to the stealthy spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi—but the discovery of spirochete-like cells in a 15-million-year-old amber-encased tick reveals that the bacteria have been lurking around long before humans walked the Earth.

The discovery was made by George Poinar Jr., a paleoentomologist, parasitologist and one of the world's leading experts on plant and animal life forms found preserved in amber. In fact, you may remember the amber-encased mosquito in the plot of the wildly popular Michael Crichton novel and movie Jurassic Park. Poinar's early research is said to have inspired the story.

Read the whole story:

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Your data can help find a cure for Lyme

Invites You To Participate in MyLymeData
MyLymeData is a patient-powered research project. It was conceived by patients, is run by patients, and addresses the issues that patients care about. It lets Lyme disease patients learn from each other and provides data that can help drive research to improve their lives.
Together we can find a cure for Lyme disease!
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Malaria code cracked?

[Scientists] say it is down to protein molecules called cyclins that cause cells to divide rapidly in the malaria parasite. Since Malaria and Babesiosis have common traits, I post this article. Both are treated with the same meds, typically: Mepron and Malarone.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Is Alzheimer’s Disease Infectious?

AIMS Neuroscience, Volume 2 (4): 240–258. DOI: 10.3934/Neuroscience.2015.4.240 Received date 31 July 2015, Accepted date 4 November 2015, Published date 11 November 2015

Abstract: Alzheimer's disease (AD) has been recently considered as a possible brain infection related to the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) transmissible dementia model. As with CJD, there is controversy whether the infectious agent is an amyloid protein (prion theory) or a bacterium. In this review, we show that the prion theory lacks credibility because spiroplasma, a tiny wall-less bacterium, is clearly involved in the pathogenesis of CJD and the prion amyloid can be separated from infectivity. In addition to prion amyloid deposits, the transmissible agent of CJD is associated with amyloids (A-β, Tau, and α-synuclein) characteristic of other neurodegenerative diseases including AD and Parkinsonism. Reports of spiroplasma inducing formation of α-synuclein in tissue culture and Borrelia spirochetes inducing formation of A-β and Tau in tissue culture suggests that bacteria may have a role in the pathogenesis of the neurodegenerative diseases.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

literature review on persistence

Here is a literature review on persistence of Lyme bacteria post antibiotic therapy. 

PANS - A case for antibiotic therapy?

A PANS Case Study, Immune Treatment Reduced Psychiatric Symptoms
(Robert M. Post)
"Pediatric acute neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS) is a little-known syndrome in which a child has an acute onset of psychiatric symptoms following a bacterial or viral infection, when the antibodies generated to fight the infection instead attack neurons in the brain. The behavioral alterations can be severe and resistant to the usual psychotropic drug treatments. PANS often requires antibiotics and immune-targeted therapies."
"Mycoplasma pneumonia, influenza, Epstein Barr virus, and Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease) are often involved."

Ultimate cause of Alzheimer's may be fungal, cadaver study suggests

Ultimate cause of Alzheimer's may be fungal, cadaver study suggests.

The Economist (10/23/15) reports that a study published online Oct. 15 in the journal Scientific Reports suggests that "the ultimate cause of Alzheimer's is fungal." Researchers arrived at this conclusion after examining "brain tissue from 25 cadavers, 14 of which belonged to people who had had Alzheimer's disease when alive." The study authors now "think a clinical trial of anti-fungal drugs is the next logical step."
Robert C Bransfield, MD, DLFAPA

Alzheimer's patients have high levels of ceramides, lipid rafts comprised of very long chain fatty acids.
Mattson published this initially in an NIH study in 2004 and
  again in 2010 
Alzheimer's does not originate in the brain as once thought, it is a peroxisomal disorder induced by toxic insult turning on cytokines and
 disabling / inhibiting the ability to beta oxidize (burn) very long chain fatty acids.
Spirochetes feed on very long chain fatty acids, in fact, lyme cannot survive without very long chain fatty acid food source
  because they cannot form them.  The base of the flagellum consists of these very long chain fatty acids.  The flagellum
 swings like a wrecking ball (Edward Kane, age 90, description of the phenomenon) and is nonfunctional without these
 specialized very long chain fatty acids it feeds on from its host.
Toxic mold exposure results in  DNA adducts (epigenetic) insult, cytokine expression, major inhibition of beta oxidation, and a sharp rise in 
   very long chain fatty acids.
Its not just in Alzheimers...also psychiatric disorders, metabolic abnormalities, Autism, Parkinson's, ALS, MS, Post Stroke, NeuroLyme, CFS....

Explains also why they do so well with phenylbutyrate. potent anti-fungal.
Easy to treat.  Who paid attention to my previous writings....

Dr. Patricia Kane, PhD, Director
NeuroLipid Research Foundation