The Lyme Disease Controversy – How Politics is Causing Untold Suffering to ThousandsShare on Facebook Twitter
Physical Wellness, Bacteria, Lyme disease
Diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease is currently a huge controversy in United States. Two groups of people are articulating different principles – one group believes Lyme disease can be easily treated with weeks of antibiotics while another group finds that treating Lyme disease patients for years and years using antibiotics are needed in order for a person to get better. At the heart of this issue is politics. Let’s follow the money trail to know why these decisions are made.
Darius Soon, 21/9/2015– Get free updates of new posts here
Dr Charles Ray Jones, an 80-year-old paediatrician, was sentenced to a fine of $10,000 and a 4-year supervised probation by a licensed paediatrician in 2010. Politics is at work because he was giving antibiotics to children affected by Lyme disease beyond the four weeks of antibiotics specified by Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).
There is currently a huge controversy which is documented in the film “Under Our Skin” directed by Andy Abraham Wilson on how Lyme disease should be diagnosed and treated in the United States.
The current diagnosis for a person with Lyme disease going to a conventional medical clinic is ascertained through the ELISA and Western Blot test. These are indirect tests of infection, because instead of identifying the organism itself, they look for antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi that were made by the immune system. ELISA tests measure the total amount of anti-Borrelia burgdorferi antibodies present, while Western blots identify individual antibodies and look for specific protein patterns that are unique to Borrelia. If enough of these Borrelia proteins are present, the test is considered to be positive.
The problem is that the less antibody response a person has on the Western blot, it can actually indicate that the person has a more serious condition, since the body has given up the fight of producing antibodies against the bugs.
A study published in 2007 in the British Medical Journal by Ray Stricker, MD, and Lorraine Johnson, found that the overall sensitivity of the combined ELISA-Western blot was only 56%. Further, based on current findings by Benjamin Luft, M.D, Professor of Medicine at Stony Brook University Medical Centre, there are four highly virulent mutations of Borrelia burgdorferi which would be missed because the markers are never tested. This would render the two tests only 25% accurate.
In other words, 75% of people who are positive Lyme cases would be dismissed by medical doctors as not having Lyme disease when they actually do have them. Currently, the world’s most accurate laboratory for Lyme disease testing is Igenex (www.igenex.com), with more than 90% success rate in identifying Lyme cases, because it uses different strains of Borrelia burgdorferi for its testing (both the B31 and 297 strains).
Treatment of Lyme disease typically requires rounds of antibiotics. Even then, there are different viewpoints in terms of administering the antibiotics. One viewpoint espouses that Lyme disease is hard to catch and easy to cure. Its proponents promote short-term antibiotic treatment regimens of a few weeks. Unfortunately, this is too short to make a difference for the patients who usually remain symptomatic after that course of treatment. Supporters of this view which include the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and insurance companies believe that any remaining symptoms are “autoimmune” rather than from the bacterial infection.
“This is because scientific research had shown that even after longer term treatment with antibiotics, some even up to years, some of the Lyme bacteria can continue to survive.”
Physicians who are actually treating chronic Lyme patients, however, have a different viewpoint. They believe that repeated courses of antibiotics and using a combination of antibiotics which attack the bacteria in different ways are more effective. This is because scientific research had shown that even after longer term treatment with antibiotics, some even up to years, some of the Lyme bacteria can continue to survive. It is therefore believed that this small amount of bacteria is what caused the autoimmune response of the body. As such, repeated courses of different combinations of antibiotics are administered.
Why is the IDSA so reluctant to continue with antibiotics? It has to do with the politics – many of the doctors involved in IDSA were found to have substantial conflicts of interest as they held commercial interests in Lyme-related diagnostic tests, vaccines and insurance. They were also found in a 17-month investigation by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal to have held back critical scientific researches to support their viewpoints.
The people who are caught in the middle and suffering are the patients afflicted with Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. And suffering they really are – anxiety, panic attacks, depression, joint pains, mobility issues, abdominal pain – these are just a small subset of the symptoms that Lyme disease can create. In fact, the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease, borrelia, can cause up to fifty to five hundred times stronger inflammatory response than a common bacteria like E. coli, based on a 1994 study published in the journal Infection and Immunity. This explains the extreme pain that clients with borrelia are affected by.
The story of this Lyme disease controversy is a tiny slice of the politics at work in the larger scheme of medical treatments which are currently monopolized by the pharmaceutical companies and the allopathic physicians.