I received several Lyme related books for Christmas. I breezed through Dr. Neil Spector’s book “Gone in a Heartbeat” and am slowly making my way through “Conquering Lyme Disease” by Brian A Fallon, MD and Jennifer Sotsky, MD of the Columbia University Medical Center. Both these books are written by highly respected Doctors and are filled with an incredible amount of information.
I think “Conquering Lyme Disease” and Mary Beth Pfeiffer’s soon to be released “Lyme: The First Epidemic of Climate Change” could be a game changers in the world of Lyme and tick borne diseases. There was a particular part in “Conquering Lyme Disease” that I have shared far and wide:
“Fortunately, science has now created a bridge that brings together the opposing viewpoints.
– Previously chronic persistent subjective symptoms after Lyme disease were not studied because these were considered rare or inconsequential. Now this symptom complex is recognized as a potentially debilitating condition with widespread effects on the nervous, immune, and rheumatologic systems.
• While the exact prevalence is debatable, various studies demonstrate that 5 percent to 20 percent of patients experience symptom persistence and functional impairment for six months or longer (Bechtold et al. 2017; Marques 2008).
• Among patients with persistent symptoms seeking to participate in the U.S. clinical trials of post-treatment Lyme disease, the degree of physical functional impairment among patients was recorded as severe, comparable to patients with congestive heart failure (Klempner et al.2001). The degree of fatigue was comparable to that experienced by individuals with multiple sclerosis, and the degree of pain was comparable to that experienced by individuals after surgery (Fallon et al. 2008). While this does not mean that most patients with post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome experience such severe symptoms and functional deficits, these results do confirm that there is a range of symptoms and of functional impairment that in some cases can be quite severe.
– Previously the laboratory testing for Lyme disease was considered adequate. Now these tests are recognized as limited, outdated, and not sufficiently informative. Researchers around the world are competing with one another to develop assays that are more sensitive in early and late Lyme disease and that provide clarity on whether infection is still present.
– Previously the suggestion that infection with B. burgdorferi might persist after standard courses of antibiotic treatment was considered implausible. Now the persistence of nonculturable B. burgdorferi spirochetes or fragments despite treatment is recognized as a fact in numerous animal models of Lyme disease. Researchers are now trying to determine whether these persistent spirochetes induce local tissue inflammation; if they do, that might account for symptoms. A study (Hodzic et al. 2014) in mice demonstrated that the host tissue modulates its cytokine expression in response to the persistent spirochetes, but there was no evidence of local tissue inflammation. This research continues.
– Previously it was thought that standard antibiotics like doxycycline and amoxicillin eradicate all Borrelia. Now it is recognized in the laboratory setting that these antibiotics eradicate most of the spirochetes that cause Lyme disease but not all. Identifying better antimicrobials to eradicate the “persistent Borrelia” is currently an intense focus of investigation, as is determining whether these new antimicrobial approaches, which are effective in the lab setting, will translate into better outcomes in the animal models.”
The above is valuable information and, from what I am given to understand, most, if not all, will also be discussed in Mary Beth Pfeiffer’s soon to be published book, “Lyme: The First Epidemic of Climate Change”. I can’t wait to receive that one in April! I also can’t wait to hear her speak in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Saturday, May 5th, at our 2nd Annual Lyme Information Session. Lots of very important information will be shared. Mark it on your calendar.