Dr. Mercola made the following comment in response to the news article...."Lyme Disease: A Dubious Diagnosis" printed by The Chicago Tribune and other newspapers. I disagree with his insinuations that there is a wide problem of misdiagnosing mild or everyday symptoms as Lyme disease. He really needs to do more research to be able to address this crucial subject intelligently. He may be sincerely trying to help but if he really is trying to help...then he will study the info and links given below....with an open mind. The following are Dr. Mercola's comments and then I address them below.
Lyme disease is certainly a real illness. It is a bacterial infection chiefly transmitted by deer ticks. It can cause rashes, swollen joints and inflamed nerves.
However, doctors around the U.S. are currently diagnosing ailments such as back pain, poor concentration and fatigue as a chronic form of Lyme disease that can evade standard treatment. Doctors often order months or years of intravenous antibiotics to such patients. Others, however, believe there is little evidence that Lyme disease underlies these problems.
Some say that Lyme is tragically underdiagnosed, that tests endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are unreliable, and that research into the disease will provide cures for many devastating illnesses.
However, according to the Los Angeles Times:
“... [T]he nation's largest professional organization for specialists in infectious disease scrutinized the evidence and concluded that there is ‘no convincing biologic evidence’ for a Lyme infection that persists and continues to sicken despite the recommended treatment ... [Whereas] long-term antibiotic therapy found it can cause serious, even life-threatening problems. In one study, one-fourth of the patients suffered severe problems linked to the treatment, including blood clots, infection and the loss of a gallbladder.” http://tinyurl.com/2aho4fj
With all due respect, Dr. Mercola, you really need to study up a bit more on Lyme disease and its coinfections before you post partial comments which have the potential to harm millions of people. Due to ignorance of the extensive symptom complex of Lyme disease and its coinfections, inaccurate testing, pleomorphism, and the many different strains of Lyme disease, unimaginable numbers of patients are suffering from misdiagnosis and are allowed to continue to suffer AND deteriorate due to untreated or UNDERtreated bacterial infections..... which includes Lyme disease (borrelia burgdorferi) and different strains of mycoplasma.
In our modern polluted society, where people consume a highly refined diet, there are many causes for chronic illness. Apparently our weakened immune systems are enabling our bodies to accumulate a variety of pathogenic organisms...or...they become pathogenic due to certain sickly conditions of the body. I do think...as I believe you do.....that diet is of utmost importance in strengthening our immune systems. However, due to the fact that many Lyme patients do not notice a tick bite, do not notice or get a rash and don't always have a sudden onset of flu like symptoms.....a growing number of people have late stage Lyme before they are diagnosed. (I was misdiagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for 8 years)By this time...as in my case.....the infection has become deeply entrenched and is rarely cured in this stage with only 3 weeks of antibiotics....or nutritional therapy alone. The antibioitcs given to the patient may also not be the proper antibiotic for that particular strain.Often different antibiotics in different combinations need to be tried in order to attack a particular strain OR COMBINATION of strains and various coinfecting bacteria. To add to this dilema, the Lyme spirochete is pleomorphic...which means it can change form and hide out in the body for the purpose of evading our immune system, antibiotics and current testing. There are also many accepted scientific reasons as to why a Lyme patient can test negative but still harbor the Lyme pathogen. Here are some of them from Dr. Bransfield's website http://www.mentalhealthandillness.com/seronegativelymedisease.html
SERONEGATIVE LYME DISEASE 1. Recent infection before immune response 2. Antibodies are in immune complexes 3. Spirochete encapsulated by host tissue (i.e.: lymphocytic cell walls) 4. Spirochete is deep in host tissue (i.e.: fibroblasts, neurons, etc.) 5. Blebs in body fluid, no whole organisms needed for PCR 6 No spirochetes in body fluid on day of test 7. Genetic heterogeneity (300 strains, 100 in U.S.) 8. Antigenic variability 9. Surface antigens change with temperature 10.Utilization of host protease instead of microbial protease 11. Spirochete in dormancy phase (L-form) with no cell walls 12 Recent antibiotic treatment 13 Recent anti-inflammatory treatment 14 Concomitant infection with babesia may cause immunosuppression 15 Other causes of immunosuppression 16 Lab with poor technical capability for Lyme disease 17 Lab tests not standardized for late stage disease 18 Lab tests labeled "for investigational use only" 19 CDC criteria is epidemiological not a diagnostic criteria 20 Lack of standardized control 21 Most controls use only a few strains as reference point 22 Few organisms are sometimes present 23 Encapsulated by glycoprotein "S-layer" which impairs immune recognition 24 "S"- layer binds to IgM 25 Immune deficiency 26 Possible down regulation of immune system by cytokines 27 Revised W.B. criteria fails to include most significant antigens
Using IV antibiotics should be carefully thought out and of course they should not be used indiscriminately. Usually doctors who have treated hundreds of cases of intractable Lyme disease, only prescribe IV antibiotics when the infection has become deeply embedded in the nervous system and the patient is extremely ill. I had fairly severe neurological Lyme disease after 8 years of no treatment (during that time I had used naturopathic methods which helped but I continued to deteriorate) but for whatever reasons I was treated with oral antibiotics only. There was no improvement until the 3 month mark and then gradually....in a cyclic manner, I began to improve.This illustrates the importance of a long enough trial of antibiotics for serious illness. Different antibiotics were rotated and combined until I could finally resume a mostly normal life. I am deeply grateful for the insight and dedication of the physicians who were brave enough to treat me midst "mainstream" disapproval. Lyme disease (borrelia burgdorferi), like its close cousin syphilis....can be a persistent relapsing infection....so...often patients need to be retreated periodically and of course monitored with blood tests. Lyme doctors also advise their patients to use plently of probiotics.
For concrete evidence of the persistence of Lyme disease....hence the term "chronic lyme", please see the many studies which back up long term rotating antibiotic treatment. http://www.lymeinfo.net/lymefiles.html For some reason the Infectious Disease Society of America completely avoids this scientific evidence. Not only are they avoiding this evidence but they are discrediting the very real patient experiences of improving on long term antibiotics and they are discrediting a growing number of doctors whose clinical experience obviously points to the chronic nature of Lyme disease.
The concern over drug side effects seems to be confined to Lyme disease. What about the immune destroying cancer treatments? Lyme disease can also be fatal...so one has to weigh the side effects of a drug with the improvements made. Isn't that what they do with cancer? Then there are the steroids that are used for multiple sclerosis treatments. Steroids also lower the function of the immune system. In fact many who were diagnosed as M.S. patients have been treated with steroids.....only to find out that what they really had was Lyme disease. The steroids can weaken the Lyme patient's immune system and often makes the Lyme infection progress. So here lies another important reason for being extremely familiar with the Lyme disease symptom complex. Lyme disease can affect every area of the body and it is called the great imitator...as is its cousin syphilis.
Another grave concern is the overdiagnosis of Lyme disease as only depression. Antidepressants are often handed out instead of the needed antibiotics. This is never mentioned in the media. We are drugging the minds of our society and you don't hear much about the extensive misuse of this class of drugs.Is this intentional? It appears that any drugs which try to address the ROOT cause of illness ....are discouraged. Drug companies make billions on symptomatic treatments instead of treating the cause. I do agree with you Dr. Mercola...that every headache or backache should not automatically be diagnosed as Lyme disease.....that would be ridiculous and from my observation, this is not happening. That is not to say that there may be a few unscrupulous physicians who overprescribe IV antibiotics...and who also overdiagnose. Medicine is not an exact science. This happens in every area of medicine....altho we mainly hear about it in conjunction with Lyme disease. Many are beginning to realize that there is something fishy surrounding the whole Lyme disease issue. If there are nefarious goals surrounding the denial of chronic lyme....they will eventually be brought to light but hopefully it will be before too many more lives are destroyed.
In closing I just want to comment that the mainstream medical cartel, which apparently has conflicts of interests (which the CT Attorney General uncovered)...seems to focus on IV longterm treatment for Lyme...making the treatment sound more controversial and widespread than it is. From what I have observed and experienced, high doses of the proper oral antibiotics and combinations of oral antibiotics can often work just as well as IV. Many doctors try this route first before prescribing the more dangerous IV antibiotics.
So....for everyone's homework.....I would suggest that when you think of Lyme disease and the debate over its chonicity and treatment......think of all the other dangerous medical treatments out there that only treat the SYMPTOMS.You don't hear the mainstream complaining about overuse of steroids in M.S. or chemotherapy drugs...or antidepressants, cholesterol drugs, antacid drugs....etc. Why could this be? Because none of these drugs are addressing the CAUSE of the illness. If they addressed the cause then the drug companies , testing companies, medical scanning equipment...etc....would go out of business.
For another take on a possible reason for the denial of chronic lyme, check out "Discreet Methods Of Biological Warfare http://tinyurl.com/37skeam