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Common allergy med kills Lyme bacteria?

Encouraging news is spreading throughout the Lyme community. A northern California nonprofit called the Bay Area Lyme Foundation says that a common allergy medicine may help kill the Lyme bacteria. A new laboratory study shows that the antihistamine, loratadine (or as you might know it, Claritin), starves the Lyme bacteria by preventing it to gather manganese, which it evidently needs to harm the body. The study has so far proved Claritin effective in killing Lyme bacteria in test tubes.

The Bay Area Lyme Foundation's mission is to "make Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure, and to make prevention common knowledge." These are our kind of people. 

Not all doctors are educated about Lyme diagnosis and treatment. For many years, the CDC held the line that only 20,000 new cases of Lyme disease were diagnosed annually. Recently, they increased that estimate to 300,000. However, for decades those low numbers, as well as inadequate doctor-education about Lyme prevention and diagnosis, meant inadequate funding for research. Perhaps this breakthrough study is a signal that the tide is turning.

As always, consult your Lyme-literate doctor for further information. Claritin and all allergy medications can cause side effects. The study of loratadine was published in the open access publication Drug Design, Development and Therapy.


Chronic Lyme, a persistent problem

Chronic Lyme disease is the controversial third stage of this multi-stage illness. While medical experts agree that for some, problems and symptoms persist after the standard protocol has been administered. What they don’t agree on is whether these persistent problems should be treated with antibiotics, and for how long. Also in question is the use of the term “chronic.”

According to the
CDC, what many call "chronic Lyme disease," is properly known as "Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome" (PTLDS). Doctors can follow protocol and treat patients who have been diagnosed with early-stage Lyme.

The fact that there is no insurance code for chronic Lyme, or PTLDS, means that many doctors will not treat chronic Lyme with long-term antibiotics.

Dr Lee Cowden, whose Lyme protocol has helped many, including me, agrees about the debilitating effects of long-term antibiotics. Dr Cowden would rather the patient detox and kill the Borrelia bacteria with herbal tinctures such as Cumanda, Samento, Banderol and others which will not punch holes in the gut lining and create problems in addition to the Lyme infection.

Stephen Buhner’s core herbal protocol for Lyme includes Cat’s Claw, Sarsaparilla, Japanese Knotweed and Eleuthero. Stephen is also devoted to helping Lyme patients and his alternative treatments are soundly researched. Many people opt to self-treat with these or other herbal protocols while also still on the doctor-prescribed antibiotics. Stephen has told me that his core protocol will not interfere with standard antibiotic treatment.

My personal approach to treating chronic Lyme, or “late-stage” Lyme as my doctor called it, did include treatment with long-term antibiotics (six months). After that, I embarked on the
Cowden protocol for a couple of years. During that time, I would never have had the stamina to work full-time outside my home. My work as a freelance writer allowed me to keep hours that fit with my quirky schedule of daily napping, frequent breaks, and staying in bed all day when I simply had zippo energy. Talking to sources over the phone, writing propped up on pillows, and a supportive, compassionate partner smoothed the brutal lows and quickened the recovery time.

However, my long healing journey has been successful for one main reason, and it isn’t just afternoon naps or diet or exercise, or love, or even the expensive
Resveratrol that makes the difference -- but all of those do definitely have their place. The real key is a continual re-commitment to healthy living every day, through several daily practices that address and acknowledge these four fundamental areas: my intentions, behaviors, my culture and shared values, and the social systems that play a major, yet somewhat invisible, role in life.

Chronic Lyme or PTLDS will continue to dampen and depress our spirits if left untreated. And long-term antibiotics may not be the answer.


Chronic Lyme and Antibiotics

Q. Hello,

I am new to Lyme Disease... come from a very holistic background, eat a whole food
organic diet, etc. Will not bore you with details and get to my point.

Any idea on the current train of thought on IV antibiotic treatment for people with
? I will also be taking a holistic approach, but am also trying to get the latest info on
antibiotic treatment before my visit with the infectious disease md.

Thank you!

A. Thanks so much for your question. I get where you're coming from, as I've always
been a health-foodie myself. Lyme blindsided me too. Through diligent attention to
my cross-training approach -- including body, mind, spirit and shadow practices daily
-- I am completely well. And I was almost dead. Sounds dramatic, but it's true.

Your question is specifically about IV treatment for chronic Lyme, and I'll tell you,
it's a complicated answer. For one thing, the term "
chronic Lyme" is not a condition
widely agreed upon in the medical world. Whether or not a chronic state of Lyme
disease exists seems to completely depend on whom you ask. Doctors are people
and people have their biases. I noticed recently that the
CDC has changed their
information on their website to reflect that there is a condition which they say is more
properly called “Post-Lyme disease Syndrome,” or PTLDS. The article states that the
cause of PTLDS is as yet unknown.

My bias is to go with a cross-training approach, which I have laid out on our website.
This is what we call "100 Perspectives," which is the way I think about my practices,
the body, mind, spirit and shadow practices that I mentioned. Please read about it
and see what you think.

The notion of long-term
antibiotics (IV and/or oral) is hotly debated. Although I
know that some are grateful for antibiotics long-term, I am also a huge proponent of
attacking the bacteria from every angle. The daily practices are not simply tacked on
to my life, they’re central to it. This is what has worked for me.

Dr. Lee Cowden, whom I've interviewed several times, is a worldwide expert on Lyme
treatment. He's not pro-antibiotics for the long-term. He sees that they can cause
worse problems than the Lyme bacteria can for the intestines. He is in favor of long-
term herbal tinctures, which do not damage the intestines when used as directed in
his protocol. His protocol worked for me as well. We need to bear in mind that the
intestines play a major role in our immune system, so Dr. Cowden’s message is a
significant note of caution, in my opinion.

I suggest that you listen to the
audio interviews on our website that feature Dr.
Cowden. (Many are free for the public to access - go to our blog and do a search.)
He will teach you so much and give you a lot of food for thought, all very positive.

All my very best to you on your healing journey,

Here's more information about Dr. Cowden and the
Cowden protocol.


Chronic Lyme or not - Get educated

A national coalition of health care workers, policy makers and others, the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD), is attempting to educate Americans about the significance of the crisis in our current overall state of health.

The PFCD mission:

* The PFCD believes that rising rates of chronic health problems pose a significant and unsustainable burden on the U.S. health care system, and that the viability and strength of the system presently and in the future relies on a willingness to enact policies that help Americans better prevent and manage chronic illnesses.

The PFCD and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) do not categorize Lyme as a chronic disease. Therefore, it seems unlikely that this organization will help Lyme patients who continue to suffer with Lyme symptoms even though they've already been treated according to the CDC guidelines--a 30-day course of antibiotics.

However, if you suffer with chronic Lyme you may be interested in these six "unhealthy truths" about chronic disease in the United States, which I copied from the PFCD website:

* Truth #1: Chronic diseases are the No. 1 cause of death and disability in the U.S.

* Truth #2: Treating patients with chronic diseases accounts for 75 percent of the nation's health care spending.

* Truth #3: Two-thirds of the increase in health care spending is due to increased prevalence of treated chronic disease.

* Truth #4: The doubling of obesity between 1987 and today accounts for 20 to 30 percent of the rise in health care spending.

* Truth #5: The vast majority of cases of chronic disease could be better prevented or managed.

* Truth #6: Many Americans are unaware of the extent to which chronic diseases could be better prevented or managed.

If you consider yourself ill with chronic Lyme disease, one "healthy truth" to embrace is to get better educated about how to manage your illness. I realize that it's the toughest job you can take on, especially while you're sick. Believe me, I know because I've been there. Although the status of "chronic" or "Post-Lyme Syndrome" may not be easily or quickly determined by the policy makers, your health is what counts here.

Get educated about ways to manage your health, such as eating foods that will nurture (organic greens and proteins), not harm you (refined sugar).

LDRD members, login to listen to Lyme experts.

Lyme review panel members stir concern

At last, the IDSA (Infectious Diseases Society of America) has selected members to review the guidelines for the treatment of Lyme disease. Lyme awareness groups are alarmed at the placement of Carol J. Baker, MD, as the committee chairperson. Notably, there are also no ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society) members on the review panel.

Lynn Shepler, MDJD, shares her concerns:

CAROL J. BAKER, MD, head of the new committee formed as a result of AG Richard Blumenthal's investigation, is Past-President of IDSA, and lists her chief interests as "VACCINOLOGY," "CLINICAL TRIALS," AND "VACCINE POLICY." She has published "more than 100 articles on vaccine research."

Dr. Baker is also a member of the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Was Dr. Baker a member of the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices of the CDC at any point when past or future Lyme disease vaccines have been discussed --- formally, or informally?

The team she is part of at "The Center of Vaccine Awareness and Research" in Houston, Texas describes itself as "dedicated to improving the health of children from infancy through adulthood by promoting vaccinations and educating families and health care providers on all available vaccines."

Uh, does this include the Lyme vaccine(s)? Dr. Wormser's principal conflict of interest was that he was consulting to pharmaceutical companies on Lyme disease vaccines --- something he knew about and refused to disclose to IDSA administrators.

Dr. Wormser was head of each of the two IDSA guidelines on Lyme disease that have been issued. In my personal opinion, both versions of the IDSA guidelines have been biased in favor of vaccine commercialization.

By my reasoning, the need to deny the existence of persistent infection is part of the drive to commercialize Lyme disease vaccines that are not otherwise ready for market. Persistent infection is an important scientific problem that needs to be solved before any vaccine trials can be done. Instead, Wormser et al simply lie, and maintain the patients are sick with "something else."

So, instead of Dr. Wormser, we have a prominent vaccinologist, and former President of IDSA as the head of the committee? On the face of it, I find this very alarming!

(Please post this information to any Lyme disease discussion board to educate patients about the possible biases on the part of members of this new committee).

Following is a list of Lyme review panel members:

Carol J. Baker, MD,
Chair Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX

William A. Charini, MD
Peabody, MA

Paul H. Duray, MD (retired)
Westwood, MA

Paul M. Lantos, MD
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, NC

Gerald Medoff, MD
Washington University School of Medicine
St. Louis, MO

Manuel H. Moro, DVM, MPH, PhD
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD

David M. Mushatt, MD, MPH & TM
Tulane University School of Medicine
New Orleans, LA

Jeffrey Parsonnet, MD
Dartmouth‐Hitchcock Medical Center
Lebanon, NH

Cmdr. John W. Sanders, MD
U.S. Naval Medical Research Center Detachment, Peru

Lyme story airs!

According to Brooke Landau, Lyme activist and TV news reporter, television stations listen and respond when they are deluged with requests from viewers to air stories about a specific topic. Viewers are their bread and butter. Please take the time to comment on the ABC website to let them know you appreciate the story they aired this morning about the documentary film, Under Our Skin. Here's my comment to them:

Thank you, thank you for bringing this growing epidemic to light. However, as many have already noted, the majority of people suffering with Lyme disease never saw a tick bite, and never had the bull's eye rash. In addition, the tests for Lyme have what one physician refers to as "coin toss sensitivity," meaning that if you toss a coin, you get results that are just about as accurate as using the ELISA or the Western Blot for testing positive. According to ILADs physicians I have interviewed for the Lyme Disease Research Database, the CDC has a long history of ignoring scientific evidence for the existence of chronic Lyme disease. Thanks to CT Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, the IDSA is now being forced to review its Lyme disease treatment guidelines. People who are suffering with Lyme due to misdiagnosis, under-diagnosis, and simple ignorance have long been forced to become their own health advocates, often at a time in their lives when they are extremely sick. I applaud you for airing this segment on the Lyme controversy, yet I am disappointed to see that your reporters did not bother to investigate the accuracy of the numbers of new cases of Lyme reported each year. As someone else commented, that 20,000 quote is hideously underestimated. Next time, I hope you have the courage to quote numbers that are closer to the actual truth.

In the Lyme documentary Under Our Skin, filmmaker Andy Abrahams Wilson (Open Eye Pictures) exposes the cruel dismissal that the medical establishment frequently gives people who are sick and suffering with Lyme. The film opened in April at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC. Andy is featured in the LDRD's interview series.