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ELISA

New Lyme test for early detection

Here's a piece of good news. If you live in the Lyme-endemic region of Milford, CT, you have a new option for testing. And -- unless you have Aetna -- your insurance plan should cover it.

Pathologist Sin Hang Lee, MD, and his team have developed a DNA test for early Lyme detection. Details are available in the American Journal of Clinical Pathology. The test is the first of its kind. I recently talked with Dr Lee about the new test, which has been in use at the Milford Hospital for about one year.

Early detection is extremely important. People who are diagnosed with Lyme in the early stage have a good chance of receiving treatment that will cure them, and they will have no further complications from the disease. The DNA test eliminates the false positives that are problematic in the traditional Lyme tests, specifically the Western Blot and the ELISA.

The test is good news for people in the Milford area who suspect they've been bitten by a tick. Reports from other regions in the NE, such as Portland, Maine, are already warning of an increase in tick bites this year.


According to the announcement of the new DNA Lyme test, "physicians at the Milford Hospital Emergency Center and Walk-in Urgent Care Center, who see about 40,000 patients a year, usually order the traditional antibody testing and the new DNA test for patients presenting with Lyme disease-like symptoms. Most insurance companies except Aetna will pay for the test."

Patients and physicians interested in information on this DNA test may call George Poole, manager of Milford Medical Laboratory, at 203-876-4496.

Listen to our interview with Dr. Sin Hang Lee about the Lyme DNA test.
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Bring testing into the 21st century

How many times have you wondered why the flawed technology of the Western blot and the ELISA are still the standard test for Lyme? Hasn't anyone figured out a better, more sensitive test by now? New research is being done with twenty-first century technology, such as genomics and proteomics. More sensitive tests mean that greater numbers of people infected with borrelia would have a chance to begin treatment before Lyme enters the later stages. A person who tested negative for Lyme with the Western blot may actually test positive when tested for certain protein markers.

Pamela Weintraub, author of
Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic, and senior editor at Discover Magazine, pulls no punches in a recent post about the IDSA's choice of panelists. The panel that has been assembled seems likely to merely reaffirm the old guard, and not consider new University-based scientific research.

"As someone who has traveled the country for six years interviewing these scientists to write my book,
Cure Unknown, I can tell you unequivocally that many of the top researchers at the top institutions in the world do not think the original IDSA panel got it right," writes Pamela.

"Are recommended treatment protocols truly curing most of those with early, invasive borreliosis, as IDSA contends?"

"The answers won’t be found in the twentieth-century technology of the Western blot, by today’s standards crude yet still trotted out by IDSA as evidence absolute that they are right. (The Western blot for Lyme is so flawed that even its major manufacturer says he has found numerous "band" patterns more accurate than the one in use today.) Instead of relying on flawed 20th century technology, we must look to the science of the twenty-first century, including state-of-the-art genomics and proteomics that allows for the sequencing of every gene and protein involved in every stage of Lyme. With evidence of this calibre we won't have to fight over the truth: We will know what's going on."


Stay tuned for more LDRD interviews with top researchers, such as Dr. Eva Sapi of the University of New Haven. Dr. Sapi directs the graduate studies program for research into Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.
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