Sign in with Google+ Sign in with LinkedIn
Lyme Research

$25,000 for Lyme research

I'm pleased to pass along a bright spot of news for chronic Lyme disease sufferers. According to an article in today's MarketWatch, researchers at a biotechnology company were gifted by an anonymous donor with $25,000 towards a new study to try to unlock the mystery of Lyme disease. Why do antibiotics only cure some cases of Lyme?

Researchers at Viral Genetics, Inc., are hoping to answer that question and more.

The article continues:
Research on chronic Lyme Disease, including symptoms related to the central nervous system and arthritis, has generated inconclusive and controversial results. Some researchers contend Lyme is driven by chronic infection and recommend patients be treated with antibiotics for the long term. Others support the hypothesis that the disease is the result of autoimmune T-cell activation that occurs subsequent to the initial infection or after the infection has cleared.

"Our hopes are that the information acquired from this very important study, may act as a bridge between those who contend that Lyme Disease is an active chronic infection and those who feel it is an autoimmune trigger. The answer to this question is of great importance for all those suffering in the Lyme community. Only through this information can we begin to formulate more successful treatment regimens for the chronically ill," said Dr. Steven Harris, co-investigator, Associate Professor Stanford University.
Comments

Deer and mice survive Lyme

What should we take with a grain? Advice.

For example, I just read this: if your cat spends time outdoors and is acting lethargic, ask your vet to test for Lyme disease.

Um, buddy, I don't know about your cat....

I'm being a little facetious here. Of course it is wise to keep an eye on your pet. Our felines are strictly indoor beasts, so I worry less. However, if you've got a dog or a horse, a ferret or even a lazy outdoors cat, do what you can to protect them. Not only can Goldie or Jake fall sick from Lyme himself, he may also bring ticks, and their Borrelia burgdorferi poison, home to you.

Deer and mice, and many other critters, do not get sick from the Lyme bacteria for some reason. Deer can travel many miles in their lifetime, playing host to any number of vile little ticks, who can often be found around their neck or ears. When an infected tick bites a deer, the deer becomes part of the cycle. It doesn't get ill but it harbors the bacteria, which is then passed on to any uninfected ticks who come along to feed.

We can try, but we can't get rid of ticks. In fact, as the biodiversity of our environment shrinks, the tick population is exploding. And so are the numbers of ticks who are already infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, according to Dr. Eva Sapi, director of Lyme research at UNH, Connecticut. Deer and mice and the ticks they carry don't have as many natural enemies as they once did. Plus they're incredibly adaptive to change. These animals can survive in terrain that many of their predators cannot. Dr. Sapi says that another factor in the higher numbers of infected ticks may be the warmer temperatures in winter. Tick populations that used to die off in freezing temps now winter over.

Reputable Lyme researchers like Dr. Sapi and Dr. Alan MacDonald are working to figure out how to kill Borrelia burgdorferi, and how to cure Lyme. We hope you'll listen to these two skilled scientists, as well as the other Lyme experts who have participated in our Interviews with Experts series. Although the explosion of the tick population is unfortunate, it's also resulting in more media coverage on Lyme disease, and more money for researching Lyme as a serious disease.

We'll continue to scope out the most reliable, professional Lyme specialists available, and record them here for you.

Now, I'm off to wake up my lazy cat. Time for her to earn some kibble and catch this flying bug...
Comments

Obstacles to killing the bug

Eva Sapi, Ph.D., who teaches molecular biology for graduate students and does Lyme disease research at the University of New Haven, Connecticut, has one goal. "To kill the bug," she says. "And not in ten years, not even in six months, but soon!" She and her team of medical researchers are intent on figuring out why the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, the bug that causes Lyme disease, is so difficult to eradicate.

Lyme disease cases are increasing, and Sapi says she fears this year will be a bad one for ticks, and stresses the importance of prevention. Field research conducted this spring has yielded a disturbing find in her region, she says. The number of ticks carrying the infectious Borrelia bacteria has increased to 60%, up from previous years' 20-30%. She says one possible explanation for the increase could be changing temperatures. Recent mild winters may not have not dropped temperatures sufficiently long enough or frigid enough to kill the ticks.

Sapi is frustrated by the political controversy surrounding Lyme, saying that in her previous research into cancer, such obstacles were not a problem. Unnecessarily harsh criticism of her scientific findings having to do with the Borrelia bacteria has limited the number of publications where her research can be reviewed. However, significant support is increasing from other areas. Grants offered to ILADS from the Turn the Corner Foundation are currently helping fund Sapi's department at University of New Haven for research projects that hopefully, ultimately will help her reach her goal. And soon.

Dr. Sapi spoke with us on April 27, 2008. Members, please keep an eye out for our conversation about her research, to be posted soon to the Lyme Expert Audio Interview page.
Comments