NIH develops more sensitive test for Lyme disease

Reported in the June, 2010 issue of Clinical and Vaccine Immunology:

New Test May Simply and Rapidly Detect Lyme Disease

Researchers from the National Institutes of Health have developed a more sensitive test for Lyme disease that may offer earlier detection and lower cost. The details are reported in the June 2010 issue of the journal Clinical and Vaccine Immunology.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to animals and humans by deer ticks. A skin lesion at the site of the bite is one of the first signs of infection followed by potential neurological, cardiac, and rheumatological complications upon entering the bloodstream. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends a two-step blood test for diagnosing the disease, however, several limitations include low sensitivity during the early stages of infection, significant time and expense, and an inability to distinguish between active and prior infection.
In prior studies the luciferase immunoprecipitation system (LIPS) test showed promise at detecting a variety of infectious agents including viral and fungal pathogens. Here, LIPS was evaluated for its ability to detect antibody responses to Borrelia burgdorferi proteins in blood samples taken from a patient group (some healthy and some with Lyme disease) as well as a control group. Results showed that diagnostic levels of 98% to 100% were achieved using LIPS in conjunction with the synthetic protein VOVO.

"These results suggest that screening by the LIPS test with VOVO and other B. burgdorferi antigens offers an efficient quantitative approach for evaluation of the antibody responses in patients with Lyme disease," say the researchers.

(P.D. Burbelo, A.T. Issa, K.H. Ching, J.I. Cohen, M.J. Iadarola, A. Marques. 2010. Rapid, simple, quantitative, and highly sensitive antibody detection for Lyme disease. Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, 17. 6: 904-909.)

Biotoxins test and chronic Lyme

Biotoxins created by the Lyme bacterial complex and released into the body can cause chronic illness, even when antibiotics are killing the spirochetes. You will recognize these illnesses by their other names: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Sick Building Syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and depression.

People who cannot naturally eliminate biotoxins develop chronic illness. About 20% of patients with Lyme disease, due to their hepa-type, are susceptible to biotoxin illnesses. However, according to Dr Richie Shoemaker and other biotoxin experts, the toxins can be eliminated and good health can be restored.

From "Many physicians feel that diagnostic tests for Lyme are unreliable, due to differences between strains of the bacteria, and the potential for co-infections with Bartonella, Babesia and/or Ehrlichia. A team of researchers at Boston University Medical Center (Cartwright, Martin Donta) discovered and patented (US Patent No. 6,667,038) the Bbtox1 neurotoxin. They reported that the effects of Bbtox1 were consistent with that of botulinium and other cytoskeletal toxins. Even so, there are no chemical tests for the disease-causing toxin B. burgdorferi produces and releases into human body, even as antibiotics are killing the bacteria. Without such tests, the medical debate over whether or not Lyme can be quickly cured has surged in recent years, provoking frequent battles in which physicians have attacked each other's credibility and integrity (and in a few cases, even their medical licenses). All too often, suffering patients have been left in the middle, essentially ignored by doctors who contend that their long-term symptoms aren't the result of Chronic Lyme, but of 'Fibromyalgia,' 'Chronic Fatigue Syndrome', 'depression,' or 'irritable bowel syndrome.'"

Testing for nervous system dysfunction can be done online. The Visual Contrast Sensitivity (VCS) test is a pattern recognition test that Dr Shoemaker uses to help determine how the nervous system is functioning. According to Dr Joseph Burrascano, at least 70 - 90% of patients whose VCS test is abnormal feel better with treatment, while 30% of patients who test normal from the VCS test feel better with neurotoxin treatment.

When testing for Lyme infection, coinfections are often culprits that go undetected. Be sure to look for Bartonella or Babesia, which destroys red blood cells.

Dr Shoemaker and other Lyme experts agree that if you find elevated C4-A markers, and if symptoms are persistent beyond the initial antibiotic protocol that may indicate that a longer antibiotic treatment, possibly including intravenous antibiotic therapy, is needed. As he makes it clear in this video, you and your doctor will be the judge in whether or not you should use long-term antibiotics.


Interview with Lyme Dr David Jernigan

If you were a Lyme literate doctor writing a new book on Lyme treatment, where would you turn to find the most urgent questions being asked by people who are suffering with Lyme? The online forums. Now imagine reading a book that addresses your most pressing questions about Lyme diagnosis, treatment, and symptoms. Dr David Jernigan wisely consulted the forums online to find out what the patients he cares for most need to know.

When I was diagnosed with late-stage Lyme in 2005 a dear friend sent me Dr Jernigan's book, Beating Lyme Disease. Since my diagnosis I had been in a state of shell-shock, weak and sick, and barely knowing anything about the disease or its cause beyond the very basics.

Beating Lyme Disease
was the beginning of my turnaround. This comprehensive book helped me begin to understand what was happening, and how the body responds to Lyme bacteria. I particularly remember how helpful it was to learn about the lower core body temperatures that Lyme patients develop. While reading, I became steadfastly determined to beat Lyme, despite the grim prognosis of my infectious disease doctor. In fact I dropped that doctor like a hot potato and found a naturopath who also believed I would be healthy again one day.

Now the new, second edition of Dr Jernigan's enlightening and useful book is available, sporting the inspiring subtitle: Living the Good Life in Spite of Lyme.

Recently, I had an opportunity to talk with Dr Jernigan and learn about his unique approach to Lyme treatment. He has witnessed the positive turnaround of thousands of Lyme patients at the Hansa Center for Optimum Health, his clinic in Wichita, KS. One of the first things he clarified was that many people come to see him and his colleagues after already having seen an average of 20 - 30 other doctors or more, without finding relief.

Chances are you've experienced that fruitless search yourself. Dr Jernigan says he hears it from his patients every day. People who have been dismissed and their terrible pain reduced to imagination with, "it's all in your head," or "you need a psychiatrist," or even, as one of his patients was told by a previous doctor, "you need a new husband." I like to remember when my infectious disease doctor told me bluntly, "you are too late." (Wrong!)

Clearly, one big problem in Lyme diagnosis is that our medical industry depends on doctors who specialize. A cardiologist specializes in finding heart problems and fixing them. A dermatologist specializes in finding skin problems and fixing them, and so on. But we are not mechanistic parts and pieces, welded together like the engine of a Toyota. And Lyme is not a problem that can always be located in one particular spot. It affects all the systems of our body, including the brain and so also the mind.

If you have ever felt that a specialist has given you lousy and limited information about your illness and how to treat it, you know what it's like to be treated like a piece of machinery.

In contrast, the Hansa Center for Optimum Health has a whole person approach. Their motto is: "Healing From Within, Treating the Whole Person, Body, Mind & Spirit."

Soon I'll be reviewing the 2nd edition of Dr Jernigan's book, Beating Lyme Disease: Living the Good Life in Spite of Lyme.

Contact him through the Hansa Center's website. Listen to "The Bridge," the Hansa Center's "New Healing Radio Station," located on the website's home page.

LDRD members please login and listen to our interview with Dr Jernigan. Hear him describe his unique, whole person approach to beating Lyme, and living the good life in spite of it. Become a member

Tennis star beats Lyme disease

Beautiful and powerful tennis star Samantha Stosur faced her formidable opponent squarely. In 2007, she was struck down with Lyme disease, battling severe fatigue, skin rash, and other symptoms that ripped her off the path to stardom. Since that time, she has not only beat Lyme disease, but also proved herself as a force to be reckoned with on the tennis courts.

Why do athletes seem to have a superb ability to beat Lyme and other serious diseases? There are probably many reasons. We believe it has something to do with maintaining a positive mental focus on winning (putting mind over matter), and regular exercise, which warms up the body's core temperature. Although Sam was unable to exercise (or indeed, even take care of herself) while the disease was in an acute phase, she did return to training and competing as soon as she could muster the strength.

Athletes engage in a program of regular vigorous exercise which raises their body temperatures on a consistent basis, which induces sweat. The raised temperature heats up the body's environment, keeps the lymph flowing at a healthy rate, and kills off toxins and bacteria so they can be carried away in the sweat and washed off.

This is a recent story that probably didn't escape your attention if you are a tennis fan and you have Lyme.

Watch a brief interview with Sam.