Breaking News: IDSA guidelines under scrutiny

"Serious flaws in the IDSA's process for writing its 2006 Lyme disease guidelines" have been revealed during an antitrust investigation conducted by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. Reassessment of the guidelines must now take place with an outside arbiter and a "conflicts-free panel." The subsequent hearing is also required to be broadcast live on the IDSA's website.

Turns out it's not nice -- or particularly legal -- to stack the panel with people who stand to make loads of cash from drug and insurance companies, Lyme disease diagnostic tests and patents. Stay tuned for developments. It's bound to get wild in the coming weeks and months, especially with IDSA-loving Dr. Gary Wormser shrugging off the investigation and calling it "absurd." Conflicts? What conflicts?

This significant turn of events could soon impact your ability to get proper treatment. Meantime, we'll continue to interview physicians who specialize in Lyme and who can give us the inside scoop and help us understand the ramifications of the reassessment.

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Read the IDSA's press release.

Lyme tests are inaccurate

Raphael Stricker, MD, talked with me last week about the pros and cons of the existing Lyme tests. As it turns out, there are mostly cons.

Dr. Stricker was the president of ILADS from 2005 to 2007, during which time the organization grew to nearly 400 members and accomplished a great deal of work on the behalf of Lyme patients, including the establishment of the guidelines for the treatment of Lyme.

The Western Blot and the ELISA tests are inaccurate. "They have 'coin toss sensitivity,'" Stricker says. "Which means if you flip a coin you get the same results as doing a commercial test.

"The current AIDS test has a 99.5% sensitivity, which means it misses one in two hundred AIDS cases. So, compare one out of every two Lyme cases that are missed? One in two hundred AIDS cases. I mean, that's a pretty big difference," he says. "What we need in Lyme disease is a test like the AIDS test, that is that sensitive, and that accurate."

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