Dr. Stricker is another rare breed of physician – the courageous ones who are willing to take the heat in this tragic medical debate about chronic Lyme disease.
The following observations were made in response to the blatantly false suppositions perpetuated by IDSA, and faithfully delivered by Dr. Dan Kinderlehrer on the Today Show, June 10, 2002. I am reposting and updating this article due to the recent protests against the IDSA (see http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/24027-irate-lyme-disease-patients-storm-dinner-party-at-idsa-headquarters)who over a decade later are still refusing updated research that disproves their outdated theories, and breaking their OWN rules about updating guidelines every 5 years.
1. Lyme disease is an epidemic, already the fastest growing in the U.S., with new cases surpassing AIDS.
It is particularly bad in the northeast, upper Midwest and northern California, but the disease is virtually everywhere, having been reported in 49 states.
At present over 300,000 cases have been reported to the CDC, but even by conservative estimates this figure is probably off at least 10-fold; the actual number of cases may be closer to 3 million or even more according to Dr. Horowitz.
2. The epidemic proportions of this illness are staggering, but are being minimized by the government and insurance industries because of the financial implications. In the meantime, doctors who are aggressively diagnosing and treating this infection are being harassed by state medical boards: Two-thirds of Lyme-treating doctors in NY State are under investigation, most notably Dr. Jones the incomparable pediatric Lyme specialist (read http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2011/04/05/amid-medical-controversy-children-saved/. It is impossible to keep a record of those LLMDs who have given up and changed practices.
The government tried to shut down one of the few labs that specialize in Lyme diagnosis. They have succeeded in shutting down another. Medical journals are selectively publishing poorly executed studies suggesting that Lyme disease is “hard to catch and easy to cure”; thus insurance companies don’t have to pay for long-term treatment.
3. Chronic Lyme disease is a catastrophic illness. It affects mainly the musculoskeletal system, the nervous system, and the heart.
Its manifestations can mimic chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), paralytic syndromes (e.g. stroke), brain tumors and others.
It can cause severe depression and psychosis (“It’s hard to fight an enemy that has outposts in your brain,” according to one victim), and has resulted in suicides. Residents of psychiatric wards have a high percentage of Lyme-positive blood tests. This is a bad disease, and most of its victims remain misdiagnosed and untreated.
4. Most doctors are painfully unaware of how to diagnose or treat Lyme disease properly. There have been many cases of people with fairly obvious infection, but their doctors totally and inexplicably missed it – not just country docs, but also physicians in places like the Mayo Clinic and the New England Medical Center – this despite their living and practicing medicine in Lyme-endemic areas. .
5. Lab tests stink. Doctors mistakenly depend on these tests to make a diagnosis, but the CDC makes it clear that Lyme disease is a clinical diagnosis based on history and physical exam, and the lab tests can confirm but not rule out this infection.
The Lyme disease spirochete has devised ingenious ways to elude detection by our immune system, and most laboratory tests don’t fare any better. Nevertheless, doctors routinely rely on the lab data, and suggest to many of their multi-symptomatic patients that their problems are psychological in origin.
6. The deer-tick is a veritable cesspool of germs. Probably most people with chronic Lyme disease have co-infections with other microbes, such as Babesia, Ehrlichia and Bartonella. Multiple infections have an immunosuppressive effect, making it even harder to treat the Lyme disease. Doctors know even less about these other infections.
7. Antibiotics are important and can be life-saving. If given soon after the tick bite, they are fairly effective. However, once Lyme disease becomes chronic (particularly if the infection is more than a year old) it is difficult for antibiotics to clear it, in the same way that tuberculosis and other chronic infections may be difficult to eradicate.
Many people have been taking antibiotics for years, even intravenously. Adjunctive treatments for chronic Lyme disease, such as hyperbaric oxygen, cholestyramine and immune modulation, are being investigated on a limited basis, but research funds for all forms of Lyme disease treatment are essentially non-existent.
This last is actually changing due to the outstanding efforts of many activist groups two of the largest have just joined forces: The Tick-Borne Disease Alliance (TBDA) and the Lyme Research Alliance (LRA), two of the most influential voices on Lyme and tick-borne diseases, announced over the weekend their intention to merge (the “Merger”). The Merger was approved by each of the respective Board of Directors last evening, pending regulatory approval.
The Merger will result in the formation of the largest tick-borne disease organization in the country, allowing for greater resources to be applied to research on urgently needed improvements in diagnostics and treatments, while maintaining awareness programs for the general public and physicians. The groups plan to rename the merged non-profit upon final completion of the Merger. – Read full press release at: http://www.connecticutplus.com/cplus/information/news/News_1/Lyme-disease-organizations-to-merge2191721917.shtml