New York Times Reports Tiny Study as Irrefutable Fact

New York Times Reports Tiny Study as Irrefutable Fact

Earlier this month the New York Times sent a tidal wave across the newswires stating that “Recurring Lyme Disease Symptoms Caused by New Infection – Not From Relapse” (11-15-12). To quote the major points of the article written by Denise Grady:

“The conclusion that new symptoms come from new infections is based on genetically fingerprinting the Lyme bacteria in people who have had the illness more than once, and finding that the fingerprints do not match. The result means that different episodes of Lyme in each patient were caused by different strains of the bacteria, and could not have been relapses.”

“The study, by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and New York Medical College, in Valhalla, was published online on Wednesday in The  New England Journal of Medicine.”

“However, some doctors, patients and advocacy groups think that the bacteria themselves can somehow hang on despite treatment, even in cases caught early, and cause a chronic infection that requires long-term treatment with antibiotics. In some cases, people with unexplained pain, fatigue and cognitive problems have been told they had  chronic Lyme disease  even though blood tests found no evidence of the infection.”

“Several controlled studies have found that long-term antibiotics did not help people who had already been treated for Lyme disease but had such lingering problems.”

“Despite the data, the belief has hung on that Lyme disease bacteria can cause a chronic infection even after treatment.”

“The researchers who conducted the new study wanted to test that idea by finding out whether people who had repeated bouts of the disease were actually having relapses. They identified 17 patients who had erythema migrans aE” the rash aE” more than once between 1991 and 2011. Most had it twice, at least a year apart, but a few patients had it three times and one had four cases. Many had other symptoms as well, and more than half had signs of widespread systemic infection. All were treated, and recovered fully.”

“Lyme bacteria were grown from skin or blood samples taken from the patients when they had the rash, and the researchers analyzed a bacterial gene that varies from one strain to another. For each patient, they compared the genes from different cases of the rash. The genotypes did not match, which the researchers said proved that each rash represented a new infection, not a relapse.”

“In  an editorial  accompanying the article, Dr. Allen C. Steere, a Harvard professor who was the first to identify Lyme disease, said the new study supported previous research suggesting that new infections, not relapses, were the cause of new symptoms in people who had taken antibiotics to treat earlier cases of the disease.”

“Dr. Steere acknowledged that symptoms, sometimes disabling ones, do linger for months after treatment in as many as 10 percent of patients. Doctors do not know why. But, Dr. Steere said, aEoeantibiotics are not the answer.aE

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2 Responses to New York Times Reports Tiny Study as Irrefutable Fact

  1. Jacob Barnes says:

    Three words: horizontal gene transfer

    Some scientists have challenged the idea that bacteria exist as concrete species, knowing that they swap genes so easily and constantly. The fact that they could be genetically different from previous infections is not a surprise, not news and not definitive proof.

    • Jenna Smith says:

      Thanks for your comment Jacob.

      Proof is a relative term in the medical field I think you will agree. I apologize if I use the word too loosely but the difference between the tangible evidence that researchers are uncovering with regards to Lyme disease is extraordinarily different from what the mainstream medical profession is allowing. When you are desperately sick with dozens of disabling symptoms after enjoying good health (mental and otherwise) and a medical doctor says you have an “unknown infection” NOT Lyme even though the symptoms all point to Lyme and choose to diagnose “fibromyalgia” which is stated by IDSA as “cause unknown” there seems to be a gap in understanding – it just doesn’t make sense. Doctors today prefer to diagnose “syndromes” with no known cause rather than face the evidence rapidly growing in the research community that these syndromes may be caused by bacteria – spirochetes. Dr. Luft and his team from Stony Brook University have mapped the genetic code of over a dozen species of Lyme, but they will be the first to say that the genes mutate frequently in the wild both outside a host and within the host even causing separate species from organ to organ. I think we can agree that a new approach to testing is needed with such polymorphic and dangerous infections.



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