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Wednesday, June 26. 2013
Lyme Disease (Borreliosis) is endemic in the Northeast US, and probably always has been. That complicates diagnosis because so many people in the area have been exposed to the germ, and thus show some degree of antibodies to it. Many if not most cases of Lyme are subclinical and never diagnosed.
The spirochete-like bug is transmitted by the bite of a mostly-mouse-born tick called a Black-Legged Tick or Deer Tick. The Tick is much smaller than the common dog tick, and much harder to find on your body. Ordinary dog ticks are harmless, if annoying, and can not be confused with the Deer Tick.
Lyme Disease is readily treated with antibiotics, but about ten years ago one of those disease fads came along, so appealing to hypochondriacs and hysterics, called "Chronic Lyme."
As with other fake disease fads like Chronic Fatigue and, in my opinion, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Lyme believers often made themselves into invalids with vague aches and pains.
I thought the Chronic Lyme fad had passed into the history of medical faddism, but I see this odd and credulous article in The New Yorker: The Lyme Wars. The Lyme-disease infection rate is growing. So is the battle over how to treat it.
There are two serious errors right in the title. The infection rate is not growing: the diagnosis is growing and probably many people with aches and pains are being unnecessarily treated for Lyme just because they have been exposed to it at some point in their life. Second, I have never heard of any credible Infectious Disease doc in New England who had any question about how to treat real Lyme.
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I agree completely. If there is no objective test to identify the said disease then how does one measure improvement or cure-oh right by patients complaints. I am unsure if they are sick as secondary gain or as a consequence of psycho-social dystopia.
I knew a GP who really bought into this and diagnosed himself with chronic fatigue due to Lymes and was approved for disability. He spent endless hours researching the pseudoscience and started support groups for this malady. He became very popular as speaker in those circles.
I am amused that these patients never seem to have just one of these bucket diagnoses. I am sure they would say it is the result of a compromised immune system.....
I am sure there will be many who are offended by this thread. But group think is a powerful weapon for good or ill. I am thinking of the payout Dow Corning was penalized for supposed faulty breast implants-now shown to have no ill effects. In the 80's I met a woman that related every thing wrong in her life to the implants. Nice to have a culprit other than ourselves.
The problem is that the pundits, the media and the lawyers get ahead of the science and facts in these cases. Since the speculation grabs the limelight the jury pool is contaminated by bad science and lawyers take advantage of this to go for big settlements. If you poled the public probably half the people still believe that breast implants did cause all those health problems.
Are U suggesting that Lyme Disease is "someone's figment"...??
No I am not. I am talking about "chronic Lyme." I think I made that clear.
I think I made that clear.
Thought you did. Just confirming U were separating "Lyme Disease" (a physical affliction?) from the "chronic" version...which is not physical? (just trying to be clear, here)?
Our puppy had "chronic Lyme" but it was because he was not diagnosed or treated. One day he just could not stand up and acted confused. Vet weighed him and he had lost 15#. He was fine after 10 days of antibiotics, but had permanent kidney damage. Now doing fine at age 12 on a KD (no protein) diet because of his kidney damage.
I believe DJ was suggesting a "psychosomatic" condition (as related to humans). Don't know if it applies to family pets but it might be possible (I'm not not a Vet).
Ah, gluten. I stopped drinking beer about two years ago because I started getting bad stomach aches. I suspect hops as the effect is most pronounced in the IPAs I used to love and barely there in a bud light. But every time I mention that I can't drink beer (usually to explain why I'm drinking cider), someone brings up gluten. Through this I've met a lot of gluten allergics who were eating more gluten than they realized, but they all love Whole Foods.
Lyme is real. The medical community is in denial. They do not want to treat it. It is very similar to syphilis and comes with free co-infections. The 30 days of antibiotics is a good start if you are diagnosed early. If you get it, take a picture of the rash. It goes a long way in helping the doctor with the diagnosis if they can't see you right away. The 30 days of antibiotics may not knock it out. You can re-develop symptoms.
I say all this having a SO with lyme who caught it early. Diet matters a lot. Sugar and things that turn into sugar feed the spirochetes. The bite site turns red and itchy from time to time 2 years after the bite. The elimination of wheat, sugar and other inflammatory foods has helped greatly. When the rash reappeared after 6 months, the doctor would not give another round of antibiotics even though the test for live lyme came back positive. That led to a search for another doctor.
Lyme is real folks, if it's not treated you end up with arthritis and MS like symptoms. Don't treat it lightly.
I have a New England friend who would agree with your comments above. While not a "medically qualified" retired professional, my limited research shows is usually (in the past) went undiagnosed because of a lack of understanding in the medical field. That appears to be slowly changing and was the basis of my comments/questions above.
My in-laws live in the Boston environs and that is where I first heard of this malady 20 years ago.
Last year the ticks/tics loved me. I got frequent treatment of antibiotics after each and every bite. Early this year, in the dead of winter in new england, I was tested and found to have ACUTE lyme disease. And all this time, I thought it was just ugly lyme disease. Aren't I the fancy one!
Isn't it possible to set yourself up for gluten intolerance by avoiding gluten. Assuming you don't have celiac disease, it is the old use it or lose it paradox. If you don't eat gluten, over time your body loses the ability to produce the requisite digestive enzymes so that, if you resume eating gluten, you experience gastro distress. That is why it is such a harmful fad. Can anyone confirm?
On the same subject, reading the biography of Clarence Birdseye, the frozen vegetable guy, he risked is life multiple summers investigating the cause of Lyme Disease for the US Government
Cronic Lyme disese does exist -- two year ago I was a relatively healthy computer specialist/farmer living in central Va. I live in primo deer tick country but never saw the one that bit me and ignored any itching. Secondary symptom is fatigue but I had a two hour one-way daily commute and ignored that also. When Istarted feeling a tingle radiating from my neck to both hands the doctors started looking for a pinched nerve. MRI, EMG, neurologist, orthopedist consumed eight weeks during which I lost most of the functionality of my hands. Spinal tap showed Lyme along with arthritis and MS like symptoms. My neuropysiologist, head of Neurology at a major university hospital says I`m the fourth worst case he`s seen. Chronic Lyme does exist!
I can't say if "chronic" Lyme exists or not. My case was spotted early (fever, classic rash) and treated aggressively. But my wife thinks my achy joints and mild malaise are lingering effects of the infection.
Or, it could be OFD (old fart's disease).
Fallon, a renowned expert on Lyme disease at the New York Psychiatric Institute, said the importance of the new bacterium – called Borrelia miyamotoi — is that it might explain cases of what looked like chronic Lyme disease, but did not test positive for Lyme.