Thursday, December 3, 2009

Climate Change Increases Worldwide Lyme Distribution

ILLNESS RISES WITH HEAT
Jim Efstathiou (22 November, 2009 - New York)Extracted direct from from website http://www.smh.com.au/environment/illness-rises-with-heat-20091121-is6b.html

KIDNEY
stones, malaria,
LYME DISEASE, depression and respiratory illness may INCREASE WITH GLOBAL WARMING , researchers at Harvard Medical School say.
Climate change from the burning of fossil fuels will add to risks to public health, said Paul Epstein, associate director of Harvard's Centre for Health and the Global Environment in Boston.
The centre, and groups led by the American Medical Association (AMA), presented data at a briefing in Washington yesterday as part of a call for action to curb emissions.
Global warming causes flooding, heatwaves and wildfires that worsen health, especially for children and the elderly, the Harvard researchers said.
"We expect an increase in hospital admissions for things like pneumonia, chronic lung disease, asthma and other respiratory diseases," said Cecil Wilson, the AMA's president-elect.

"Increased heat also increases the risk to people who have other diseases."

The AMA sent a letter to US President Barack Obama last week citing the "significant public health impacts" of climate change. The letter said children, the elderly,

people suffering from chronic diseases and the poor would be most affected.

Mr Obama has backed climate-change legislation in Congress but he and other leaders at an Asia-Pacific conference last week agreed that a binding global-warming accord is out of reach at next month's climate summit in Copenhagen.
With today's briefing preceding the Copenhagen conference, "we are hopeful that meeting will embody some of the concerns about health", Dr Wilson said.
Climate change is making parts of the United States warmer, raising the risk of kidney stones because of low urine volume linked to heat exposure, according to a study cited by the Harvard centre.
The portion of the US population in high-risk zones for kidney stones will grow from 40 per cent in 2000 to 56 per cent by 2050, and to 70 per cent by 2095, a 2008 study by the University of Texas found.
Costs would increase from $US900 million ($982 million) to $1.3 billion a year, 25 per cent more than current expenditures.
Warmer temperatures in New Mexico are contributing to the proliferation of mountain pine beetles, a pest that has killed 2.6million hectares of trees in the US, setting the stage for wildfires, according to the Harvard findings. Fires release air pollutants and cancer-causing chemicals, raising the risk of respiratory illness and lung disease.
Climate change also increases air pollutants such as ozone and sulphur dioxide, raising the risk of asthma, especially in children, said Jerome Paulson, of the Child Health Advocacy Institute in Washington.

The Harvard centre also found climate change will increase deaths from heatwaves, raise the incidence of waterborne diseases and spread afflictions such as Lyme disease and malaria.

Dislocation and job losses caused by changing climate might contribute to depression and anxiety disorders.

Tick picture from http://www.hhmi.org/news/fikrig20091120.html

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Australian Lyme in the News - Nov 2009

COFFS COAST MUM BATTLES LYME DISEASE
Graeme Singleton, 26 Nov, 2009 quoted direct from the Coffs Coast Independent

TICKED OFF ... Natalie Young (standing) said she was often covered with ticks during her working day as a conservation officer, but never realised they could infect her with Lyme Disease. She now wants others who work in the bush and on farms to be aware of the dangers posed by ticks.

NATALIE Young knows far more about Lyme Disease than she ever wanted to.

The Glenreagh mum was diagnosed with the chronic tick-borne infection earlier this year, but not before it had taken a stronghold in her body and turned her life upside down.
“You can’t believe what its like to live with Lyme Disease,” Natalie said.

“I’m forever tired and in constant pain. My muscles and nerves ache and I get migraines all the time.

“I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.”
Natalie first went to her doctor in January this year.
The 33-year-old was employed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service as a conservation officer, but now doubts whether she will ever work again.

“My hands and knees were aching, I was constantly fatigued, I had breathing difficulties because my throat was in spasms,” Natalie said. “One day my arm actually seized up for a couple of hours.”

Initially Natalie thought her illness was related to the Ross River Fever condition she’d earlier been diagnosed with, but after that along with heart disease, lupus, chronic arthritis, fibromyalgia and even multiple schlerosis had been ruled out, she pursued the possibility that ticks could have been responsible.

“I remember different times when I came home from working in the bush covered in ticks,” Natalie said.
“Once I had more than 100 ticks on me. I had to get a friend to pull them out of my back.”

Her diagnosis with Lyme disease came in late March after she had consulted a GP in Laurieton and had a series of blood tests.
They returned mixed results before positive antibody results from laboratories in Germany, The Untied States and Sydney.
Compounding the many challenges she faced was the fact that health authorities do not acknowledge the presence of Lyme Disease in Australia.


“It is a big problem in America and elsewhere in the world, but apparently not here,” Natalie’s husband Steve said.
“The authorities are only too happy to warn about the dangers posed by ticks to pets and livestock, but for some reason they won’t accept Lyme Disease occurs here.
Steve said if health authorities acknowledged that Lyme Disease exists in Australia, Natalie may have been diagnosed sooner.
“As with most diseases, early diagnosis enables more effective treatment
,” Steve said.
”It has devastated her.
“I doubt whether she’ll ever be able to work again. I can now only hope that she can escape the constant pain she is in.”
Natalie is surprisingly more upbeat.
“My doctor is confident that while I will probably never fully recover, it shouldn’t get any worse for me.” she said.
“That I can live with.”

Friday, November 6, 2009

L-form (CWD) Bacteria ABX resistant genes found



Lyme l-form to spirochete morph from: http://www.actionlyme.org/BOGUS_4.gif

BACTERIAL ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE GENES DISCOVERED
By Aleena Lakhanpal - 5 November 09 -Quoted direct from http://media.www.jhunewsletter.com/media/storage/paper932/news/2009/11/05/ScienceTech/Bacterial.Antibiotic.Resistance.Genes.Discovered-3824803.shtml

Antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer and antibiotics are all substances that we use in an attempt to kill bacteria that might make us sick. Whether we are concerned about getting strep throat, bacterial meningitis or something else, these prevention methods can offer protection.
However, some bacteria, such as those that cause Staph and MRSA infections, are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. Since the 1930s, researchers have been aware that bacteria may be able to resist treatment because they can morph into the L-form, or bacteria lacking cell walls.

Until the 1980s, not much else could be known about the L-form, but now, researchers at the Bloomberg School of Public Health have used a wide variety of modern molecular tools to learn more about the origin and biological functions of the L-form bacteria.
Ying Zhang, a professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at Bloomberg, is the senior author of the study, which was published in PLoS ONE last month.

Not all bacteria can transform into the L-form, but those that can include Bacillus anthracis (anthrax), Treponema pallidum (syphilis), Mycobacterium tuberculosis (tuberculosis), Heliobacter pylori (stomach ulcers and cancer), Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease) and Escherichia coli (food poisoning). Zhang's team used E. coli to create a culture of L-form bacteria.

Although it had been difficult to culture L-form bacteria before, Zhang and his team created a new method that more closely simulated the in vivo conditions in which these bacteria form.
"The presence of antibiotic stress is cell wall inhibiting, like penicillin," Zhang said. To prevent the cells from bursting because of this increased stress, Zhang's team added sucrose to the cell media.
This culture represented the mechanism that occurs in the body. "L forms are formed in response to stress," Zhang said. "They have a different mode of survival and replication from classical bacteria." The cell wall-deficient bacteria cluster together in the shape of a fried egg rather than the smooth, homogeneous appearance of wild-type bacteria cultures.

Not only are L-form bacteria difficult to culture and therefore study, but this "fried egg" cluster is part of what makes the L-form bacteria resistant to antibiotics, in addition to the fact that they do not have cell walls for commonly used antibiotics to disintegrate.


Once Zhang and his team were able to successfully culture L-form E. coli, they screened for and identified mutants that fail to grow at the L-form. From these mutants, they were able to discover a series of genes that were linked with the inability to grow in the L-form.
"These fall into four to five different categories involving extracellular matrix synthesis, membrane proteins, membrane biogenesis, DNA repair as well as iron metabolism and energy metabolism," Zhang said.
Their identification of these genes and their effect on L-form bacterial expression is a resounding discovery because it was impossible to do before, what with the difficulty of culturing the L-forms of various bacteria. Zhang noted, however, that although his team managed to create and study a culture of L-form bacteria, their study cannot be universal.
"What we can culture is only a small percentage - probably less than 1 percent - of all bacteria on earth," Zhang said.
"They exist in nature and grow easily, but we're limited to what we can grow and the form of bacteria that can grow. Bacteria can grow a variety of different forms even for the same species, and can change forms under different conditions. L-forms are one example of changing under antibiotic stress."

These L-forms of various bacteria may be the underlying reason for chronic resistant and recurring diseases, such as sarcoidosis, various forms of inflammatory bowel diseases and rheumatoid arthritis. Zhang is confident that there will be many practical applications of this discovery.

"It is possible, with our discovery of the L-form genes to develop new antibiotics and more effective ones that can be used with current ones as well as new vaccines to . . . allow these forms to be eliminated by the immune system," he said."

Nanoparticles cause damage despite Blood Brain Barrier


Nanoparticle coupled synthesis & self-assembly vs "Rouleaux" Red blood cell pattern

Transcript directly quoted 6 November 2009 from ABC News Website

MORE EVIDENCE NANOPARTICLED DAMAGE DNA

Nanoparticles can be found in common household items including sunscreen and cosmetics. (7.30 Report)
Researchers in the United Kingdom have found some nanoparticles - which can be found in common household items - can damage DNA without even penetrating the cells.

They found the nanoparticles can indirectly damage DNA inside cells by transmitting signals through a protective barrier of human tissue.

The stunning discovery adds to a growing body of research highlighting proven and potential health hazards from the rapidly expanding universe of engineered objects measured in billionths of a metre.
Nanoscale products already widely in use range from cosmetics to household cleaning products and sporting goods.
But the new findings, reported in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, could also point to new ways in which nanotherapies might zero in on disease-causing tumours, say researchers.

They could even shed light on how poorly understood pathogens penetrate into human organs.

In laboratory experiments, scientists led by Dr Charles Case of Southmead Hospital in Bristol, grew a multi-layer 'barrier' of human cells to mimic specialised protective tissues found in the body.
For example one such barrier separates blood from the brain.
Underneath this layer, three-to-four cells thick, they placed human fibroblast cells which play a key role in the formation of connective and scar tissue.
And on top they put nanoscale particles of cobalt-chromium, an alloy that has long been used in the making of hip-and-knee-replacement joints, and more recently in drug-delivery mechanisms used inside arteries.

'As if it weren't there'

Earlier studies had shown that direct exposure to large quantities of the alloy could severely damage DNA is some cells and the researchers wanted to find out how well the laboratory grown barrier would protect the fibroblast cells below.
"We never imagined that it wouldn't," said Dr Case.

"But to our great surprise, not only did we see damage on the other side of the barrier, we saw as much damage as if we had not had a barrier at all."

At first, the researchers speculated that the tiny particles, barely 30 billionth of a metre in diameter, had slipped through microscopic cracks in the cellular blockade.
But there was no sign of the alloy on the other side and when the experiment was repeated with far larger particles, the result was essentially the same.

"We could only conclude that the DNA damage occurred after indirect exposure depending on a process of signalling between cells rather than the passage of metal through the barrier," said Dr Gevdeep Bhabra, a surgeon at Southmead and co-author of the study.
Professor Thomas Faunce from the Australian National University in Canberra says the study is significant.
"Nano-toxicological research has focused on looking at what happens if we put nanoparticles inside these type of cells," said Professor Faunce.

"What [this latest research is] saying is once nanoparticles are in the body they have a capacity to cause toxocological effects at a distance."

Previously, Professor Faunce has expressed concern regarding the over-use of nanoparticles in products such as nano-silver bandages and undergarments.
He says in light of this recent report any future investigation into the use of nanoparticles and their associated levels of toxicity may need to be rethought.
His views were echoed by the researchers themselves and experts not involved in the study.
"What it tells me is that the precaution with which some scientists and regulators say we should proceed is the right way to go," said Professor Vyvyan Howard, a pathologist at the University of Ulster who founded the Journal of Nanotoxicology.

Prion diseases

But the newly uncovered mechanism holds promise too.
"The first exciting question is, can we deliver novel therapies across barriers without having to cross them?" said Professor Ashley Blom, an orthopaedic surgeon and researcher at the University of Bristol.

"There are also implications as to how nanoparticles that we all have in our bodies might act across membranes - small particles like prions and viruses may use some of these mechanisms.

"This opens up a whole new field of research."
Prion diseases occur when a mutated form of the prion protein runs amok, destroying brain cells.

Testing

Professor Howard says when considering the safety of nanoparticles, one must distinguish between medical and broader industrial applications.
New drugs are carefully tested, reducing the chances of widespread harm. And even if nanodelivery and imaging systems turn out not to be risk-free, that does not necessarily mean they should not be used.
"Depending on the kind of disease you have, you will accept some very nasty therapies," he said. For example a chemotherapy for cancer.
"But there is a world of difference between accepting a therapy under informed consent and involuntary exposure."
He pointed out most industrial uses are not regulated at all."


Quoted from ABC Website:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/11/06/2735612.htm?section=justin


Pathology picture from: http://www.sheerorganics.net/Sheerprevention/Blood%20Test%20without%20Green8.png

Nanoparticle picture from: http://www.nanopicoftheday.org/2004pics/May2004/NPChains.htm

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Australian Strongyloides parasite parallels to Lyme

Cartoon from site: http://farm1.static.flickr.com/77/203046826_96475380c0_o.gif

An online BLOG site (5 Aug 2008) by U.S. Doctor known as "LymeMD" confirms that "...doctors are afraid to treat this disease appropriately." He recently (11 October, 2009) described how patients are suffering from LYME DISEASE and are being given inadequate antibiotic therapy (if diagnosed) as per current IDSA Treatment Guidelines with devastating consequences:


THREE WEEKS OF DOXYCYCLINE
"Childhood friend's daughter in ICU for two weeks with-- Lyme disease---It is one thing after the next."
Keith Olbermann on health care.
THREE WEEKS OF DOXYCYCLINE.
"I just saved your life (diagnosing Lyme disease in friend's wife)." Larry David.
THREE WEEKS OF DOXYCYCLINE.
"I heard you never get over Lyme disease; I have a friend in a wheel chair; so many people are so sick, its a very scary disease." A patient.
THREE WEEKS OF DOXYCYCLINE.
"I used to function at a high level (computer engineer), now I can no longer do my job" A patient.
THREE WEEKS OF DOXYCYCLINE.
"I have been to 40 doctors. No one ever took me seriously--thank God you are listening to me."
THREE WEEKS OF DOXYCYCLINE.
" I would like to help you--but we have a two tier test--you never had a rash--NIH studies--
IDSA recommendations--and CDC--I can't treat you I might get in trouble--those ILADS, LLMDS are--I don't know, out there--you don't want to miss another "real" diagnosis like fibromyalgia or depression."
THREE WEEKS OF DOXYCYCLINE."


DOCTORS 'INTERFERED WITH' OVER PARASITE TREATMENT
By Katrina Bolton
Posted Tue Oct 13, 2009 10:30am AEDT
Dangerous parasite rife in NT

"It's an easy enough test ... but I was told not to do that too often" ... Dr Len van Ingen.
Two doctors say the Northern Territory health department stopped them from treating people who tested positive to a parasite that can breed in the body indefinitely.
One doctor, who asked not to be named, says their clinic was told it could no longer prescribe the drug for treating strongyloides.
Another doctor, Len van Ingen, who used to be the medical superintendent at Gove Hospital, says he was told he could not test people for the parasite unless they were already clearly sick.
He says he felt his professional judgement was interfered with.
"It's an easy enough test to check for strongyloides but I was told not to do that too often," he said.
"Basically the line was there are other more significant diseases that they want to concentrate on."
He says he decided to start actively testing people for strongyloides because of the sheer number of people who seemed to be sick with with it.
"[They had] symptoms of unexplained cough, abdominal pain or general ill health," he said.
When he tested them, more than 50 percent of people returned positive samples and when he treated them, he says the community became a lot healthier.
He says the department's instructions not to give treatment until people are visibly sick goes against the policy of the federal immigration department.
"I'm aware that if people come in from overseas, like refugees, the public health department specifically looks for infestation with strongyloides and treats them," he said.
"This of course is a totally different situation in the Northern Territory where they [do] not look and [do] not treat if they don't have to."
The health department has issued a statement saying that people judged to be ill with strongyloides are given the appropriate treatment, and cost is not a factor.

Quoted direct from ABC Website: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/10/13/2712432.htm?section=justin

DEADLY PARASITE 'HYPE'BEMUSES AMA
By Gina Marich
Posted Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:43am AEDT
Updated Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:48am AEDT
Strongyloides parasite
'Silent killer' ... the Strongyloides parasite as seen through a microscope. (ABC TV)

The Australian Medical Association says the issue of a deadly parasite common in Northern Territory Aboriginal communities has been blown out of proportion.
Strongyloides is a small parasitic worm that burrows under people's skin and into the heart, lungs and gut and can cause serious illness or death.
Doctors and Aboriginal groups have raised concerns that the parasite is being ignored.
But the AMA's Northern Territory president, Dr Paul Bauert, says medical professionals have been aware of the parasite for a long time now and routinely treat people who have it.
"People who have been here a long time who are aware of the parasite and have been not only treating the parasite but using prophylactic medications to prevent infection are a little bit bemused by all the hype about it at the moment because we are aware of it, we do treat it," he said.

Quoted direct from ABC Website: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/10/12/2711241.htm

HEALTH DEPT WARNED TO TAKE DEADLY PARASITE SERIOUSLY
Posted Sun Oct 11, 2009 10:08am AEDT
Updated Sun Oct 11, 2009 11:24am AEDT
Strongyloides parasite

Richard Trudgen says the parasite is common among Indigenous people living in the Territory, but many do not realise they have it. (ABC TV)
The Aboriginal Resource and Development Service in the Northern Territory says a deadly parasite is going undetected, partly because Territory Heath Department lab technicians do not want to carry out the test.
Strongyloides is a small parasitic worm that burrows under people's skin and moves into the heart, lungs and gut.
The service's Richard Trudgen says the parasite is common among Indigenous people living in the Territory, but many do not realise they have it because there is no routine testing.
He says his organisation has been lobbying the Territory Government to do something about it for many years, to no effect.
"We're asking the professionals in the Health Department to take strongyloides seriously, to do exactly what they would do if this was a disease in the northern suburbs of Darwin," he said.
"Aboriginal citizens are sick of being sick, and they're sick of dying."
Mr Trudgen says the Health Department refuses to take the issue seriously.
"Blood tests will show you a positive reading or a semi-positive and there's all sorts of arguments that that's not conclusive, but as far as I'm concerned if someone comes back with a positive blood test or any elevated antibody test you can go on and test faeces and all that but that person should just be treated," he said.
"We know that it is affecting people in central Australia and is in Alice Springs and so on.
"We've also heard that tourists now coming to the Northern Territory have contracted it and it'll probably become an issue then soon as we say that.
"But until it's a notifiable disease also we don't know just how many people are dying of this disease."
The Territory Health Department says it is waiting on federal funding to do a pilot screening program.
The department says it is in the process of changing its guidelines, and that other diseases are more pressing.

Quoted direct from ABC Website: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/10/11/2710662.htm

DOCTORS CONCERNED OVER KILLER PARASITE
By Katrina Bolton
Posted Sat Oct 10, 2009 6:00am AEDT
Updated Sat Oct 10, 2009 9:16am AEDT
Strongyloides parasite
'Silent killer' ... the Strongyloides parasite as seen through a microscope. (ABC TV)

Doctors are alarmed about a "silent killer" infecting people in Australia's north amid claims authorities are failing to take the threat seriously.
Strongyloides is a parasite that crawls in through intact skin and breeds in the body indefinitely.
The available evidence suggests more than a third of people in some remote Northern Territory communities have it.
It makes people sick, and if they are given the wrong drugs it can be fatal.
The Immigration Department says it tests refugees and humanitarian migrants before and after they come to Australia, and if they test positive, they are treated.
But the current manual the Northern Territory Health Department gives doctors says to treat people with the parasite once they show symptoms.
It is advice that goes against instructions given in the medical textbook Harrison's, which says "even in the asymptomatic state" it must be treated because of the potential for fatal "hyperinfection".
The territory's guidelines are in the process of being changed, but Professor Rick Speare from James Cook University feels the lack of action on strongyloides amounts to institutional racism.
"I think that would be quite hard to defend against to say there hasn't been," he said.
"The evidence is there."

Silent killer

Elcho Island elder Djiniyini Gondarra says he was hospitalised several times before doctors tested for strongyloides.
"This is another disease, a silent killer that is happening now," he said.
He later found two other members of his family were infected.
"What's wrong with us that this is not being really seen seriously?"
The territory's Health Department believes other diseases are more important, and that limited health dollars are better spent elsewhere.
"There are other, more important priorities," the Health Department's Dr Peter Markey said.
"There's diabetes, there's heart disease, there's rheumatic heart disease which kills people."
Blood tests from government clinics do not routinely test for strongyloides, and post mortems do not either.
Deaths associated with the disease have been documented in Central Australia.

Burrows through skin

Dr Wendy Page who has worked in communities for years says there is a culture within the department of "don't look, don't find".
Data she has collected at the Miwatj Health Clinic at Nhulunbuy suggests the prevalence is near 40 per cent.
Strongyloides travels in faeces and in the soil or grass where sanitation is bad.
It burrows through intact skin and crawls up into the heart and lungs, before being coughed and swallowed into the gut, where it breeds indefinitely.
One Australian study tracked returned prisoners of war, and found they were still carrying strongyloides 35 years later.
Medical texts list symptoms from rashes to abdominal pain or breathing difficulties, and say if people with strongyloides are given immuno suppressive drugs, it can be fatal.
West Australian pathologist Miles Beaman has seen cases of grey nomads bringing strongyloides back from their travels in the territory and it going undiagnosed.
"Some of those patients have even seen gastrointestinal specialists and still the diagnosis hadn't been made," he said.
The manual the territory government gives doctors spells out the hope that strongyloides will die out "with improving socioeconomic status, as the environmental reservoir diminishes and the infected population ages and dies".

Coordinated campaign

Other doctors suggest that is not going to happen anytime soon, and that a coordinated campaign would be needed to rid the communities of the parasite.
Health Minister Kon Vatskalis believes a special education campaign is not needed because general hygiene campaigns should get the necessary message across.
"We continue to run campaigns about hygiene, washing hands, washing vegetables, don't let dogs come into the houses," he said.
The Government wants to take part in a trial in conjunction with the Menzies School of Health Research that would do mass screening and treatment at one community on Elcho Island.
It has applied for but is yet to secure federal funding.
Mr Vatskalis says if the funding application is not successful, he will consider helping pay from it from territory funds.
But sufferers like Djiniyini Gondarra say the disease needs to be made notifiable and routinely tested for.
"Strongyloides is serious," he said. "And it's not been thought about, not been seriously taken."

Fellow sufferer Nancy Bukalatjpi puts it in just three words: "Help us, please."

Quoted direct from ABC Website: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/10/10/2710313.htm

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Swine Flu Perspective on a Hidden Lyme Pandemic

[LYME DISEASE]is one of the fastest growing infectious diseases in the United State making it more prevalent than AIDS, yet is it also one of the most widely misdiagnosed. Those suffering from Lyme disease are often misdiagnosed with maladies ranging from chronic fatigue syndrome to multiple sclerosis to Lou Gehrig's Disease."
Except from an article that quoted the 'Under Our Skin' Documentary

"W Lee Cowden, M.D., of Richardson, Texas, a world-renowned consultant and integrative medicine educator; states that "There are very few symptoms where you shouldn't consider Lyme, especially given that
A QUARTER OF THE U.S. POPULATION
may be affected. More than 50% of chronically ill people may have Lyme contributing to their condition." Dr. Whitaker, who specializes in advanced testing methods for Lyme, suspects that the great majority of people in the U.S. are infected with Bb because the hundreds of tests she performs every year now invariably come out positive.

All the other clinicians with whom the authors spoke agreed that Lyme has reached epidemic proportions. How is this possible? Obviously 25% of Americans haven't been bitten by one of a select few species of ticks.

THE ANSWER IS THAT LYME IS NOT TRANSMITTED JUST BY TICKS.



"Of the more than 5,000 children I've treated, 240 have been born with the disease," says Dr. Jones, who specializes in Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. "Twelve children who've been breast-fed have subsequently developed Lyme. Bb can be transmitted transplacentally, even with in vitro fertilization; I've seen eight children infected in this way. People from Asia who come to me with the classic Lyme rash have been infected by fleas and gnats."

Gregory Bach, D.O., presented a study on transmission via semen at the American Psychiatric Association meeting in November 2000. He confirmed Bb DNA in semen using the PCR test (Polymerase Chain Reaction). Dr. Bach calls Bb "a brother" to the syphilis spirochete because of their genetic similarities. For that reason, when he treats a Lyme patient in a relationship, he often treats the spouse; otherwise, he says, they can just pass the Bb back and forth, reinfecting each other.

Dr. Tang adds other avenues of infection: "Transmission may also occur via blood transfusion and through the bite of mosquitoes or other insects." Dr. Cowden contends that unpasteurized goat or cow milk can infect a person with Bb."

Table from: http://www.ilads.org/files/harvey.pdf
Representative Diagram at top from: http://pharmagossip.blogspot.com/
Quoted Study Extraction from: http://www.avonhistory.org/bug/l13.htm

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Spiroplasma - Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in Australia

Look familiar? Sounds alot like spirochete + mycoplasma. These Spiroplasma travel in the same spiral drilling motion as spirochetes however hide their protein (identifing markers) from immune system etc by essentially turning inside out. Lyme Borellia has been shown to turn itself inside out and form spheroplast or cystic form in a hostile environment - immune or antibiotics etc.

These invasive pathogens are so dangerous that surgical equipment standard sterilization doesn't work so notification must be provided. They have not proved blood transfusion transmission yet...though infection has been confirmed from organ transplant studies.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (looks like evolved lyme to me...and it comes from arthropod (incl ticks), insects and vertebrates, and seems to have similar vector life cycle patterns from what I gather. The 2009 Australian Health Report has implemented a strategy to help monitor this disease:

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare disease of the central nervous system, which results in death after a relatively rapid course of muscle weakness and dementia. There is no definitive diagnostic test and no known cure.

CJD occurs sporadically in the community with an incidence of one case per million population per year and may have a symptom free incubation period of more than 30 years. CJD is also known to have been transmitted as a result of certain medical interventions, such as human pituitary hormone treatment. This iatrogenic form is similar clinically to sporadically occurring CJD. The symptom free incubation period of this form of CJD ranges from 4 to 30 years with an average of 15 years based on international experience...


For more info visit: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phi-index.htm


Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


"Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs, also known as prion diseases) are a group of progressive conditions that affect the brain and nervous system of many animals, including humans. According to the most widespread hypothesis they are transmitted by prions, though some other data suggest an involvement of a Spiroplasma infection.[1] Mental and physical abilities deteriorate and myriad tiny holes appear in the cortex causing it to appear like a sponge (hence 'spongiform') when brain tissue obtained at autopsy is examined under a microscope. The disorders cause impairment of brain function, including memory changes, personality changes and problems with movement that worsen over time. Prion diseases of humans include classic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (a human disorder related to mad cow disease), Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker syndrome, fatal familial insomnia and kuru. These conditions form a spectrum of diseases with overlapping signs and symptoms..."

Friday, August 21, 2009

What If 20% were Lyme Borreliosis?

...AND IF A GREATER PROPORTION'S CAUSED BY LYME? STUDIES INDICATE:
...90 - 100% CFS / ME PATIENTS HAVE LYME
...90% AUTISM ESTIMATED LYME INDUCED
...7 out of 10 ALZHEIMER'S BRAINS FIND LYME

Treating doctors tell us that there are no definitive tests or symptoms that differentiate Lyme disease from the other conditions. For example, a MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS case can look just like a LYME DISEASE case. The difference is there are fairly effective treatments for Lyme disease."


USA Conjectural Lyme Borreliosis Diagram above and modified Lyme Symptom List below from: http://seranogroup.org/index.php
Symptom-------------------Specificity to ----Prevalence In Lyme---Associated
Description-------------Lyme Borreliosis---Borreliosis Possible--Infection


Cardiovascular
Blood Clots/Stroke....................Low.................Low
Fainting.....................................Low.................Low
Frequent, easy bruising.............Low.................Low
Heart flutter, murmurs..............Medium..............Medium
Heartbeat thuds (PVCs)............Medium...............Low
High blood pressure.................Low.................Low
Irregular heartbeat..................Medium...............Low
Pulse races with slight exertion..Low.................Low
Slow pulse................................Low.................Low
Cognitive
Confusion(common mental tasks)..Low.................High
Difficulty articulating thoughts....Low................Medium
Difficulty understand documents..Low................Medium
Disorientation, easily gets lost...Medium..............Medium
Easily loses/misplaces objects..Medium...............High
Forgets how to do routine tasks.Medium..............Medium
Inability to multi-task...............Medium...............High
Long term memory loss................Low.................Low
Short term memory loss...............Low.................High
Unintended word substitutions......Medium..............Medium
Word reversals........................Low................Medium
Dematological
Rash on limb not near tick bite.....Low.................Low
Body rash not near tick bite........Low................Medium...........Babesia
Bullseye rash at site of tick bite..High................Low
Generalized itching....................Low.................High
Recurrent itch @ specific location..Low................Medium
Raised scaly rash......................High................High
Rash with stretch mark appearance..Low.................Low...........Bartonella
Scalp rash not near tick bite........Medium...............Low
Endocrine
Chills...................................Medium............Medium.........Babesia
Fluid retention......................Medium...............Low
Hot Flashes...........................Medium...............Low.............Babesia
Unable retain fluid-dehydration.Medium...............Low
Loss of appetite....................Low................Medium
Loss of appetite....................Low................Medium
Loss of sex drive..................Medium...............Low
Night sweats........................High................Low.............Babesia
Unexplained fevers................Medium...............Low.............Babesia
Unexplained hair loss.............Medium..............Medium
Unexplained increase sex drive..Low.................Low
Unexplained weight gain...........Medium...............Medium
Unexplained weight loss ..........Medium................Low
Unusual fatigue after eating........Low................Medium
Unusual food craving..............Medium...............Medium
Gastrointestinal
Abdominal cramps....................Low.................Low
Backwash/reflux.......................Low.................Low
Bloating..................................Low.................Low
Constipation...........................Low.................High
Diarrhea.................................Low.................High
Upset stomach.......................Low................Medium
Vomiting.................................Low.................Low
General
Extreme fatigue....................Medium................High
Flu-like illness(nonseasonal)..High.................High
Flu-like illness(tick bite <2wks)..High................Medium
Frequent respiratory congestion..Low.................High
Frequent urination..................Low.................Low
Increased allergies................Medium...............High
Irregular menstrual cycle...........Low................Medium
Painful urination.....................Low.................Low
Frequent bacterial infections.....Medium...............Medium
Frequent fungal infections........Medium...............Medium
Frequent viral infections.........Medium...............Medium
Repeated/continual sore throat......Low.................Low
Repeated sinus infection..........Medium................High
Repeated urinary infection........Medium................Low
Shortness of breath...............Medium................Low............Babesia
Swollen glands in armpit..........Medium................Low
Swollen glands in groin...........Medium................Low
Swollen glands in neck............Medium................Low
Unexplained menstrual pain........Medium................Low
Unusual response to alcohol........High................Medium
Unusual response to exercise......Medium................High
Musculoskeletal
Body-wide muscle pain.............Medium................High
Chest pain............................Low..................Low
Creaking, crackling joints........Medium...............Medium
Foot or Heel pain.................Medium................Low............Babesia
Joint pain............................Low..................High
Migrating joint pain...............High................Medium
Muscle cramps.....................Medium...............Medium
Spinal Column Sensitivity......... High.................Low
Stiff neck........................Medium................High
Stiffness in single joint.........Medium...............Medium
Neurologic
Testicular pain...................Medium................Low
Burning mouth.....................Medium...............Medium
Decreased hearing.................Medium................Low
Difficulty chewing................Medium................Low
Difficult urination(start/stop)....Low..................Low
Difficulty swallowing.............Medium................Low
Diminished reflexes................Low..................Low
Facial paralysis...................High................Medium
Facial twitches...................Medium................Low
Feeling of impending blackout.....Medium................Low
General tension-type headache......Low..................High
Gum pain..........................Medium................Low
Headache...........................Low..................High
Hypersensitive reflexes............Low..................Low
Increased motion sickness.........Medium................Low
Jaw pain..........................Medium................Low
Migraine (one-sided) headache......Low..................High..........Babesia
Migrating tooth root pain.........Medium................Low
Numbness or tingling..............Medium................High
Overly sensitive to sound.........Medium................Low
Poor balance, dizziness...........Medium................Low
Pressure in head..................Medium................Low
Random burning/stabbing pains......High................Medium
Restless legs.....................Medium................Low
Ringing/buzzing in ears...........Medium................High
Seizures..........................Medium................Low
Skin pain.........................Medium...............Medium
Slurred/slow speech...............Medium................Low
Stammer/stutter...................Medium................High
Tremors/shaking...................Medium................Low
Unexplained gagging................High................Medium
Weakness/partial paralysis........Medium................High
Ophthamological
Blindness/optic neuritis...........Low..................Low
Blurry vision.....................Medium................Low
Decreased peripheral vision.......Medium................Low
Double vision.....................Medium................Low
Drooping eyelid....................High.................Low
Dry eye............................Low.................Medium
Eye pain...........................Low..................Low
Flashing lights in vision field....High.................Low
Floaters in vision field...........Low.................Medium
Fluttering eye movement............Low..................Low
Red eyes...........................Low.................Medium
Sensitive to light.................Low.................Medium
Teary eye..........................Low..................Low
Temporary blindness...............Medium................Low
Psychological
Absence of dreams..................Low.................Medium
Aggression........................Medium...............Medium
Difficulty falling asleep.........Medium................High
Difficulty staying asleep.........Medium................High
Hears things not present...........High.................Low
Irritable.............................Low..................Low
Mood swings........................Low.................Medium
Obsessive/compulsive behavior......Low.................Medium
Overly sensitive, cries easily....Medium...............Medium
Panic/anxiety attacks.............Medium...............Medium
Paranoia.............................Medium................Low
Senses someone near(not present)...High.................Low
Sleeps unusually long.............Medium................Low
Smells things not present..........High.................Low
Suicidal thoughts.................Medium................Low
Unusual depression................Medium...............Medium
Vivid dreams or nightmares.........Low..................Low

Monday, August 3, 2009

Lyme Brain Fog - 9mth Neurologist Wait

POOR CONCENTRATION, MEMORY LOSS, VERTIGO, LANGUAGE LOSS, DISASSOCIATION,TENDER SCALP, VISION DISTURBANCES, NERVE ABNORMALITIES, DIFFICULTY MULTITASKING, COMPREHENSION ISSUES, MIGRAINES, EYE PAIN, LIGHT & SOUND SENSITIVITIES...

AFTER raising my neurological concerns with two specialists, I finally persisted with my GP for a referral to have an initial appointment with a visiting Neurologist, who's first appointment available is in April 2010! Obviously I will try and get a referral for a City based appointment, that may shave a little wait off our first introduction. It seams clear that if I have enough brain function to know something is wrong, then obviously something isn't wrong enough. Sorry but my experiences with Australia's health care has been a whole lot of bad mixed with a small portion of good.

A Lyme Patient's Brain:BEFORE ..............................2YRS AFTER TREATMENT

LYME HEARING 30 JULY 2009:

8:30 a.m. ET --CALDA CEO Lorraine Johnson showed her own SPECT scans, showing major changes in her brain before and after long term antibiotic therapy. She presented results of CALDA's survey of 3,000 Lyme patients, indicating that more than half of respondants remained ill under the IDSA guidelines. Of those, more than 60% improved with additional treatment. She compared Lyme treatment (per IDSA--no options in treatment) with cancer and other diseases which allow for a wide variety of treatment options. Several panel members asked her questions, which allowed her more time to discuss insurance denials."


Quoted from: http://www.lymedisease.org/news/idsa_lyme_hearing/156.html Bottom SPECT pics from: http://www.idsociety.org/WorkArea/showcontent.aspx?id=15058

Thursday, July 23, 2009

1 in 100 Australians Autistic with up to 90% Lyme Induced


'ONE IN 100'

Professor Margot Prior says a second independent study from the university [Australia's La Trobe University] found the figure was close to one in 100.

"Well we had 19 autistic children in a sample of 1,900. So that's one in a 100. So again, we believe that the prevalence is certainly greater for whatever reason," she said.

"And of course this is a population, you know, a non-clinical sample, just from the population out there. "

It is still unclear whether there are more cases of autism or whether doctors are just more aware of the condition and likely to pick it up.

While a large study in the United States is looking at possible triggers in the environment, Dr Dissanayake says it is too early to tell what is behind the increase."

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/07/23/2634744.htm?section=justin

Lyme Disease is being touted as a primary cause of autism (purportedly 90% of children with autism are infected with Lyme Disease). I am amazed by this one because I did not know that Lyme Disease was that widespread and did not know that data had been kept correlating LD in some way with Autism. Meanhwile there is actually a Lyme Induced Autism Foundation which has been formed by parents and they are hosting a physician's think tank session January 26-28 in San Diego. Lyme Induced Autism?...Currently, several doctors have stepped forward talking about this. Dr. Warren Levin of Vienna, VA recently appeared on the online radio show on www.autismone.com hosted by Duncan called "The Lyme-Autism Connection". He stated that of the 10 children with autism he tested for Lyme disease, 100% of them also came back positive for Lyme disease."
For further information on Lyme Induced Autism go to http://www.lymeinducedautism.com

http://stanford.wellsphere.com/autism-autism-spectrum-article/lyme-disease-induced-autism/335624

Autism Graph from http://media.sacbee.com/smedia/2009/06/27/22/165-7W28AUTISM.xlgraphic.prod_affiliate.4.gif

Saturday, July 11, 2009

2 Million USA Lyme cases per year (CDC reports only 20,000) World wide epidemic...but not in Australia???

When Brian Fallon did a study at Columbia University, which was just done. I forget the exact number, but it was something like he screened through 3700 people to get 37 positive (CDC positive) IGG. Now the number that you see from the CDC is a 10 times difference, like 20 000 is really 200,000. That’s not true according to Brian’s study, it’s 100 times.

IT'S ACTUALLY 2 MILLION PEOPLE PER YEAR THAT ARE GETTING THIS DISEASE."

Stated Dr Richard Horowitz, who presented on the "Under Our Skin" Panel Discussion on 27 April 2008, as part of the Tribeca Film Festival behind the screen series viewed from:

http://www.tribecafilm.com/news-features/features/Watch_Under_Our_Skin_Panel.html

Richard Horowitz, MD {Vice President ILADS}
Information on his background was found at: http://www.ilads.org/about_ILADS/officers_directors.html

"Dr Richard Horowitz is President of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Educational Foundation (ILADEF), and he is a founding board member of ILADS. He is a board certified internist and medical director of the Hudson Valley Healing Arts Center in Hyde Park, N.Y., an integrative medical center which specializes in the treatment of Chronic Lyme Disease and other tick-borne disorders. He has treated over 11,000 Chronic Lyme patients in the last 20 years, and has published on the role of co-infections and toxins in Chronic Lyme Borreliosis. He was awarded the Humanitarian of the Year award by the Turn the Corner Foundation for his dedication and research in the treatment of Lyme Disease."

Paralysis Tick Distribution map: http://www.tickalert.org.au/distribu.htm#Geographic

Friday, July 10, 2009

11 Years with Lyme Disease acquired from Australia


Borrelia pics http://microbewiki.kenyon.edu/index.php/Borrelia#Phages.

ELEVEN YEARS have now past since a tick bite in the AUSTRALIAN tropics left me in poor health along with a classic bulls-eye rash internationally indicative of Lyme disease. However the Australian medical community failed to put the pieces together and I was deemed cause and cure unknown, listed as autoimmune, then legally disabled by my 21st Birthday. To mark this my 11th year on the lonely trail of chronic illness and newly learned misdiagnosis, I avow my current understanding of Lyme Diseases which I have been intensely researching for the last 3 months since learning the cause of my infliction.

“Lyme” which is the common term for a Borrellia spirochete bacterial infection, was named after a town in Connecticut in north-eastern USA. This is where a strange arthritis was noted to have inflicted the community during the 70’s. It was found that a number of ticks in the area were infected with this spiral shaped bacteria as frequently depicted, which is a slower replicating cousin of Syphilis, and also resembled African relapsing fever.

In 1982 Willy Burgdorfer, identified one strain of Lyme, it was named Borrellia burgdorferi after his discovery. Since then over 300 species is known word wide, however only 10 species or so have testing much of which is unreliable and more sensitive testing is very expensive. Because the bacteria changes form and is especially capable from hiding from the immune system, it is not unknown for some people who have tested negative on 10 Lyme tests to then show positive.

Mosquitoes, biting flies and various tick species (and other arthropods) have been documented to carry Lyme bacteria (and others disease causing organisms) and likely carry a role in disease transmission to hosts. It is difficult for some labs to culture the bacteria; however an article dated 19 May 2009 titled “UNF professor works to unlock Lyme disease’s mysteries” discusses Prof Kerry Clark from North Florida’s recent techniques used to demonstrate positive Lyme results from previously negative specimens.

Migratory birds, lizards, mammals including humans are some of many animals host this disease life cycle. Some are carriers with no symptoms which is concerning for imported stock into Australia including Deer and Texas Longhorn bullock. The longhorn was notorious in the southern states of USA for infecting other cattle and other animals with Master’s Disease also known as Southern Tick Associated Rash Infection (STARI) in the area and there was even stock route restrictions applied to Texas to try and curve the Lonestar Tick invasion.

Ed Master’s the discoverer fought hard to get Masters Disease/STARI a Borrellia spirochete to also be recognised a new Lyme species (Borrellia lonstarii) to bring to light the magnitude of the epidemic prior to his sad passing away last month. In Feb 2009, an article “Discovery of new Lyme strains invalidates current tests” from http://underourskin.com/blog/?p=127

Benjamin Luft, M.D., Professor of Medicine at Stony Brook University Medical Center, discovered that four highly virulent mutations of Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochete that causes Lyme disease, may account for the alarming increase in cases for the past 20 years. Luft’s investigation and findings were initially reported in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

This genetic drift of the organism could explain why current Lyme disease tests, which were defined nearly two decades ago, are missing approximately 75% of the confirmed positive Lyme cases, according to a recent Johns Hopkins study.
Pam Weintraub, author of “Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic,” recently interviewed Luft for the Psychology Today website about his findings:

“What we will find,” says Ben Luft of Stony Brook, “are proteins we never tested for on our ELISAs and Western blots—proteins we were never even aware of. But they will be the critical markers for invasive, infectious Lyme disease. Perhaps people who test negative on the old tests will become positive when we look for the right markers.”


Some viruses including “Sindbis” (which I tested positive for) and also stress from migration has been shown to reactivated Lyme bacteria in many birds that also carry ticks including the Lonestar species. Hosts infected with any of the Borrellia spirochete bacteria have the potential to have their blood, brain, central nervous system and all bodily tissues invaded, just as Syphilis has been documented as being as accomplished in.

Is Lyme also sexually transmitted? This is yet to be determined. There is evidence of Lyme surviving blood transfusion processes, and organ transplants. Lyme has been documented to have been passed congenitally in-utero and via breast-milk from mother to child and has caused foetal death. There is a strong disposition for autoimmune mothers to have children within the autistic spectrum. There are also many cases of autism recovery from long term antibiotic protocols, suggesting a possible infectious causal link to many syndromes, such as autoimmune or degenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s Disease. Many trailing Antibiotics have seen improvement in conditions recently.

The bacteria morphs between spiral form (that can cloak itself with your own proteins or create ones that mimic it which may lead to a state of autoimmunity in the body) to an cell wall free state known as L-form (which invades cells) and also a cyst form which continues to replicate while laying dormant.

Cysts around throughout the body as a defence mechanism and have been found in hostile environments such as human saliva. In animal studies, cyst forms have been demonstrated to convert back into spirochetal form when serum favourable to the bacteria was added.

Tick-less transmission has been document in controlled mouse studies, where infection has crossed to non infected mice, though this could have had numerous pathways such as urine, blood, saliva or sexually.

Mice studies have also been conducted where alziemer’s plaques were induced by infecting the mice with borrellia spirochete. There are some pretty convincing scientific studies if you google “lyme alziemer’s disease” that demonstrating the correlation, if you can handle the jargon.

Australia apparently is not an endemic region for Lyme Disease or it’s carrier the American Lonestar tick. Well, I came across a travellers log from Western Australia where the writer documented and photographed a ‘bush tick’ in the area and commented lucky there’s no Lyme in Australia. This drew my attention as it looked identical to the lonestar tick I had been researching about. Not the one with the well known star on its back, but the male version.

Just because there is inadequate vector surveillance, lack of research, and poor laboratory testing procedures, doesn’t mean that it is not a widespread unidentified problem in Australia, just as it is worldwide. It has higher infection rate and severity of disease than AIDS and there is no excuse why there should not be an equally high level of government funding allocated for research and public education for Lyme or as our Health Department calls it “Lyme-Like”.

The Lyme documentary "UNDER OUR SKIN" recently commenced Cinema screenings in America. I would highly recommend gaining access to this video when available.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

My Lyme Symptoms - Stage III (Dec 01 – Apr 09)

This photo depicts how my hands looked for around a year before presenting to my initial Rheumatologist appointment in Dec 2001. More blood tests were ordered by my Rheumatologist and presumed MCTD. Brutal introduction to chronic disease and treating symptoms, and to adjust to the fact as there is no cure. Prednisone 10mg and Plaquenil 400mg a day was to commence during my next appointment, 2 months later, and I was informed to avoid sunlight and come back the following month.

I noticed rapid deterioration of my skin at that time. It turned thin and translucent, it aged really fast. I would scar badly as it now took my body a lot longer to respond to injury and to commence healing. If I burnt my hand, it wouldn’t blister for 3 days, and then it would take a month to heal. My joints inflammation increased again and I increased my prednisone to 15mg a day.

I noticed an increase in little red blisters I would get on my arms mainly and then got a terrible case of shingles on my right arm radiating from my back to my 3 small fingers, due to the steroids. I now know blister increase means to low immune system and monitor myself better. For the six weeks I had shingles followed by 12 months of unbearable post neuelgia. Tramadol was the best to give relief at the time and I continue to use this a day or two almost monthly when I have bad symptoms and pain that I cannot sleep. Neurontin helped though my CK jumped to 1000 which is toxic to my liver so I ceased that drug. When I was on it I had strange black-head like / hair follicle king of skin eruptions, mainly where I had scars from my shingles. I don’t know what that was about possibly dead nerves or toxin accumulation or simply natural exfoliation after 6 weeks painting sores with a pink lotion (?camomile). I was then given low dose antidepressants were given to aid sleep during pain. The nerve sensitivity lessened, and is now generally tolerable when it gets irritated.

My jaw involvement flared up on one occasion where I was frequently yawning from tiredness. The first time it took me 10 hours to fix a painful off centred jaw. Then later in the day I instinctively yawned again and ditto. It only took 1 hour that time, and the next 10minutes. My jaw was obviously very tender and now was giving me sharp stabbing nerve pain intermittently. The dentist took several x-rays and revealed my wisdom teeth were stuck behind my back teeth with the small roots growing in the nerves. Given my risk of infection in my current medical situation, it was preferable to wait and see if they remained stuck and to only have the surgery if absolutely necessary.

On occasion I had irritated eyes, conjunctivitis, inflammation and also. At one point approx 2003 I had a lump under the centre of one top eyelid like a cyst, placing pressure on my eye and affecting vision temporarily. That I eventually cleared up and then on other occasions I would get infected eyelash follicles, which I needed to clean with ‘J&J baby shampoo’ or medicated eye drops. My eyes get dry and annoyed easily so I try to only use the likes of clean wet ear buds or separate tissues for use around the area. Around 2004 I again noticed vision issues. I was seeing double vision 10-20m away. It was minor and I only noticed it on occasion. An optometrist said glasses were not required at the time.

I felt I wasn’t really managed well for a couple of years and sort out a new Rheumatologist despite the travel involved. I suspected I may have had infectious arthritis possible a mycoplasma infection, not purely Rheumatoid Arthritis. This was due to the fact that apart from symmetrical anthrelgia I also continued to have unsymmetrical inflammation and joint dislocations. My new Rheumatologist gathered my history and conducted further testing including baseline x-rays to check for erosion and bone density tests. There was concern as I had been on prednisone for a few years by this stage which wasn’t very good. I was interested in long-term antibiotic protocol which had some positive results in RA patients.

My new specialist understood my position, however wanted to try in addition to continuing plaquenil, the chemotheraputic drug Methotrexate in low weekly doses (followed by folic acid supplement). This reduces the inflammation response, rather than the steroid treatment which just processes the existing inflammation and can lead to osteoporosis. This was tolerated enough to wean off the corticosteroids over the next 2-3 year period, however over time the current treatment has had discomforting side effects including ulcers and digestive issues.

My overall inflammation has been better managed since this treatment regiment; however I have noted development of skin spots and increased neurological symptoms over the last 2 or so years. There could be several explanations for this, including the chemo-brain effect as it is referred to, or neuro-borreliosis or Lyme in the brain continuing to progress due to the limited drug crossover due to the blood brain barrier despite the rest of body treatment. I also noted increased vision deterioration since late 2007. On one occasion, if felt like my optic nerve was inflamed and/or spamming and all I could see was blur for over 30 minute on work day. I had been quite stressed at the time and this really scared me.

I finally ceased prednisone in late 2008, and had an especially hard year with night tremors and withdrawal symptoms increasing exponentially, and peaking 1 month after my last dose. For 1 week solid I had vivid nightmares or negative dreams, and would wake with tightly clenched hands and muscle spasms. Then it reduced to every 2nd night for a couple of weeks, then every third and decreased over several months.

Since April 2009 my eyes have been very irritable with increased light sensitivity, dryness, swelling and distance vision problems or with extended reading. I also started to have facial twitching at times. My left upper eyelid and my lower right eyelid have been twitching when I have been quite tired. It is very noticeable to me; however in the mirror it doesn’t seem so obvious. Interestingly enough, this is where I had cysts on my eyelids in the past. It seams that I could stop the left upper eyelid twitching by pressing a certain spot on my forehead. It is also interesting that I have a large 3-4mm diam red skin spot I have had for a few years on this exact location.

Photo of Acrodermatitis Chronica Atrophicans from:
http://www.aerztlichepraxis.de/rw_4_Fortbildung_Themen2007_Thema4_Borreliose.htm

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Lyme Symptoms - Stage II (Feb 01 – Dec 01)

About a year I had noticed increasingly achy joints. Started in my toes, then hands, wrists, then one day I couldn’t squat anymore. I had yelped out in pain at work because my knee hurt so much. I tried joint supplements MSM and glucosamine and Omega-3 when required which helped a little. I had sunstroke around Feb 01, after getting carried away fishing and forgetting my fair skin. I had such fever/chills for a few days.

I developed a multiple little rashes on my torso, most on my left side of my chest. 10 or more red spreading squished rings that looked a little pointy. A few 3-5cms diameter others smaller versions of varying sizes. They looked like the photo seen here. Suspecting ringworm I had scrapings sent away for testing but nothing was cultured. I was sent of with a cryptic diagnosis which meant something like red round rash, and put essentially some ointment used in acne treatment as a chemical peel. It resolved after a while. Under stress my voice got pitchy like I had a cold and I had what was described as connective tissue issues. I went to a naturopath for iridology test. I was given a deep tissue and therapeutic massage to detoxify at the time.

In March 01, I became violently ill. High fevers & chills, did not want to eat, felt like dying at the time. I couldn’t keep much down; I had some herbal supplements given to me at the time, and raw garlic etc. I had never been so sick before. I lost 10 kg in a week. A week went past and I was not recovering so I managed to get myself out of bed and saw a doctor, and was told ‘I don’t know what you had, but now you have pneumonia’, and I was put on some antibiotics which resolved it at the time. For months after that, I was pale and couldn’t walk up stairs without almost passing out.

I managed to put 5/10kg back on and I got well enough to get back into life in general again, though I would get sore hands from cleaning and sore feet from standing for hours working at the time. I was having difficult concentrating on my study – it just wouldn’t sink in and I got tired easily. Sept/October 01 was a stressful time for me and during this time I also received another massage, and I was quite exhausted again.

In November 01 I became very ill again. It was much like the first time, although I was already quite slim since last time. I lost over 5kg this time within a week, and I became extremely weak. My fever was very high and I was experiencing musical hallucinations and vivid dreams. Because I couldn’t work or study, I had no income support and drove to the shop to pawn a possession to buy some vitamins, over the counter meds and basic food. I recall compelled to lie down for a while in the back of my car in the tropical sun out of necessity. I could have passed out from heat exhaustion and no one would have even known. I was so out of it I didn’t really comprehend how sick I was at the time. I went to see my boss to show her I was truly sick, and she made me go see a doctor there and then. As I had over an hour before the Dr appointment I went to see my family while in the area and let them know I was sick, and how I was a bit shock up as I almost got hit by a truck driving through a red light earlier that day. I went and saw that dodgy doc who examined me all of 10 minutes said (listening to my chest) ‘hmmm…you should really see a doctor about that’, and sent me off and told me I didn’t need anything more than I had from over the counter. I crawled back into my bed in despair.

First thing the next morning my Dad and family were on my doorstep telling me I needed to ‘come home’ to get better. After a little um and ahhing, but to buggered to fight I got into the car. I was fed grated apple, and other nutritious food that I could keep down, chicken soup etc. Because of my fever I was told not to shower or get my hair wet or I may get sicker at the time. A doctor my Step-mum housekept for, came by and took one look at me and said she was getting me admitted to hospital. At the time she told my Dad I had about 6 days left on me, though he only told me this year.

I was checked into hospital, and initial tests run and IV fluids etc. I had abnormal heart rate observed. Various basic pain meds were administered at times, and suspicious of rheumatic fever I was given a dose of IV penicillin V with oral version following. This helped a lot and my digestion system started to return to some kind of normal, and I was eating ok again and sent home with a heart ultrasound and rheumatology (RH factor 210) appointment booked for 6 weeks later. When I got home the next morning I had a severe migraine. I thought maybe I was allergic to penicillin, though I had not been as a child. I kept on the orals as it went away (I now believe that may have been a herx from the IV antibiotic given a couple of days earlier). I couldn’t string a sentence together I had to gasp for air. It was like I couldn’t get enough air.

My sister a nurse in Sydney told me to come down and she would get me checked out at the hospitals there. I saw a good doctor there who arranged a heart ultrasound the next day as it was highly concerning that had not been conducted yet, and swag of blood tests etc. My B12 level was near the floor. Injections ordered. My iron was low, FeFol to take. Rheumatoid factor (179) was very high, and my inflammation markers were high. My ANA was >2560 which is +++very high. I was kept on oral penicillin V.

Saw infectious disease clinic who were very intrigued by my seemingly unrelated symptoms. Sinovitis in hands, and arthitis, heart issues, breathing, rash. Checked for Ross river and its cousins, Sindbis IgG 0.8 (<0.9) so borderline and Sindbis IgM was POSITIVE. This was never followed up though and at the time I did not understand the blood test reports. My heart rate was 140 at rest and 160+ if I walked up a staircase. Autoimmune Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD) was suggested as a diagnosis at the time, however I was due to see my initial Rheumatologist appointment.

Lyme Disseminated Rash Image(right) from http://dermatlas.med.jhmi.edu/derm/

Saturday, June 13, 2009

My Lyme Symptoms - Stage I (July 98 – Feb 01)

On reflection, I presented with many indicators that suggested localised Borrelia spirochete infection in by body, however due to a lack of knowledge, the clues were never put together. Some things were classic diagnostic signs; other may have had other causes or simply part of my innate personality. Having been so young and still defining myself as an individual, I didn’t really have much of a baseline for myself or others to compare against. This is where my journey commenced with Lyme disease.

I was exhausted and had flu like symptoms, with high fever and swollen neck glands. It was assumed at the time I had glandular fever, as I was told it was known as the kissing disease and is common in teenagers. I got a lot of bed rest during this time I recall seeing an increase in frequency of floaters in my vision as it had intrigued me trying to keep them in my focus at the time (I didn’t have much better to do). It was the first time I believe I knew what a migraine was. I had headaches in the past but this was very different. I was sensitive to light also. Flashing lights annoyed me and glare made me sneeze.

I had been bitten by tiny black ticks while camping, and recall a vivid dream I experienced at the time. Within a week or so I developed a ring like rash comparable to this photograph near my shoulder blade, which spread outwards until after about a month it was a 25cm diameter bulls-eye rash as seen in my last post. I assumed it was a giant ring worm I had contracted as I had been cascading down Broadwater Creek in Townsville region on a li-low and had been completely saturated for most parts of 3 days in a Sub tropical rainforest environment. I used a lot of topical ring worm ointments, even tried apple-cider vinegar, before I possibly (uncertain and so far unable to get my records) saw a doctor and had a course of antibiotics. I refused to exacerbate it by rubbing the rash and it resolved.

I recall minor limb jerking at times occasionally jolting me awake. I noticed hair loss in my brush which I had not seen before. I had jaw pain I kept telling people it felt like I was getting my wisdom teeth, but it was dismissed as I was only 16. At times I had both a sore knee and a sore shoulder. I was active in volleyball and assumed it was an injury and I used supportive simple aids to help at the time. I had skin manifestations I would pick at, and also sores that took along time to heal. I remember having what could be described as a bladder infection and someone told me to eat cranberries. I also found I needed to eat during class and would sneak food especially sugary food to stay focused. I had a diabetes test on one occasion however it was fine at the time.

I had stabling heart pains and palpitations I recall lying in bed wondering if this was heart attack symptoms, but dismissed the idea as I was only 16. I had some numbness and tingling at times if I stayed in any position for too long. I recall experiencing what I had heard people describe as subtle ringing in the ears. I developed car sickness when I travelled especially in a closed air-conditioned car that smelt new. I recall controlling it using pressure point in the skin area between thumb and pointer finger, and by winding the window down (despite annoying some people) to deal with my sensitivity to intense smell from new car interiors. I had increasingly painful intermittent menstrual cramping. I thought maybe one of my ovaries was inflamed. I was introduced to Ibuprofen and naproxen sodium and helpful postures.

I recall depression; I was lying outside under the stars and wept for a long time. I remember being confused and telling myself I should be happy given my life at the time. I had mood swings and irritability, but one would say what teenager doesn’t. I had over reactions of emotions. I started to cry during heartfelt arguments.

I used to love maths and science. I recall being so proud at testing as a yr 11 standard during year 8. Suddenly I couldn’t concentrate like I used to, it took me along time to study and comprehend the topic, and I never got to finish exam papers in time. It’s not because I wasn’t interested, I would sit in my lunch hours with my Physics and Maths texts as I was failing, I managed to bring my grades up a level it took a lot of effort but I still failed Math C and Physics. I managed to pass Math B on my senior certificate which was required for my university entrance application.

I had a lot of stress around Aug/Sept 98 due to a change in parental custody. It was a major life adjustment and I recall losing around 3-5kg at this time, yet I was eating a lot of food, and had always had a stable body weight previously. University was exciting however hard for me as I believe I had symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome and talked to my sister about it when I would come home from Year 12 and have to sleep. My uni text books would put me to sleep, even one lecture did. Study, sleep, eat, and work. I had moved out of home by mid 2000 with my boyfriend by this time and burning the candle at both ends (very poor diet) exhausted me until my body’s immune system crashed early 2001.

Lyme rash photo (left): http://www.biology.arizona.edu/immunology/cs/cs_2/01ac.html

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lyme Snapshot Revelation

I stumbled across this snapshot of a tick bite rash one recent 3am sleepless night while ‘googling’. I identified it to be a carbon copy of a large bulls-eye rash I had just over decade ago (after a 9 day survival camp in the Townsville region with tick bite exposure) as an "Erythema chronicum migrans". This I have now learned is often diagnostic of Lyme disease. Although many cases present without a rash, my initial observation was a 5-7cm diameter 1cm thick red ring near my left shoulder blade which expanded to around 25cms diameter 5-8cm thick ring with a large red centre within about a month of observation. All of my complex medical history seems to fit this, and I am researching my options and documenting my experiences to bring awareness of Lyme in Australia and to bring light to an often misdiagnosed multi-symptom systemic disease and possible undetected epidemic.

I am a 27 yr old female from Australia who has never travelled overseas. I have been diagnosed and treated for Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD) for the last 8 years a type of auto-immunity where the body’s immune system attacks itself. My current treatment for MCTD is Methotrexate and Calcium Folinate weekly and Plaquenil daily. Over the last few years I have been medically managed to the point I have sustained part-time employment in my highly time flexible role. Past treatments have included a hit of antibiotic IV Penicillin V initially which stabilised me during my 3 day hospital vacation. The day or so of IV was followed by a few months of oral Penicillin V and then prednisone & plaquenil regiment after diagnosis of. Also some other intermittent medications were taken along the way. Neurological symptoms (Memory, Nerve Twitches, Concentration, comprehension, language loss, tight voice, Mood swings/Irritability) presented have been getting more noticeable to the point I think I should have some tests of some kind. On reflection I have been partially unaware but also in denial and of these symptoms from my illness commencement.

I have just returned home to regional Queensland after medical travel to Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast to introduce myself to a new Family Practitioner who I consider to be a Lyme Literate Medical Doctor (LLMD), review with my Rheumatologist and to advise of my recent findings, and attend an autoimmune clinic to have comprehensive testing and monitoring. My LLMD had some initial serology taken to investigate Lyme and other tick infections, although informed me that some co-infection testing I had researched was not available in Australia, and alluded to the fact if I am a “Lymmie”, I may be better tested/Treated overseas. I am awaiting test results before possible skin lesion / lung biopsies and further testing.

Recently reviewing some of my medical records, I noted the numerous dismissive references along the lines of 'she thinks she has parasites, been camping and had rash - refer to talk to a psychologist' by various Doctors on those occasions. I recall being asked if I had ever travelled overseas...and I believe many test were not conducted due to my naive 'no' response. The infectious disease unit I was visiting interstate told me I had something but they didn't know what. Then later I was just told I was auto immune, and to just learn to live with it. All I could do was to follow treatment instructions to reduce my inflammation or face acute and permanent damage. My immune-suppressing treatment regime particularly corticosteroid may just be to my detriment now, having learned my complicated range of symptoms fit within the Lyme disease portfolio.

I just cannot believe 'Lyme' was never even mentioned as a possibility with the numerous Doctors and specialists I have seen over the years. A public education campaign on Lyme disease in Australia is severely overdue, and I would like to see the documentary "Under Our Skin" shown in all schools, especially as a risk mitigation strategy to ones that provide outdoor / wilderness experiences like the leadership development camp I attended when I was 16 years old and didn’t know any better because I was green to Lyme in Australia.