yme Disease is a bacterial infection caused by Borrelia Burgdorferi, an elongated, spiral-shaped bacteria transmitted to humans through the bite of a tick. Known as spirochetes, these bacteria are unusual, not well studied, elusive and difficult to cultivate in the laboratory, and capable of advanced survival activities more commonly found in larger, more intelligent organisms.
Most Lyme Disease literature erroneously reports that Lyme Disease was first documented in Lyme, Connecticut, in the late 1970s. Actually, record of the infection dates back to 1883 when a German physician named Alfred Buchwald observed a degenerative skin condition which is presently hypothesized to have been a Lyme-related ailment. Subsequently in the United States, as early as 1920, physicians began correlating what are now known to be Lyme Disease symptoms with tick bites. By 1950, doctors had already discovered that antibiotic therapy provided relief for the symptoms in question. Although it was not until the 1970s that the disease got its name, evidence from various sources makes it apparent that Lyme Disease is much older than popularly believed.
First, the good news—in many cases of acute, recently acquired Lyme Disease, pharmaceutical antibiotics (the standard treatment of choice) are effective in completely eradicating the infection or at least, permanently alleviating symptoms. Someone who goes hiking or camping, gets bitten by a tick, and rushes to their doctor with a bull's-eye rash and flu-like symptoms has a chance of getting completely cured. The generally accepted rule is that if antibiotic therapy can be initiated within 24 hours of a tick bite, Lyme Disease is preventable.
Now, the bad news—there are dozens of reasons why it doesn't always happen this way. Unfortunately, the current mainstream medical procedures for diagnosing and treating Lyme Disease can fail at many points in the diagnosis and treatment process, leading to prolonged suffering and frustration. The odds are stacked high against people suffering from Lyme Disease. First we will examine obstacles in diagnosing Lyme Disease and then we will look at problems with current treatment practices.
Obstacles in Diagnosis
Despite the vast and increasing prevalence of Lyme Disease in the United States and other countries, many doctors are still not trained to look for the disease. Lack of training results from the misguided belief among mainstream medical colleges that Lyme Disease is actually not a prevalent, rapidly spreading infection but instead a rare and uncommon condition.
Some doctors will tell a sick person returning from a camping trip to take some Pepto-Bismol after diagnosing them with food poisoning from camping food. Other doctors will suggest Giardia, as a result of drinking contaminated stream water, and proclaim that the telltale bull's-eye rash is just a harmless insect bite or an allergic reaction to some grass or pollen or other irritant found in nature. Still other doctors will recommend watching symptoms for a few weeks to see if they improve on their own, after which time, if a person really had contracted Lyme Disease, antibiotic therapy would be too late anyway. If the bacteria are allowed to survive in the body unchallenged by antibiotic therapy for more than a couple days, treatment becomes much more complicated and protracted because the bacteria invade and colonize many organs and tissues. For this reason, early detection and treatment are critical—yet they often do not occur because Lyme Disease is not on the forefront of most physicians’ minds.
If a physician is actually trained to look for Lyme Disease and he/she orders a Lyme Disease test, the next obstacle in the way of accurate diagnosis is the high probability of inaccurate, false-negative test results. As many as 60% of people infected with Lyme Disease will actually produce a negative test result! This can happen because the antigens and antibodies which the tests look for are not present (or at least not detectable) in the body during a large part of the bacterial life cycle. Therefore, anyone who receives a negative Lyme Disease test result in the presence of clinical symptoms should be suspicious and consider a therapeutic trial of Lyme Disease therapy, a procedure in which a person suspecting Lyme Disease is given a course of Lyme Disease treatment to see if clinical improvement results.
An additional problem with laboratory tests is the processing period. Because processing a Lyme Disease test can take a couple weeks, even if a positive result is received, it may be too late for antibiotic therapy to eradicate the infection.
Timing of symptom onset also contributes to missed diagnoses, even when dealing with a competent physician. Since symptoms often do not appear until several weeks or months after the infection is acquired, a person coming down with a mystery illness may not suspect Lyme Disease even if they vaguely remembered a tick bite, because there may be no apparent association between the tick bite and the new symptoms. This confusion makes it difficult for even a good physician to sort out what is going on.
To make matters worse, in many cases, symptoms of Lyme Disease may be delayed even longer than weeks or months. In some cases, symptoms may not appear until years after initial infection, leading to an even smaller probability of proper diagnosis. In addition, initial symptoms can be so subtle as to be mistaken for "growing pains" or "being out of shape". In these cases, tests would not even be ordered unless a shrewd physician or patient pieced together the puzzle. And, even if tests were ordered, the looming risk of a false-negative result creates more confusion.
New evidence has also identified other possible routes of transmission for the infection, including mother to child during pregnancy or breast-feeding, mosquito to human, and sexual intercourse. These routes of transmission are not recognized or acknowledged by most of mainstream medicine. This denial is in the face of glaring evidence to the contrary and is a cause for additional confusion when diagnosing Lyme Disease. Because some Lyme Disease sufferers have never spent much time outdoors, they will automatically be disqualified from Lyme Disease screening—even if, in reality, they are subject to other risk factors such as a mother with Lyme Disease.
Adding to the already stacked odds that a Lyme Disease sufferer will not be diagnosed properly is the elusive and variable nature of the disease presentation itself. Lyme Disease can and does manifest as dozens of different diseases and conditions which are conventionally believed to be incurable and unrelated to Borrelia Burgdorferi infection. Examples of such diseases include Parkinson's, ALS, depression, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, Epstein-Barr virus, candida, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and others. Because of its ability to mimic so many seemingly unrelated conditions, Lyme Disease is known as the "great imitator." The ability for the disease to manifest in so many ways is a result of the spirochetes' capability of infecting each and every major organ system in the body. Unfortunately, most physicians do not suspect Lyme Disease when dealing with one of these other conditions even though, in a significant number of cases, Lyme Disease is the root cause.
As if the situation weren't bad enough already, many doctors do not acknowledge that Lyme Disease exists in more than a few isolated parts of the United States. Chances are a person with a newly acquired Lyme Disease infection will encounter a physician who does not believe the disease is native to the area in which they live. In reality, Lyme Disease has been documented in every state in the United States and many countries throughout the world.
As you can see, diagnosing Lyme Disease is a complicated task. Having awareness of this complexity is the first step toward healing those suffering from this affliction and toward ensuring that future diagnostic procedures become more reliable.
Obstacles in Treatment
The diagnosis process is unfortunately not the end of the obstacle field confronting Lyme Disease sufferers. Even if diagnosed early and accurately, a Lyme Disease sufferer faces sizable challenges in the treatment process.
Current antibiotic guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control are vastly inadequate and based on antiquated, inaccurate, and unreliable data. While some people do get well by following these guidelines, a significant percentage do not. Many people remain sick despite a two or three week course of doxycycline or penicillin—the length and choice of antibiotic therapy which the Centers for Disease Control dogmatically and ignorantly insist is adequate treatment. Recent estimates suggest that up to 30% of Lyme Disease cases do not get resolved after following these CDC guidelines.
A preponderance of research establishing the necessity of extended courses of antibiotic therapy for the unlucky 30% has been completely ignored by medical regulatory agencies. As a result, symptoms and misery can continue for the unlucky 30% even though the "right treatment" was given. People who are still infected despite antibiotic therapy have what is referred to as chronic Lyme Disease. The chronic form of the disease is becoming an epidemic in the United States and abroad.
Or is it? A significant percentage of doctors and regulatory agencies do not recognize the existence of chronic Lyme Disease. The prevailing belief is that if someone has Lyme Disease and is treated with a several-weeklong course of antibiotics, they must, by definition, be cured. This belief fails to take into account the last 20 years of scientific research, as there have been numerous studies which evidence that Lyme Disease bacteria are often still present in the body even after antibiotic therapy. In fact, some studies show that common antibiotic regimens have very little effect on the bacterial infection.
Doctors and researchers who do not acknowledge chronic Lyme Disease have invented a bogus label for people who still have symptoms after a short course of antibiotics: "Post-Lyme Syndrome." Patients abused with this diagnosis are either told that nonliving bacterial toxins are keeping them ill, or worse, that remaining symptoms are psychiatric in nature and they should see a shrink who treats hypochondria and paranoia. So, many patients end up attempting to treat a raging bacterial infection with talk therapy. The truth is that chronic Lyme Disease is in fact a real condition, caused by an active bacterial infection, and largely disparaged by conventional medicine.
The conclusion that chronic Lyme Disease is not a valid medical condition is so preposterous, so irrational, so unscientific that one can't help but question whether the presiding research organizations are actually pursuing truth or instead, acting as puppets beholden to a political or medical agenda. There is simply too much research to ignore. And as time goes on, instead of behaving rationally and slowly examining new research and moving toward adoption of chronic Lyme Disease as a real condition, the regulatory agencies seem to be going in the opposite direction and becoming more adamant about their erroneous conclusions.
The doctors who recognize chronic Lyme Disease, and are willing to treat it, are few and far between. LLMDs use extended courses of very powerful antibiotics, sometimes in combinations of two or three drugs simultaneously, at much higher than FDA approved dosages, to try to help people with chronic Lyme Disease. Doctors who treat chronic Lyme Disease are heroes with good intentions, coming to the rescue when no one else will.
But even if patient and LLMD are able to connect, there are still additional obstacles. Unfortunately, LLMDs who do step out on a limb and actually try to help people with chronic Lyme Disease by reading the literature and implementing rational treatments are often persecuted, sued, disciplined by state medical boards, ridiculed, and at risk of losing their medical practice, as we have discussed in the previous section of the book. Increasing persecution and legal danger has led to the decision by many doctors not to treat Lyme Disease patients, or at least, to adhere to the inadequate treatment guidelines established by the government.
Although it is becoming increasingly perilous, many LLMDs are willing to brave the legal climate because some people with chronic Lyme Disease do recover by using extended courses of antibiotic therapy. In these cases, people who would have otherwise not recovered at all owe their lives to LLMDs. Offering hope to hopeless patients is the daily business of a Lyme Disease doctor.
Unfortunately, there are some very significant drawbacks to long-term antibiotic therapy. Patients receiving long-term antibiotic therapy often face grueling battles with insurance companies as a result of skyrocketing medical bills. Because official government standards indicate that only a short course of antibiotics is necessary in the treatment of Lyme Disease, many people are not able to get their extended treatment covered.
Another significant drawback to long-term antibiotic therapy is side effects. Because antibiotics are given in very high doses for long periods of time, side effects can be devastating. In some cases, the side effects can be worse than the disease. Many people end up with permanent damage to various organs caused by extended-course, high-dose antibiotic therapy.
The most significant drawback to long-term antibiotic therapy, though, is that it does not always work. The best antibiotics, given at high doses for months on end, often fail to eradicate the elusive and survival-oriented Lyme Disease bacteria. In these cases, symptom improvement can be fragile and relapses are common. "Open ended" antibiotic therapy is frequently required to keep some people stable. My first book, Lyme Disease and Rife Machines, has an in-depth explanation of exactly how and why antibiotics can fail.
The above treatment obstacles do not just exist in theory. The reality is that there are thousands of chronic Lyme sufferers who continuously live a miserable existence despite having attempted to get help from dozens of doctors.
As you can see, the situation can be quite hopeless. Lyme Disease sufferers are left to try to find answers on their own between doctors' appointments where they are given anything from a diagnosis of paranoia to an inadequate course of antibiotics to a denial of insurance coverage. At every step in the diagnosis and treatment process, Lyme Disease sufferers encounter an uphill battle which often leads to prolonged sickness, financial ruin, and unimaginable stress. Many Lyme Disease sufferers live their lives in complete despair, having tried every antibiotic under the sun without lasting relief.
The bottom line on diagnosing and treating Lyme Disease is that there are many ways to end up with the infection but not many ways to get rid of it. This, as you may have guessed by now, is why we need breakthrough therapies for Lyme Disease.
Now you can see why a book on new Lyme Disease treatments is useful. This book was written because there is a need for this book. People who have failed to get well by using aggressive antibiotic therapy, or people who wish to avoid aggressive antibiotic therapy, will find alternatives on the following pages. After reading about the alternatives, Chapter 11 will provide practical guidance on how to integrate them into a complete treatment plan. Although there is no easy cure for chronic Lyme Disease, there are valuable treatment options which have improved the lives of thousands of people and in some cases, provided complete remission of symptoms. Yet, many of these treatments remain largely unknown. Hopefully this book will change that.
Conventional vs. Alternative Medicine
In this day and age, you would have to live in a cave not to notice the raging battle between conventional and alternative medicine. Twenty years ago, alternative medicine was barely more than a casual club, not to be taken seriously, not solid enough to rely on for real health problems. Today, alternative medicine has gained acceptance and respect on a much larger scale, even among the mainstream media. What's more, many Americans are coming to actually trust alternative medicine more than conventional medicine, heading to the health food shop or acupuncturist before the family doctor.
Usually at odds with each other, conventional and alternative philosophies differ not only in how they treat disease, but also in their explanation of why disease develops in the first place. As the interest in and acceptance of alternative medicine continues to grow, so does the intensity of the debate. Advocates of both positions can be quite hostile to the other side. The debate has recently reached a boiling point, involving the passions, fears, biases, personal experiences—and let us not forget, financial interests—of those involved. Amidst the inferno, it has been largely forgotten that the goal of health care is not to establish exclusive, single-minded medical truths, but instead, to utilize all available medical treatments that cure disease—regardless of which paradigm they belong to.
The simple fact, irrespective of declarations by hotheads on either side of the debate, is that both conventional and alternative approaches have equal value in treating disease. Where conventional medicine fails, alternative medicine often succeeds, and vice versa. The most logical strategy for evaluating available treatments is to ignore whether a given therapy is conventional or alternative, and focus instead on whether or not it actually works. Alternative and conventional medicine should not be viewed as opposing forces but instead, teammates. No one should have to choose between a hammer and a screwdriver—each should be kept in the toolbox for the appropriate time and place—and so it should be with conventional and alternative medicine.
This philosophy is what separates this book from others on Lyme Disease treatment. Most available books side heavily with either conventional or alternative medicine. In contrast, this book doesn't care about the label of a given treatment—whether it be conventional or alternative—but instead, only, whether or not the treatment works. The effectiveness of numerous treatments was evaluated based on scientific research and hundreds of user reports, not passionate opinion or theoretical models of medicine.
It's a good thing both conventional and alternative medicine are available, too. The Lyme Disease infection is so pervasive and resistant that we need all available resources, not half of them. As you read this book, you will encounter a variety of approaches: antibiotics and herbs, drugs and nutrients, specialized and holistic. This balanced perspective is not just helpful when treating Lyme Disease, it is mandatory.
A specific example of how a balanced approach is played out in this book can be seen in how the book addresses the topics of treatment with antibiotics and treatment with rife machines. Common belief is that these two treatments are in direct opposition to each other, and in many ways they are. Antibiotics are a conventional treatment, while rife machines are an alternative treatment. Each treatment works by a completely different method of action. However, in this book, these two treatments are viewed as teammates instead of enemies. The book presents ways in which each treatment can be used to complement the other.
Doctors have a hard time successfully treating Lyme Disease because, especially in modern times, they are very specialized in what they do. Doctors are qualified experts in the narrow cross-section of medicine in which they were trained, board certified, and practice. Because the successful treatment of Lyme Disease requires a multifaceted and multidisciplinary approach, drawing on a broad range of medical resources, no single doctor is equipped to develop and implement a comprehensive treatment plan. That is why it is so difficult to obtain complete treatment from your physician. Some physicians are highly proficient in administering antibiotic therapy but are unaware of or unable to recommend rife machine therapy. Other physicians are experts in acupuncture but would not prescribe a drug if the patient’s life depended on it. You get the point.
This book was written to evaluate, consolidate, and summarize the most effective conventional and alternative Lyme Disease treatments, drawing from a broad, interdisciplinary perspective, without regard to whether or not the given treatments are based in conventional or alternative medicine.
The Top 10 Lyme Disease Treatments:
Defeat Lyme Disease With The Best Of Conventional And