The Chemical Imbalance Myth and Antidepressant Harm

September 19, 2019

Analysis by Dr. Joseph MercolaFact Checked
depression chemical imbalance myth


  • An estimated 17.3 million American adults (7.1% of the adult population), experienced at least one major depressive episode in 2017. The highest rates are reported among those aged between 18 and 25
  • The vast majority are prescribed antidepressant drugs, despite the fact there’s virtually no evidence to suggest they provide meaningful help, and plenty of evidence showing the harms are greater than patients are being told
  • Hundreds of thousands of toddlers are also being medicated with powerful psychiatric drugs, raising serious ethical questions, along with questions about the future mental and physical health of these children
  • There’s no scientific evidence to suggest depression is the result of a chemical imbalance in your brain. A lot of the evidence suggests unhealthy living conditions are at the heart of the problem
  • Antidepressants are not beneficial in the long term and antipsychotic drugs worsen outcomes over the long term in those diagnosed with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia

In the U.S., an estimated 17.3 million American adults (7.1% of the adult population), experienced at least one major depressive episode in 2017.1 The highest rates are reported among those aged between 18 and 25.2 However, not only is there evidence that depression is vastly overdiagnosed, but there’s also evidence showing it’s routinely mistreated.

With regard to overdiagnosis, one 2013 study3 found only 38.4% of participants with clinician-identified depression actually met the DSM-4 criteria for a major depressive episode, and only 14.3% of seniors 65 and older met the criteria.

As for treatment, the vast majority are prescribed antidepressant drugs, despite the fact there’s virtually no evidence to suggest they provide meaningful help, and plenty of evidence showing the harms are greater than patients are being told.

According to a 2017 study,4 1 in 6 Americans between the ages of 18 and 85 were on psychiatric drugs, most of them antidepressants, and 84.3% reported long-term use (three years or more). Out of 242 million U.S. adults, 12% were found to have filled one or more prescriptions for an antidepressant, specifically, in 2013.

According to data5 presented by a watchdog group, hundreds of thousands of toddlers are also being medicated with powerful psychiatric drugs, raising serious ethical questions, along with questions about the future mental and physical health of these children.

Recent studies are also shedding much needed light on the addictive nature of many antidepressants, and demonstrate that the benefits of these drugs have been overblown while their side effects — including suicidal ideation — and have been downplayed and ignored for decades, placing patients at unnecessary risk.

The Chemical Imbalance Myth

One researcher responsible for raising awareness about these important mental health issues is professor Peter C. Gøtzsche, a Danish physician-researcher and outspoken critic of the drug industry (as his book, “Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare,”6 suggests).

Gøtzsche helped found the Cochrane Collaboration in 1993 and later launched the Nordic Cochrane Centre. In 2018, he was expelled by the Cochrane governing board following the publication of a scathing critique of a Cochrane review of the HPV vaccine, in which he and his coauthors pointed out several methodological flaws and conflicts of interest.

Over the past several years, Gøtzsche has published a number of scientific papers on antidepressants and media articles and a book discussing the findings. In a June 28, 2019 article,7Gøtzsche addresses “the harmful myth” about chemical imbalances — a debunked hypothesis that continues to drive the use of antidepressants to this day. He writes, in part:8

“Psychiatrists routinely tell their patients that they are ill because they have a chemical imbalance in the brain and they will receive a drug that fixes this …

Last summer, one of my researchers and I collected information about depression from 39 popular websites in 10 countries, and we found that 29 (74%) websites attributed depression to a chemical imbalance or claimed that antidepressants could fix or correct that imbalance …

It has never been possible to show that common mental disorders start with a chemical imbalance in the brain. The studies that have claimed this are all unreliable.9

A difference in dopamine levels, for example, between patients with schizophrenia and healthy people cannot tell us anything about what started the psychosis … [I]f a lion attacks us, we get terribly frightened and produce stress hormones, but this does not prove that it was the stress hormones that made us scared.

People with psychoses have often suffered traumatic experiences in the past, so we should see these traumas as contributing causal factors and not reduce suffering to some biochemical imbalance that, if it exists at all, is more likely to be the result of the psychosis rather than its cause.10

The myth about chemical imbalance is very harmful. It makes people believe there is something seriously wrong with them, and sometimes they are even told that it is hereditary.

The result of this is that patients continue to take harmful drugs, year after year, perhaps even for the entirety of their lives. They fear what would happen if they stopped, particularly when the psychiatrists have told them that their situation is like patients with diabetes needing insulin.” 

Real Cause of Depression Is Typically Ignored

According to Gøtzsche, there is no known mental health issue that is caused by an imbalance of brain chemicals. In many cases, the true cause is unknown, but “very often, it is a response to unhealthy living conditions,” he writes.11

He also cites the book,12 “Anxiety — The Inside Story: How Biological Psychiatry Got It Wrong,” written by Dr. Niall McLaren, in which the author shows that anxiety is a major factor in and trigger of most psychiatric disorders.

“A psychiatrist I respect highly, who only uses psychiatric drugs in rare cases … has said that most people are depressed because they live depressing lives,” Gøtzsche writes.

“No drug can help them live better lives. It has never been shown in placebo-controlled trials that a psychiatric drug can improve people’s lives — e.g., help them return to work, improve their social relationships or performance at school, or prevent crime and delinquency. The drugs worsen people’s lives, at least in the long run.13

Gøtzsche rightfully points out that antipsychotic drugs create chemical imbalances; they don’t fix them. As a group, they’re also somewhat misnamed, as they do not address psychotic states. Rather, they are tranquilizers, rendering the patient passive. However, calming the patient down does not actually help them heal the underlying trauma that, in many cases, is what triggered the psychosis in the first place.

As noted in one 2012 meta-analysis14 of studies looking at childhood trauma — including sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional/psychological abuse, neglect, parental death and bullying — and subsequent risk of psychosis:

“There were significant associations between adversity and psychosis across all research designs … Patients with psychosis were 2.72 times more likely to have been exposed to childhood adversity than controls … The estimated population attributable risk was 33% (16%-47%). These findings indicate that childhood adversity is strongly associated with increased risk for psychosis.”

Economy of Influence in Psychiatry

A related article,15 written by investigative journalist Robert Whitaker in 2017, addresses the “economy of influence” driving the use of antidepressant drugs in psychiatric treatment — and the “social injury” that results. As noted by Whitaker, mental disorders were initially categorized according to a disease model in 1980 by the American Psychiatric Association.

“We’re all familiar with the second ‘economy of influence’ that has exerted a corrupting influence on psychiatry — pharmaceutical money — but I believe the guild influence is really the bigger problem,” he writes.

Whitaker details the corruption within the APA in his book “Psychiatry Under the Influence,” one facet of which is “the false story told to the public about drugs that fixed chemical imbalances in the brain.” Other forms of corrupt behavior include:

  • The biased designs of clinical trials to achieve a predetermined result
  • Spinning results to support preconceived conclusions
  • Hiding poor long-term outcomes
  • Expanding diagnostic categories for the purpose of commercial gain
  • Creating clinical trial guidelines that promote drug use

In his article, Whitaker goes on to dissect a 2017 review16 published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, which Whitaker claims “defends the profession’s current protocols for prescribing antipsychotics, which includes their regular long-term use.”

As Whitaker points out, there’s ample evidence showing antipsychotic drugs worsen outcomes over the long term in those diagnosed with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.

The review in question, led by Dr. Jeffrey A. Lieberman, was aimed at answering persistent questions raised by the mounting of such evidence. Alas, their conclusions dismissed concerns that the current drug paradigm might be doing more harm than good.

“In a subsequent press release and a video for a Medscape commentary, Lieberman has touted it as proving that antipsychotics provide a great benefit, psychiatry’s protocols are just fine, and that the critics are ‘nefarious’ individuals intent on doing harm,” Whitaker writes.17

The Scientific Bias of Psychiatric Treatment

Five of the eight researchers listed on the review have financial ties to drug companies, three are speakers for multiple drug companies and all eight are psychiatrists, “and thus there is a ‘guild’ interest present in this review, given that they are investigating whether one of their treatments is harmful over the long-term,” Whitaker notes.18

Not surprisingly, the review ignored studies showing negative effects, including studies showing antipsychotics have a detrimental effect on brain volume. What’s more, while withdrawal studies support the use of antipsychotics as maintenance therapy over the long term, these studies do not address how the drugs affect patients’ long-term health.

“They simply reveal that once a person has stabilized on the medication, going abruptly off the drug is likely to lead to relapse,” Whitaker writes.19 “The focus on long-term outcomes, at least as presented by critics, provides evidence that psychiatry should adopt a selective-use protocol.

If first-episode patients are not immediately put on antipsychotics, there is a significant percentage that will recover, and this ‘spontaneous recovery’ puts them onto a good long-term course. As for patients treated with the medications, the goal would be to minimize long-term use, as there is evidence that antipsychotics, on the whole, worsen long-term outcomes.”

Vast Majority of Psychotic Patients Are Harmed, Not Helped

In his deconstruction of Lieberman’s review, Whitaker details how biased thinking influenced the review’s conclusions. It’s a rather long article, but well worth reading through if you want to understand how a scientific review can be skewed to accord with a preconceived view.

Details I want to highlight, however, include findings relating to the number needed to treat (NNT) and the percentage of patients harmed by the routine use of antipsychotic drugs as a first-line treatment.

As noted by Whitaker, while placebo-controlled studies reveal the effectiveness of a drug compared to an inert substance, they do not effectively reveal the ratio of benefit versus harm among the patient population. NNT refers to the number of patients that have to take the drug in order to get one positive response.

A meta-analysis cited in Lieberman’s review had an NNT of 6, meaning that six patients must take the drug in order for one to benefit from the treatment. The remaining five patients — 83% — are potentially harmed by the treatment. As noted by Whitaker:20

“The point … is this: reviewers seeking to promote their drug treatment as effective will look solely at whether it produces a superior response to placebo. This leads to a one-size-fits-all protocol.

Reviewers that want to assess the benefit-harm effect of the treatment on all patients will look at NNT numbers. In this instance, the NNT calculations argue for selective use of the drugs …”

Antidepressants Are Not Beneficial in the Long Term

While typically not as destructive as antipsychotics, antidepressants also leave a trail of destruction in their wake. A systematic review21 by Gøtzsche published in 2019 found studies assessing harm from selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) fail to provide a clear and accurate picture of the harms, and therefore “cannot be used to investigate persistent harms of antidepressants.”

In this review, Gøtzsche and colleagues sought to assess “harms of SSRIs … that persist after end of drug intake.” The primary outcomes included mortality, functional outcomes, quality of life and core psychiatric events. In all, 22 papers on 12 SSRI trials were included. Gøtzsche found several distinct problems with these trials. For starters, only two of the 12 trials had a drop-out rate below 20%.

Gøtzsche and his team also note that “Outcome reporting was less thorough during follow-up than for the intervention period and only two trials maintained the blind during follow-up.” Importantly, though, all of the 22 papers came to the conclusion that “the drugs were not beneficial in the long term.”

Another important finding was that all trials either “reported harms outcomes selectively or did not report any,” and “Only two trials reported on any of our primary outcomes (school attendance and number of heavy drinking days).”

Antidepressants Are More Addictive Than Admitted

In a June 4, 2019, article,22 “The Depression Pill Epidemic,” Gøtzsche writes that antidepressant drugs:

“… do not have relevant effects on depression; they increase the risk of suicide and violence; and they make it more difficult for patients to live normal lives.23 They should therefore be avoided.

We have been fooled by the drug industry, corrupt doctors on industry payroll, and by our drug regulators.24 Surely, many patients and doctors believe the pills are helpful, but they cannot know this, because people tend to become much better with time even if they are not treated.25

This is why we need placebo-controlled trials to find out what the drugs do to people. Unfortunately, virtually all trials are flawed, exaggerate the benefits of the drugs, and underestimate their harms.26

Addictive Nature of Antidepressants Skews Results

In his article,27 Gøtzsche reviews several of the strategies used in antidepressant drug trials to exaggerate benefits and underestimate the harms. One little-known truth that helps skew study results in the drug’s favor is the fact that antidepressants tend to be far more addictive than officially admitted. He explains how this conveniently hides the skewing of results as follows:28

Virtually all patients in the trials are already on a drug similar to the one being tested against placebo. Therefore, as the drugs are addictive, some of the patients will get abstinence symptoms … when randomized to placebo …

These abstinence symptoms are very similar to those patients experience when they try to stop benzodiazepines. It is no wonder that new drugs outperform the placebo in patients who have experienced harm as a result of cold turkey effects.

To find out how long patients need to continue taking drugs, so-called maintenance (withdrawal) studies have been carried out, but such studies also are compromised by cold turkey effects. Leading psychiatrists don’t understand this, or they pretend they don’t.

Most interpret the maintenance studies of depression pills to mean that these drugs are very effective at preventing new episodes of depression and that patients should therefore continue taking the drugs for years or even for life.”

Scientific Literature Supports Reality of User Complaints

Over the years, several studies on the dependence and withdrawal reactions associated with SSRIs and other psychiatric drugs have been published, including the following:

In a 2011 paper29 in the journal Addiction, Gøtzsche and his team looked at the difference between dependence and withdrawal reactions by comparing benzodiazepines and SSRIs. Benzodiazepines are known to cause dependence, while SSRIs are said to not be addictive.

Despite such claims, Gøtzsche’s team found that “discontinuation symptoms were described with similar terms for benzodiazepines and SSRIs and were very similar for 37 of 42 identified symptoms described as withdrawal reactions,” which led them to conclude that:

“Withdrawal reactions to selective serotonin re‐uptake inhibitors appear to be similar to those for benzodiazepines; referring to these reactions as part of a dependence syndrome in the case of benzodiazepines, but not selective serotonin re‐uptake inhibitors, does not seem rational.”

Two years later, in 2013, Gøtzsche’s team published a paper30 in the International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine, in which they analyzed “communications from drug agencies about benzodiazepine and SSRI withdrawal reactions over time.”

By searching the websites of drug agencies in Europe, the U.S., UK and Denmark, they found that it took years before drug regulators finally acknowledged the reality of benzodiazepine dependence and SSRI withdrawal reactions and began informing prescribers and patients about these risks.

A significant part of the problem, they found, is that drug agencies rely on spontaneous reporting of adverse effects, which “leads to underestimation and delayed information about the problems.”

In conclusion, they state that “Given the experience with the benzodiazepines, we believe the regulatory bodies should have required studies from the manufacturers that could have elucidated the dependence potential of the SSRIs before marketing authorization was granted.”

A 2019 paper31 in the Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences journal notes “It took almost two decades after the SSRIs entered the market for the first systematic review to be published.” It also points out that reviews claiming withdrawal effects to be mild, brief in duration and rare “was at odds with the sparse but growing evidence base.”

In reality, “What the scientific literature reveals is in close agreement with the thousands of service user testimonies available online in large forums. It suggests that withdrawal reactions are quite common, that they may last from a few weeks to several months or even longer, and that they are often severe.”

Antidepressants Increase Your Risk of Suicide and Violence

In his June 4 article,32 Gøtzsche also stresses the fact that antidepressants can be lethal. In one of his studies,33 published in 2016, he found antidepressants “double the occurrence of events that can lead to suicide and violence in healthy adult volunteers.”

Other research34 has shown they “increase aggression in children and adolescents by a factor of 2 to 3 — an important finding considering the many school shootings where the killers were on depression pills,” Gøtzsche writes.

In middle-aged women with stress urinary incontinence, the selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) duloxetine, which is also used to treat incontinence, has been shown to double the risk of a psychotic episode and increase the risk of violence and suicide four to five times,35 leading the authors to conclude that harms outweighed the benefits.

“I have described the dirty tricks and scientific dishonesty involved when drug companies and leading psychiatrists try convincing us that these drugs protect against suicide and other forms of violence,36 Gøtzsche writes.37 “Even the FDA was forced to give in when it admitted in 2007, at least indirectly, that depression pills can cause suicide and madness at any age.

There is no doubt that the massive use of depression pills is harmful. In all countries where this relationship has been examined, the sharp rise in disability pensions due to psychiatric disorders has coincided with the rise of psychiatric drug usage, and depression pills are those which are used the most by far. This is not what one would expect if the drugs were helpful.”

Drugmaker Lied About Paxil’s Suicide Risk

In 2017, Wendy Dolin was awarded $3 million by a jury in a lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Paxil. Dolin’s husband committed suicide six days after taking his first dose of a Paxil generic, and evidence brought forth in the case convincingly showed his suicide was the result of the drug, not emotional stress or mental illness.38

The legal team behind that victory, Baum Hedlund Aristei Goldman, is also representing other victims of Paxil-induced violence and death. At the time, attorney R. Brent Wisner said:39

“The Dolin verdict sent a clear message to GSK and other drug manufacturers that hiding data and manipulating science will not be tolerated … If you create a drug and know that it poses serious risks, regardless of whether consumers use the brand name or generic version of that drug, you have a duty to warn.”

GSK’s own clinical placebo-controlled trials actually revealed subjects on Paxil had nearly nine times the risk of attempting or committing suicide than the placebo group. To gain drug approval, GSK misrepresented this shocking data, falsely reporting a higher number of suicide attempts in the placebo group and deleting some of the suicide attempts in the drug group.

An internal GSK analysis of its suicide data also showed that “patients taking Paxil were nearly seven times more likely to attempt suicide than those on placebo,” Baum Hedlund Aristei Goldman reports, adding:40

“Jurors in the Dolin trial also heard from psychiatrist David Healy, one of the world’s foremost experts on Paxil and drugs in its class … Healy told the jurors that Paxil and drugs like it can create in some people a state of extreme ’emotional turmoil’ and intense inner restlessness known as akathisia …

‘People have described it like a state worse than death. Death will be a blessed relief. I want to jump out of my skin,’ Dr. Healy said. Healthy volunteer studies have found that akathisia can happen even to people with no psychiatric condition who take the drug …

Another Paxil side effect known to increase the risk of suicide is emotional blunting … apathy or emotional indifference … [E]motional blunting, combined with akathisia, can lead to a mental state in which an individual has thoughts of harming themselves or others, but is ‘numbed’ to the consequences of their actions. Drugs in the Paxil class can also cause someone to ‘go psychotic, become delirious,’ Dr. Healy explained.”

Hundreds of Thousands of Toddlers on Psychiatric Drugs

Considering the many serious psychological and physical risks associated with psychiatric drugs, it’s shocking to learn that hundreds of thousands of American toddlers are on them. In 2014, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a mental health watchdog group, highlighted data showing that in 2013:41

  • 274,000 babies aged 1 and younger were given psychiatric drugs — Of these, 249,699 were on anti-anxiety meds like Xanax; 26,406 were on antidepressants such as Prozac or Paxil, 1,422 were on ADHD drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall, and 654 were on antipsychotics such as Risperdal and Zyprexa
  • In the toddler category (2- to 3-year-olds), 318,997 were on anti-anxiety drugs, 46,102 were on antidepressants, 10,000 were prescribed ADHD drugs and 3,760 were on antipsychotics
  • Among children aged 5 and younger, 1,080,168 were on psychiatric drugs

These are shocking figures that challenge logic. How and why are so many children, babies even, on addictive and dangerously mind-altering medications? Considering these statistics are 6 years old, chances are they’re even higher today. Just what will happen to all of these youngsters as they grow up? As mentioned in the article:42

“When it comes to the psychiatric drugs used to treat ADHD, these are referred to as ‘kiddie cocaine’ for a reason. Ritalin (methylphenidate), Adderall (amphetamine) and Concerta are all considered by the federal government as Schedule II drugs — the most addictive.

ADHD drugs also have serious side effects such as agitation, mania, aggressive or hostile behavior, seizures, hallucinations, and even sudden death, according to the National Institutes of Health …

As far as antipsychotics, antianxiety drugs and antidepressants, the FDA and international drug regulatory agencies cite side effects including, but not limited to, psychosis, mania, suicidal ideation, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and even sudden death.”

Children Increasingly Prescribed Psych Drugs Off-Label

Making matters even worse, recent research shows the number of children being prescribed medication off-label is also on the rise. An example offered by,43 which reported the findings, is “a doctor recommending antidepressant medication for ADHD symptoms.”

The study,44 published in the journal Pediatrics, looked at trends in off-label drug prescriptions made for children under the age of 18 by office-based physicians between 2006 and 2015. Findings revealed:

“Physicians ordered ≥1 off-label systemic drug at 18.5% of visits, usually (74.6%) because of unapproved conditions. Off-label ordering was most common proportionally in neonates (83%) and in absolute terms among adolescents (322 orders out of 1000 visits).

Off-label ordering was associated with female sex, subspecialists, polypharmacy, and chronic conditions. Rates and reasons for off-label orders varied considerably by age.

Relative and absolute rates of off-label orders rose over time. Among common classes, off-label orders for antihistamines and several psychotropics increased over time …

US office-based physicians have ordered systemic drugs off label for children at increasing rates, most often for unapproved conditions, despite recent efforts to increase evidence and drug approvals for children.”

The researchers were taken aback by the findings, and expressed serious concern over this trend. While legal, many of the drugs prescribed off-label have not been properly tested to ensure safety and efficacy for young children and adolescents.

As noted by senior author Daniel Horton, assistant professor of pediatrics and pediatric rheumatologist at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, “We don’t always understand how off-label medications will affect children, who don’t always respond to medications as adults do. They may not respond as desired to these drugs and could experience harmful effects.”

Educate Yourself About the Risks

If you, your child, or another family member is on a psychiatric drug, I urge you to educate yourself about the true risks, and to consider switching to safer alternatives. When it comes to children, I cannot fathom a situation in which a toddler would need a psychiatric drug and I find it shocking that there are so many doctors out there that, based on a subjective evaluation, would deem a psychiatric drug necessary.


For More:




  Video Here

Eco-Anxiety in Kids: Expert Weighs in

Research shows kids becoming concerned over climate change.

In the interview in the above link, CBSNEWS Los Angeles, interviews Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge which reveals the effect eco-anxiety has on children and what parents can do to help.

As I watched this I couldn’t help but think about anxiety relative to many issues/topics including the very real ongoing Lyme/MSIDS pandemic and the potential fear of obtaining tick bites.

The doctor discusses excellent points including the fact that anxiety is real for a person whether it is actually real or perceived, as well as the difference between concern and OCD-like fear and obsessive thinking that can take over a person’s life.

While this talk specifically is about eco-anxiety in children, it is quite helpful even for Lyme/MSIDS patients who have a brain infection with accompanying inflammation and swelling. These factors can cause or exacerbate mental/cognitive  symptoms that are unimaginable. I personally remember OCD-like behavior in my own case as well as my husband’s, and the need to be careful what we listened to and reflected upon. Healthy thinking is incredibly important with this complex brain illness.

Becoming infected can make you feel overwhelmed to the point you contemplate things you never would contemplate in your right mind.  My experience has shown me the importance of support groups for this as you are with others on a same albeit different journey where you can compare notes, encourage each other, and learn.

For more:





More than Lyme: Tick study finds multiple agents of tick-borne diseases




In a study published in mBio, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology, Jorge Benach and Rafal Tokarz, and their co-authors at Stony Brook University and Columbia University, reported on the prevalence of multiple agents capable of causing human disease that are present in three species of ticks in Long Island.

Tick-borne diseases have become a worldwide threat to public health. In the United States, cases more than doubled, from 22,000 in 2004 to more than 48,000 in 2016, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Tick-borne diseases range from subclinical to fatal infections with disproportionate incidence in children or the elderly. Moreover, some infections can also be transmitted by blood transfusions and cause severe disease in patients with underlying disorders. While public attention has focused on Lyme disease, in recent years, scientists have uncovered evidence that ticks can carry several different pathogens capable of several different tick-borne diseases, sometimes in a single tick.

In the new study, researchers collected ticks from multiple locations throughout Suffolk county in the central and eastern part of Long Island, where seven diseases caused by microbes transmitted by ticks are present. In total, they examined 1,633 individual ticks for 12 separate microbes. They found that more than half of the Ixodes (deer ticks) were infected with the Lyme disease agent, followed by infections with the agents of Babesiosis and Anaplasmosis. Importantly, nearly one-quarter of these ticks are infected with more than one agent, resulting in the possibility of simultaneous transmission from a single tick bite.

Notably, the lone star tick, a species originating from the southern U.S., has expanded its range, possibly fueled by climate change. This study documents that the invasive lone star tick is abundant in Long Island, and that it is a very aggressive tick that can transmit a bacterium that causes a disease known as Ehrlichiosis. The lone star tick has also been implicated in cases of a novel form of meat allergy, and the immature stages can cause an uncomfortable dermatitis.

Polymicrobial infections represent an important aspect of tick-borne diseases that can complicate diagnosis and augment disease severity,” says corresponding author Jorge Benach, PhD, Distinguished Professor at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University. “Some of the polymicrobial infections can be treated with the same antibiotics, but others require different therapies, thus enlarging the number of drugs to treat these infections.”

“In evaluating tick-borne infection, more than one organism needs to be considered,” says senior author Rafal Tokarz, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology in the Center for Infection and Immunity at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, and a graduate of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stony Brook University. “This study emphasizes the need to focus on all tick-borne diseases, not just Lyme.”


The first author is Santiago Sanchez, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stony Brook University. Teresa Tagliafierro from Columbia and James Coleman from Stony Brook are co-authors of the study.

This study was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health to Benach. Support was also provided by the Island Outreach Foundation in Blue Point, NY, to the Stony Brook Renaissance School of Medicine. Support from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation (CU18-2692) was provided to Tokarz.


Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.



Again, climate change has nothing to do with tick proliferation and disease spread:  Dr. Patrick Michaels, director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, provides insight into the debate over climate change and the political games played to create policy.

Political games surrounding Lyme/MSIDS have gone on long enough. Do research on important issues that will help patients.




I’ve combined advocate Carl Tuttle’s updates into one. In this first update, he points out the Dr. Shapiro’s “verbal diarrhea” published in the Boston Globe article. In the second, he points out the need for faulty CDC 2-tiered Lyme Lyme testing to conceal persistent infection being experienced by many patients.

Boston Globe: Is ‘chronic Lyme disease’ real?

AUG 27, 2019 — 

Once again we see more “verbal diarrhea” out of Dr. Eugene Shapiro published in the Boston Globe……

——— Original Message ———-
(88Undisclosed recipients)
Date: August 26, 2019 at 10:14 AM
Subject: Is ‘chronic Lyme disease’ real? By David Scharfenberg Globe Staff


Is ‘chronic Lyme disease’ real?

By David Scharfenberg August 22, 2019, 8:00 a.m.

Left untreated, Lyme can lead to fever and joint pain. But even then, the disease is eminently treatable.

Aug 26, 2019

Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital
1 Park Street, Ste West Pavilion – 2nd Floor
New Haven, CT, 06504
Attn: Eugene Shapiro, MD Professor of Pediatrics

Dr. Shapiro,

You were recently quoted a number of times in the above listed Boston Globe article but you didn’t call attention to the following Dr. Ying Zhang study from 2015:

Standard antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease does not kill persistent Borrelia bacteria.

-What has tuberculosis and Borrelia burgdorferi in common? In the late stage of the disease occurs persistent (tolerant) bacteria, which essentially means that the bacteria lasts and lasts and lasts. They protect themselves against antibiotics and are difficult to treat.

Both Borrelia burgdorferi and tuberculosis is relatively easy to cure in the early stages, even with the use of one antibiotic. In the late stage it is impossible to cure the disease with the same type of treatment in the acute phase, said Dr. Ying Zhang when he visited the year NorVect conference.

The editorial department of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) believed that I had a rather important infectious disease question and published my letter to the editor on December 18, 2018. You and Dr. Wormser neglected to answer the highlighted question below.

Controversies About Lyme Disease

JAMA. 2018;320(23):2481. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.17195

Published question:

“It is well known that untreated streptococcal pharyngitis can progress to rheumatic fever, causing irreversible heart damage. Untreated syphilis leads to progressive disability and dementia, and untreated human immunodeficiency virus infection progresses to AIDS with significant disability and death. What happens to a patient with Lyme disease who goes months, years, or decades before diagnosis because of a false-negative serological test result? [Missing bulls-eye rash, misdiagnosis etc.] Shapiro and Wormser do not discuss the consequences of untreated Lyme disease in their Viewpoint.”

The absence of a bulls-eye rash after tick bite allows patients to progress to severe neurological disease instead of obtaining a prompt diagnosis and early treatment. Humans do not produce detectable antibodies to Lyme disease for 4-6 weeks after a tick bite. By the time serology tests are positive, the spirochetes have already invaded various deep tissues, like those in syphilis, and are hard to eradicate with antibiotics.

Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS) after early treatment and untreated Lyme of months, years or decades are two entirely different disease states; the latter being ignored for over three decades. Patients who have had a prolonged exposure to the pathogen are almost always incapacitated. In fact, patient testimony all across America is describing a disease that is destroying lives, ending careers while leaving its victim in financial ruin yet there are no Public Service Announcements informing the public that you could become horribly “debilitated” or die from Lyme disease.

Why has the focus over the past three decades been on the acute stage of Lyme disease after early treatment [1] while the horribly disabled are left to fend for themselves after the one-size-fits-all IDSA treatment guideline fails?
The statement below was extracted from Dr. Raymond Dattwyler’s patent:

United States Patent US 7.887,815 B2,887,815.PN.&OS=PN/7,887,815&RS=PN/7,887,815

Dattwyler et al. Feb. 15, 2011

“Clinically, Lyme disease is a progressive disease with a wide array of manifestations. Early diagnosis and treatment is critical to prevent progression. Late disseminated infection can be associated with permanent damage to the nervous and musculoskeletal systems.”


Shapiro quotes in the Boston Globe article:

“These days, it’s Lyme that gets much of the attention — its catch-all, explanatory power supercharged by the Internet. “If your nose falls off,” Shapiro says, “you can find out that Lyme disease makes your nose fall off.”

Dr. Shapiro, it appears that you have a long history of similar quotes (verbal diarrhea) which have been archived on the Internet:

Memorable and Not So Memorable Quotes by Lyme Disease Denialists


All Tuttle family members advanced to late stage Lyme before obtaining a diagnosis after years of deteriorating health. If we hadn’t met Dr. Sam Donta who spent a career studying Lyme disease at BU School of Medicine, none of us would have been treated.

  • None of us tested positive for Lyme disease under the current FDA approved two-tier testing algorithm as we did not meet the strict CDC Western blot criteria for positive results. (2 out of 3 IgM bands and 5 out of 10 IgG bands)
  • Our daughter developed an attention deficit disorder so severe that she could no longer read a chapter and retain what was read. A stroke-like episode landed her in the hospital and an MRI revealed white matter lesions but an astute neurologist recognized that these lesions did not resemble the lesions found in MS patients.
  • My wife could barely walk up a flight of stairs without excruciating knee pain and we thought for certain that she would require knee replacement surgery.
I’m happy to report that my wife has fully recovered with no remaining symptoms but that was only achieved after two years of antibiotics. My daughter reached similar results but her recovery took three years of antibiotics.

As for my case of chronic Lyme disease; those details will be summarized at a later date but I will tell you that my insurance claims in 2018 exceeded $600,000.

Earlier this year I was introduced to a gentleman in Salem, NH (Name and phone number available upon request) who had to sell his 1.4 million dollar home on Lake Winnipesaukee in order to treat an entire family of Lyme patients and just last week this story was published:

Mommy, I just want to die:’ Mother recalls daughter’s fight against Lyme disease

By Heather Schlitz, AccuWeather staff writer  Aug 20, 2019

The Lecrones emptied their bank accounts to pay for the uninsured doctor’s visits and to keep injecting $5,000-a-month Rocephin, an antibiotic, into Nicole’s IV. They lost their house and 401(k). Jennifer’s husband drove a truck for 15 hours a day. Jennifer’s oldest daughter, a high school student and varsity soccer player, gave her mom the paychecks she earned from working part-time at Subway and told her mom to use it to buy groceries and pay bills. The family struggled to function as Nicole languished in bed.


So I ask the question Dr. Shapiro, What is your motivation for downplaying the severity of Lyme disease?

Carl Tuttle

Lyme Endemic Hudson, NH

Cc: Brian McGrory, editor-in-chief

Cynthia L. Sears, MD, FIDSA, President, IDSA

Tick-Borne Disease Working Group

Daniel Dutko, lead attorney Lisa Torrey vs IDSA lawsuit

Court document:


Subjective symptoms after treatment of early Lyme disease.

Gary Wormser, New York Medical College


Current but faulty CDC 2-tiered Lyme Lyme testing is needed to conceal persistent infection being experienced by many  patients.

Medscape: “Lyme Testing Gets Fast and Easy”

SEP 17, 2019 — 

Today’s letter to Auwaerter with Cc: to the Tick-Borne Disease Working Group……

———- Original Message ———-
Cc: (98 Undisclosed recipients)
Date: September 17, 2019 at 9:04 AM
Subject: Medscape: “Lyme Testing Gets Fast and Easy”


Lyme Testing Gets Fast and Easy

Paul G. Auwaerter, MD

“When the test was examined for both early Lyme disease and later noncutaneous Lyme disease, it performed as well—if not a bit better—in detecting identifiable antibodies against Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease.[2,3]”

Sept 17, 2019

The IDSA Foundation
1300 Wilson Boulevard Suite 300
Arlington, VA 22209
Attn: Paul Auwaerter, vice chair of the IDSA Foundation

Dear Dr. Auwaerter,

I recommend reading the following JAMA article:

Moving From Substantial Equivalence to Substantial Improvement for 510(k) Devices

Rita F. Redberg, MD, MSc1,2,3 ; Sanket S. Dhruva, MD, MHS1,4

JAMA. 2019;322(10):927-928. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.10191


“Recent Kaiser Health News stories reported that more than 1 million medical device adverse event reports had been sealed from public view by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).1 The New York Times recently called for reforms in device regulation in an editorial entitled “80,000 Deaths. 2 Million Injuries. It’s Time for a Reckoning on Medical Devices.”2


You did not mention the fact that humans do not produce antibodies to Lyme disease for 4-6 weeks after a tick bite; by the time serology tests are positive, the spirochetes have already invaded various deep tissues, like those in syphilis, and are hard to eradicate with antibiotics.

Half the tests come back negative when the patient is actually infected. [1] (No better than a coin toss!)

  1. Serology is inappropriate for a disease that causes death [2]
  2. severe disability [3] as reported by the patient community for the past three decades and exposed in the documentary Under or Skin [4]
Serology however is absolutely essential for concealing persistent infection (chronic Lyme disease) [5] as the test cannot be used to gauge treatment failure or success.

Where is the escalation process to develop direct detection methods and find new treatment approaches for a disease that is destroying lives, ending careers while leaving its victim in financial ruin?
Carl Tuttle

Lyme Endemic Hudson, NH

Cc: Medscape Editorial Staff

REFERENCES (Please read them!)

1. Commercial test kits for detection of Lyme borreliosis: a meta-analysis of test accuracy.

2. Wrongful death suit shows pitfalls of IDSA Lyme guidelines

17 year-old Joseph Elone did not develop a bulls-eye rash and had a negative antibody test for Lyme disease.

3. Latent Lyme Disease Resulting in Chronic Arthritis and Early Career Termination in a United States Army Officer

4. Under Our Skin – Extended Trailer

5. Seronegative Chronic Relapsing Neuroborreliosis.

Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Published 1995


Approx. 2 hours 45 min.

Dr Kenneth Liegner generously spends almost 3 hours on Sunday September 8th,  2019answering questions posed by the Disulfiram for Lyme Support Group community.

Important information

You should not use Antabuse if you have recently taken metronidazole or paraldehyde, or if you have consumed any foods or products that contain alcohol (mouthwash, cough medicine, cooking wine or vinegar, certain desserts, and others).

For more:

**Comment** There appears to be a shortage and potential price hike on disulfiram (Anatuse) currently. After speaking with numerous pharmacists and nationwide advocates it also appears to be at a corporate level.

I was able to obtain it from (Canadian Pharmacy) for $37 for 100 tablets of 500mg. You NEED a prescription for this from a doctor and it takes weeks to a month of obtain. You need to titrate up slowly due to potential side-effects/herxing and work with a knowledgable practitioner.

  Trailer found in link

Skin Deep: The Battle Over Morgellons

October 5, 2019 @ 2:00 PM 4:00 PM

Skin Deep explores the controversy of Morgellons Disease: with its bizarre symptoms and contentious scientific proof, you’ll wonder who is delusional—the patients who believe or the doctors who deny.

According to Lyme, the film gives both sides of the debate but but there is recent peer-reviewed scientific evidence that links Morgellons to Lyme disease and has proven that the source of the suffering is biological and likely borrelia:


Date: October 5
Time: 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Cost: $18


Heal One World
Phone: 323-709-3456

The Regal at LA LIVE

1000 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles,CA90015 United States


The documentary is complete (!) and we’re bringing it to the most important “influencers” we know of… medical students.

Your tax-deductible donation to our Morgellons Disease Education Campaign will fund screenings of this documentary in medical schools, universities, conferences, and communities around the world. The more money we raise, the more places we can screen, and the more medical students and professionals we’ll educate.

Make a tax-deductible donation HERE.

As of August 24 2019 we have 4 educational screenings booked, and we’d like to book 96 more. Please donate to help us achieve this goal!

Together we can make a difference. We can educate young doctors and nurses about Morgellons disease. We can foster empathy where there was once dismissal. And we can change the world for the better.


For more on Morgellons: