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Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation Appalled by Misleading New York Times Piece that Rejects Chronic Lyme Disease

President Alex Cohen, a Chronic Lyme Sufferer, Lends Voice to Other Patients

STAMFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, the largest private donor of Lyme and tickborne disease research in the United States, is deeply dismayed by a recent New York Times opinion piece that denies the existence of chronic Lyme disease.

In “My Son Got Lyme Disease. He’s Totally Fine,” published in the Voices column of the New York Times Well section on June 27, the writer recounts her son’s short-lived bout with Lyme disease. She quotes pediatricians who support the hotly debated idea that Lyme is easily cured with a single course of antibiotics—and does not include counterviews.

“We find that the misinformed comments run contrary to current research and all the work that our Foundation is doing to bring light and awareness to this insidious disease,” said Alex Cohen, president, Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation. “I personally take offense to this article because I myself am a chronic sufferer. It is a disservice to so many who are truly suffering.”

Every year across the country, Lyme disease affects over 300,000 people, an estimated 10 to 20 percent of whom suffer from chronic symptoms after receiving antibiotic therapy. According to the Tick-borne Disease Working Group’s 2018 Report to Congress, these persistent symptoms can be disabling, though their exact cause is still unknown. The report also points to research that has found antibiotics to be ineffective in fighting “persister” bacterial cells and reiterates the limitations of current diagnostic testing.

Lyme disease has often been called “The Great Imitator”; it manifests differently in each patient, making it difficult to diagnose and treat. The writer’s son was fortunate to receive a timely and accurate diagnosis. However, his journey toward recovery may not reflect that of others. Many patients struggle to pinpoint the root cause of their symptoms, either due to flawed testing or limited access to Lyme-competent clinicians. Still others go on to develop chronic Lyme despite treatment.

In light of these complex issues, the Foundation launched the Cohen Lyme & Tickborne Disease Initiative in 2015 and since then has committed $60 million toward research focusing on new methods of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Having been diagnosed with Lyme disease, Mrs. Cohen has made it her personal mission to combat the spread of all tickborne diseases.

For more information and resources, visit the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center directed by Dr. John Aucott, a renowned Lyme expert and a Foundation grant recipient. Or, read the Cohen Lyme & Tickborne Initiative’s latest newsletter.

About Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation

The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation is committed to inspiring philanthropy and community service by creating awareness, offering guidance and leading by example to show the world what giving can do. Since launching the Foundation in 2001, Steven and Alexandra Cohen have generously funded local and national nonprofit organizations that uplift the communities in which they serve. The Cohens’ giving reflects their personal connection with the causes that inspire them. To learn more, please visit steveandalex.org or follow the Foundation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.