Archive for the ‘Mycoplasma’ Category

Gestational Lyme & Other Tick-borne Diseases – Dr. Jones

Dr. Charles Ray Jones – Rock Star

FB_IMG_1541741969447From left, Sherry Sievewright, Wisconsin Lyme Network, Dr. Charles Ray Jones, Alicia Cashman, Madison Lyme Support Group

Dr. Charles Ray Jones specializes in treating Lyme/MSIDS patients.  He has treated over 12,000 children with Lyme/MSIDS, and spoke recently at the Chicago ILADS convention.

Here is the executive summary of his presentation:

  • Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) can be transmitted via ticks, gestationally, breast milk, and semen (yes, that means sexually).  While there isn’t a large NIH double-blind study, clinically LLMD’s are finding infected couples.  For more data on animals:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/02/24/pcos-lyme-my-story/  (Scroll down to info on sexual transmission)

 

  • Gustafason & Burgess demonstrated gestational Bb infection in dogs.  Of the inoculated bitches, 80% became infected who then birthed mostly infected pups.1

 

  • A retrospective study showed 480 children with gestational Lyme/MSIDS. Diagnosis was based on clinical physical and history. 3

 

  • About 10% of Dr. Jones’ patients are infected gestationally.

 

  • Two cases of in vitro fertilization caused embryonic infection.

 

  • Mothers not treated resulted in 50% gestational transmission compared to mothers treated with 1 antibiotic resulting in a 25% transmission.  70% of infected mothers reported a difficult pregnancy.  ALL children improved with appropriate antibiotic treatment.  

 

  • Antibiotic treatment for Pregnant mothers:
  1. Amoxil 1000mg every 8 hours
  2. Ceftin 500 mg every 12 hours
  3. Omnicef 300 mg-600mg twice daily
  4. Mepron 750mg twice daily
  5. Zithromax 500mg twice daily
  • Other options for those who can not tolerate oral antibiotics:
  1. Bicillin 1.2 million units IM 1-3 times weekly
  2. Ceftiaxone 2 gms IV daily
  3. Cefotaxime 6 gms daily either continuous infusions or 2gms IV every 8 hours
  • Top 6 gestational Lyme symptoms:
  1. 90% low muscle tone (delays in motor skills, excess flexibility, drooling)
  2. 80% irritability (impulsive, risky behavior, interrupts, anger/mood swings)
  3. 72% fatigue
  4. 69% pain
  5. 60% low grade fevers with pale skin & dark circles under eyes
  6. 50% painful joints with stiffness & decreased range of motion
  • Coinfection rate found in study.3
  1. 30% Bartonella
  2. 20% Babesia
  3. 7% Strep
  4. 6% Ehrlichiosis
  5. 5% Leptospirosis
  • Male Child Case Study Findings.  Daily fevers between 101-102 degrees with severe joint pain, could not process stimuli, and poor muscle control.  Mother was infected with Bb during pregnancy and child had numerous tick bites.  Was initially diagnosed with a virus and was told he’d “grow out of it.”  Grandparents in desperation hired a priest to exorcise him.  Within 3 months of a clinical diagnosis of Bb (Western Blot positive) and multiple TBI’s (Babesia, Bartonella, Mycoplasma) and appropriate antibiotic treatment, he was doing well in school & athletics, and improved on all perimeters.  Treatment is ongoing.

 

  • Gestational treatment options:
  1. Combination of penicillin, cephalosporins, macrocodes, atovaquone (tetracycline, doxycyline & minocycline not usually used in those under 8) 

 

  • A 1995 study by Gardner showed 15% abnormal babies in treated mothers vs 67% of abnormal babies in mothers not treated.4

 

  • A 1989 study by MacDonald showed the following Lyme infection outcomes during pregnancy.5
  1. prematurity
  2. fluid in the brain
  3. blindness
  4. Sudden infant death syndrome
  5. blood infection
  6. Fetal death
  7. cardiovascular system anomalies
  8. growth retardation
  9. respiratory distress
  10. excess of bilirubin in the blood

References:

  1. Gustafson, J.M., E.C Burgess, et al.(1993). “Intrauterine transmission of Borrelia burgdorferi in dogs. “Am J Vet Res 54(6): 882-890
  2.  Xiao, J., et al. 2011. “How Different Strains of Parasite Infection Affect Behavior Differently”. Infection and Immunity. March 2011 . Quoted in science daily, March 22, 2011.
  3.  Jones, Charles Ray, Smith, Harold, Gibb, Edina and Johnson, Lorraine JD, MBA, “Gestational Lyme Disease Case Studies of 102 Live Births, Lyme Times, 2005”. 
  4. Gardner, T. (1995). Lyme disease. Infectious disease of the fetus and newborn infant. J. S Remington and J.O Klein. Philadelphia, Saunders. Chapter 11:447- 528. 
  5. MacDonald, A.B. (1989) “Gestational Lyme Borreliosis. Implications for the fetus. “Rheum Dis Clin North Amer 15(4): 657-677. 
  6. Goldenberg, R.L and C. Thompson (2003) “The infectious origin of stillbirth”. Am J Obstet Gynecol 189(#): 861-873.

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More on Pregnancy with Lyme/MSIDS:

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/06/19/33-years-of-documentation-of-maternal-child-transmission-of-lyme-disease-and-congenital-lyme-borreliosis-a-review/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/05/24/new-berlin-mom-given-life-altering-lyme-disease-diagnoses-after-pregnancy/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/10/15/pregnancy-in-lyme-dr-ann-corson/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/07/24/congenital-transmission-of-lyme-myth-or-reality/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/02/26/transplacental-transmission-fetal-damage-with-lyme-disease/  (Great videos here)

https://www.lymedisease.org/lyme-basics/lyme-disease/children/  Great read on Lyme/MSIDS in children.

https://www.lymedisease.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Image15-Jones-ABT.pdf  “Rationale for Prolonged Antibiotic Therapy in Treating Lyme Disease.”  By Charles Ray Jones, M.D.

Humana Bartonellosis: Perspectives of a Veterinary Internist

https://dta0yqvfnusiq.cloudfront.net/galax57722929/2018/03/Human-Bartonellosis-5ab03952a5057.pdf

HUMAN BARTONELLOSIS:  PERSPECTIVES OF A VETERINARY INTERNIST

Edward B. Breitschwerdt, DVM, DACVIM
Chief Scientific Officer, Galaxy Diagnostics, Inc.
Professor, Internal Medicine, NCSU, Raleigh, NC
Adjunct Professor of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center
INTRODUCTION
Bartonella species are fastidious gram-negative bacteria that are highly adapted to a mammalian reservoir host and within which the bacteria usually cause a long-lasting intraerythrocytic bacteremia.  1-3  These facts are of particular importance to veterinarians and physicians, as an increasing number of animal reservoir hosts have been identified for various Bartonella species. Among numerous other examples, Bartonella henselae has co-evolved with cats, Bartonella vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii has co-evolved with dogs and wild canines, and Bartonella bovid has co-evolved with cattle.  1-2  Importantly, the list of reservoir-adapted Bartonella species, including a large number of rodent species that might serve as “pocket pets,” continues to grow exponentially, as new Bartonella spp. are discovered. Prior to 1990, there were only two named Bartonella species, whereas there are now at least 24 named and numerous unnamed or candidatus species, based upon deposited Gen Bank sequences or preliminary reports, respectively, seventeen Bartonella spp. including B.alsatica, B. bacilliformis, B. clarridgeiae, B. doshiae, B. elizabethae, B. grahamii, B. henselae (Houston 1 and San Antonio 2 strains), B. koehlerae, B. melophagi, B. quintana, B. rochalimaea, B. tamiae, B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii (Genotypes I, II and III), and B. washoensis have been associated with an expanding spectrum of human diseases.
Epidemiological evidence and experimental flea transmission studies support an important role for fleas in the transmission of B. henselae, B. clarridgeae and most likely B. koehlerae among cats. 1  Three other Bartonella species, B. bovid, B. quintana and B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii have been isolated from cat blood, but the modes of transmission and the reservoir potential of these species in felids has not been definitively established. Recently, we isolated Bartonella vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii from a cat with recurrent osteomyelitis spanning an eighteen month time period. 2  Thus, cats can maintain a chronic bacteremia with at least six Bartonella spp., of which five are known zoonotic pathogens.  1-3 In addition to fleas, an increasing number of arthropod vectors, including biting flies, keds, lice, sandflys and ticks have been implicated in the transmission of Bartonella species. Although there is clinical and epidemiological evidence to support tick transmission of B. vinsonii subspecies berkhoffii to dogs and coyotes, the mode of transmission of this Bartonella subsp. to cats and dogs has not been determined. Recent evidence supports tick transmission of B. henselae by Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes ricinus. Considering the diversity of Bartonella species and subspecies, the large number of reservoir hosts and the spectrum of arthropod vectors, the clinical and diagnostic challenges posed by Bartonella transmission in nature may be much more complex than is currently appreciated in human and veterinary medicine.
In the natural reservoir host, such as a cat or rodent, chronic bacteremia with a Bartonella species can frequently be detected by blood cultre or PCR in outwardly healthy individuals.  1-3  In contrast, the diagnostic detection of a Bartonella spp. in a non-reservoir adapted host, such as a dog, horse or human patient, can be extremely difficult. Most, although not all diseases caused by Bartonella spp. occur in accidental hosts and these organisms are being increasingly implicated as a cause of zoonotic infections.  4-8  It is important to recognize that strains of a Bartonella sp. vary in their virulence. Therefore, highly pathogenic strains of B. henselae, for which the cat is the primary reservoir, can induce granulomatous myocarditis in cats, presumably following flea transmission.  Until recently, mechanisms that facilitate persistent Bartonella bacteremia in mammals were not well understood. Recent reports have identified an intra-endothelial, as well as intra-erythrocytic localization for these bacteria, which represents a unique strategy for bacterial persistence. Non-hemolytic intracellular colonization of erythrocytes in conjunction with the ability to invade and replicate within endothelial cells would preserve the organisms for efficient vector transmission, protect Bartonella from the host immune response, and potentially contribute to decreased antimicrobial efficacy. Although the clinical implications are not understood, other in vitro studies indicate that Bartonella spp. can infect dendritic cells, microglial cells, monocytes and CD34+ bone marrow progenitor cells.
CAT SCRATCH DISEASE
For over a century regional lymphadenopathy has been associated with animal contact, particularly cat scratches. Over the years, numerous microorganisms were implicated as the cause of CSD. In 1992, Regnery and colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control, identified seroreactivity to B. henselae antigens in 88% of 41 human patients with suspected CSD compared to 3% of controls.  Subsequently, additional support for B. henselae as the predominant cause of CSD was provided when Bartonella DNA was amplified from lymph node samples of 21 of 25 (84%) patients with suspected
CSD, using a polymerase chain reaction assay. A similar study from Sweden identified B. henselae DNA, but failed to identify A. felis DNA, in a large number of patients with suspected CSD. Prior to the
recognition of B. henselae as the cause of CSD, Afipia felis, named for the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, was considered the sole cause of CSD. Subsequently, we blood cultured B. henselae or B. clarridgeae
from 17 of 19 cats owned by 14 patients with CSD, which indicated that bacteremia is a frequent occurrence in cats that transmit B. henselae
to a human being. 1-2
Historically, atypical manifestations of CSD have included tonsillitis, encephalitis, cerebral arteritis, transverse myelitis, granulomatous hepatitis and/or splenitis, osteolysis, pneumonia, pleural effusion, and thrombocytopenic purpura. With the advent of specific diagnostic techniques, (culture, serology, and PCR), there has been a dramatic increase in reports describing human patients with “atypical” manifestations of CSD. Osteomyelitis, granulomatous hepatitis and granulomatous splenitis have been increasingly recognized in children infected with B. henselae, who frequently lack the classical lymphadenopathy of CSD. Previously, Bartonella infection would not have been considered a likely differential diagnosis by the physician in patients lacking a history of lymphadenopathy or animal contact. As evidenced by reports in the past four years, the spectrum of human disease associated with the genus Bartonella continues to expand, requiring periodic reassessment as new information becomes available. On a comparative medical (“One Health”) basis, our research group has documented many of the same CSD atypical manifestations in cats or dogs, including encephalitis, transverse myelitis, granulomatous hepatitis, osteolysis, pleural effusion, and thrombocytopenic purpura. In this context, a highly prevalent, naturally-occurring human disease (CSD) can be used as a “model” to determine the potential behavior of these bacteria in companion animal patients.
Because cat scratch disease generally denotes a self-limiting illness characterized by fever and lymphadenopathy and because the recognized spectrum of human disease manifestations associated with Bartonella infections (which may not include fever or lymphadenopathy) has expanded considerably in recent years, it is becoming obvious that the designation CSD lacks clinical, microbiologic and zoonotic utility. Although cats are a major reservoir for B. henselae, B. clarridgeiae, and B. koehlerae, some patients deny the possibility of a cat scratch or bite wound, or indicate no contact with cats. Transmission from environmental sources, various arthropod vectors, perinatally or by other animal hosts is probable and the more inclusive term bartonellosis may facilitate enhanced future understanding of diseases caused by members of the genus Bartonella. As physicians have been taught that CSD is self-limiting, there is an ongoing lack of appreciation that B. henselae can cause chronic, asymptomatic or intermittently symptomatic illness, accompanied by persistent bacteremia in people. In this context, the documentation of chronic, relapsing bacteremia in cats, dogs and other animal species provides a “model” for better understanding human bartonellosis.
BARTONELLA ENDOCARDITIS
Endocarditis can be induced by a spectrum of Bartonella species in dogs and human patients and is the best example of documented disease causation for this genus. Historically, Bartonella species have been a cause of culture-negative endocarditis in people and dogs because the diagnostic methods used by microbiology laboratories were not adequate to isolate these bacteria. Now, by using
specialized techniques, a spectrum of Bartonella species have been identified in research and diagnostic laboratories in different parts of the world—in heart valves or in blood cultures from dogs
and people with endocarditis. 3  It is important for physicians and veterinarians to recognize that some of these Bartonella species are found in the blood of cats, dogs, rats, ground squirrels, and rabbits.
ISOLATION AND MOLECULAR DETECTION OF BARTONELLA SPECIES
Because conventional microbiological techniques lack sensitivity, bartonellosis is usually diagnosed by PCR amplification of organism specific DNA sequences and/or through serological testing. Recently, the development of a more sensitive isolation approach, using BAPGM (Bartonella alpha Proteobacteria growth medium) followed by PCR has greatly facilitated the molecular detection or isolation of Bartonella species from the blood of sick or healthy animals, including cats, dogs, horses and human beings. Most importantly, the use of this enrichment growth medium prior to PCR testing has allowed our research group to confirm that immunocompetent human patients, in particular veterinarians and veterinary technicians, can have chronic intravascular infections with Bartonella spp. 4-5 Information relative to this EnrichmentPCRTM testing platform for animal and human patients is available at www.galaxydx.com.
It is increasingly clear that no single diagnostic strategy will confirm infection with a Bartonella sp. in the immunocompetent patient population.  As described in studies from our NCSU laboratory, B. henselae, B. koehlerae and B. vinsonii subsp berkhoffii seroreactivity was found in only 58.6% of the patients in which Bartonella spp. infection was confirmed by EnrichmentPCR TM and sequencing. Therefore, Bartonella serology lacks sensitivity and can only be used to implicate prior exposure to a Bartonella sp. Even when serum from cat scratch disease patients, which is caused by B. henselae, is used in various diagnostic laboratories for IFA testing, test sensitivities have ranged from 14 to 100%.
EVOLVING IMPLICATIONS OF CHRONIC BARTONELLA SPP. BACTEREMIA IN IMMUNOCOMPETENT PEOPLE
Previously, we described B. quintana bacteremia in a woman who was tested following the development of an infected cat bite lesion involving the hand. 6  Two months later, the feral cat that had
induced the bite wound was captured and was also shown to be B. quintana bacteremic. In a cumulative study involving 392 patients with occupational animal contact or extensive arthropod exposure 31.9% were bacteremic with one or more Bartonella spp., when blood, serum and BAPGM enrichment culture PCR results were combined. Although this high prevalence of bacteremia is biased by testing at risk, sick individuals, it clearly demonstrates that intravascular infection with Bartonella sp. is much more common in immunocompetent patients, than was previously suspected. By IFA testing, only 75 out of 128 (58.6%) PCR positive patients were seroreactive to a panel consisting of five Bartonella sp. test antigens.
In a recent study, Bartonella vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii, Bartonella henselae or DNA of both organisms were amplified and sequenced from blood, BAPGM enrichment blood cultures or autopsy tissues from four family members. 7  Historical and microbiological results derived from this family support human perinatal transmission of Bartonella species. To date, there have been a limited number of studies that address the potential impact of intravascular infection with a Bartonella sp. on reproductive performance, however, studies involving experimentally-infected cats, rodents and naturally-infected cows with various Bartonella sp. have identified decreased reproductive performance involving both males and females. The parents of these children had attempted to conceive children for several years prior to resorting to in vitro fertilization.
We have also described a veterinarian, who experienced a needle stick while obtaining a fine needle aspiration sample from a cutaneous histiocytic neoplasm. 8  Subsequently symptoms, including headaches, fatigue and intermittent paresthesias (numbness) developed. This patient seroconverted to B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii genotypes I and III and B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii genotype I DNA was amplified and sequenced from sequentially obtained blood samples, whereas genotype III DNA was amplified from the cytological specimen. All symptoms resolved following antibiotic treatment.
It is increasingly evident that dogs can serve as a source for human infection with B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii. Bartonella vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii genotype II was amplified and sequenced from
a liver biopsy from a patient with epithelioid hemangioendothelioma (soft tissue tumor considered a vascular cancer), after which the organism was isolated by BAPGM blood culture. 9  The unique capability of Bartonella to invade and induce long lasting intraerythrocytic and intraendothelial infections, in conjunction with the ability of at least three Bartonella spp. (Bh, Bq, and B. bacilliformi) to induce VEGF-mediated vasoproliferative disease in immunocompromised or immunocompetent individuals suggests that these novel emerging bacterial pathogens might contribute to the development of vascular tumors.
Bartonella koehlerae bacteremia was documented in eight immunocompetent patients by PCR amplification and DNA sequencing, either prior to or after BAPGM enrichment blood culture.10  Presenting symptoms most often included fatigue, insomnia, joint pain, headache, memory loss, and muscle pain. Four patients were also infected with Bartonella vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii genotype II. Bartonella koehlerae antibodies were not detected (titers<1:16) in 30 healthy human control sera, whereas five of eight patient samples had B. koehlerae antibody titers of 1:64 or greater. Studies are needed to determine if B. koehlerae is a cause or cofactor in the development of arthritis, peripheral neuropathies or tachyarrhythmias in human patients. Co-infection with B. henselae and two hemotropic Mycoplasma variants resembling Mycoplasma obis were also found in the blood of a veterinarian with a historical diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. 11
PUBLIC AND OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS
Due to extensive contact with a spectrum of animal species, veterinary professionals appear to have an occupational risk of infection because of frequent exposure to Bartonella spp., therefore these individuals should exercise increased precautions to avoid arthropod bites, arthropod feces (i.e. fleas and lice), animal bites or scratches and direct contact with bodily fluids from sick animals. As Bartonella spp. have been isolated from cat, dog or human blood, cerebrospinal fluid, joint fluid,aqueous fluid, seroma fluid and from pleural, pericardial and abdominal effusions, a substantial number of diagnostic biological samples collected on a daily basis in veterinary practices could contain viable bacteria.
The increasing number of defined Bartonella spp., in conjunction with the high level of bacteremia found in reservoir adapted hosts, which represent the veterinary patient population, ensures that all veterinary professionals will experience frequent and repeated exposure to animals harboring these bacteria. Therefore, personal protective equipment, frequent hand washing and avoiding cuts and needle sticks have become more important as our knowledge of this genus has improved and various modes of transmission have been defined.
Physicians should be educated as to the large number of Bartonella spp. in nature, the extensive spectrum of animal reservoir hosts, the diversity of confirmed and potential arthropod vectors, current limitations associated with diagnosis and treatment efficacy, and the ecological and evolving medical complexity of these highly evolved intravascular, endotheliotropic bacteria.
REFERENCES
1  Chomel BB, et al. Vet Res 2009;40:29.
2  Breitschwerdt EB, et al. J Vet Emerg Crit Care 2010; 20:8.
3  Chomel BB, et al. Ann N Y Acad Sci 2009;1166:120.
4  Breitschwerdt EB, et al. J Clin Microbiol 2008;46:2856.
5  Breitschwerdt EB, et al. Parasit Vectors 2010;3:29.
6  Breitschwerdt EB, et al. J Clin Microbiol 2007;45:270.
7  Breitschwerdt EB, et al. J Clin Microbiol 2010;48:2289.
8  Oliveira AM et al. J Vet Intern Med 2010;24:1229.
9  Breitschwerdt EB, et al. J Clin Microbio 2009;47:1957.
10 Breitschwerdt EB, et al. Parasit Vectors 2010;3:76.
11 Sykes JE, et al. J Clin Microbiol 2010;48:3782.
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Tularemia: Hunting Dogs as Possible Vectors

http://outbreaknewstoday.com/tularemia-hunting-dogs-possible-vectors-infectious-disease-59510/

Tularemia: Hunting dogs as possible vectors for the infectious disease 

Press Release

January 20, 2018

Tularemia is an infectious bacterial disease that is life-threatening for rodents, rabbits and hares, but which can also infect humans and dogs. While contact with contaminated blood or meat makes hunters a high-risk group, the frequency of infections among hunting dogs has not been much studied. Researchers from Vetmeduni Vienna have now confirmed a relevant prevalence of infections in Austrian hunting dogs following a serological study in which seven percent of the animals tested positive. This could lead to more intense debate as to whether the often asymptomatic animals represent an additional risk of infection for people.

The frequence of Dogs infected with Tularemia pathogens is higher than previously thought. (Photo: Elli Winter/moorhunde.de)
The frequence of Dogs infected with Tularemia pathogens is higher than previously thought. (Photo: Elli Winter/moorhunde.de)

Tularemia, also known as rabbit fever, is an infectious disease that is usually lethal for wild animals such as rabbits, hares and rodents. As a zoonotic disease, however, it also represents a serious health risk for people. Tularemia is caused by various subtypes of the pathogenic bacteria Francisella tularensis, which can be transmitted by biting and stinging insects or directly through contaminated hay, infected blood and other fluids. The raw meat of diseased animals is also associated with a high risk of transmission of the pathogens, which can infect dogs as well as other animals.

Austrian hunting dogs infected more frequently than previously thought

Without secondary disease, however, dogs usually exhibit no or only few symptoms and tend to have a high natural resistance to low levels of the bacteria. As a result, little attention has been paid to dogs in scientific study. Nevertheless, there are theories that canines may act as interim hosts and a further source of infections. Like hunters, dogs can come into direct contact with infected animals (e.g. when retrieving the game). The prevalence of infections among these animals is therefore an important question to be answered.

Scientists from the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology at Vetmeduni Vienna for the first time investigated blood samples from 80 Austrian hunting dogs from rural areas known to be endemic for tularemia.

“After two independent analyses, five dogs clearly tested positive,” says first author Annika Posautz.

The study thus showed that dogs in those areas of Austria in which rabbit fever is endemic, i.e. in which it regularly occurs, show a more frequent rate of infection.

Risk of transmission from infected dogs possible, but not confirmed

“The frequency of about seven percent shows that hunting dogs can also become infected regularly. As vectors of the disease, even without symptoms, the animals must also be considered unexpected carriers,” Posautz adds.

Clear scientific evidence is still missing, however, the researchers say. Other factors, such as age – young dogs could come into more frequent contact with game for training purposes – or the question whether dogs represent a potential source of infection for people, must be addressed in future studies.

The blood samples were tested using two different agglutination tests to detect antigens on the surface of the bacteria or antibodies produced by the immune system. “Agglutination works by specifically clumping these proteins to make them visible under the microscope. In the case of suspected tularemia, more than one of these tests is necessary due to the possibility of cross-reactivity with other pathogens. If all tests are positive, the disease can be confirmed without a doubt. This was the case with five animals,” the researcher says.

Related: 

Canna-Pet

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**Comment**

I purposely left the “related” section at the bottom as a clear reminder that Tularemia has been bioweaponized.  This isn’t theoretical, it’s fact.

For more:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/10/25/of-rabbits-and-men/

Tularemia, brucella, certain Rickettsia’s, numerous viruses, some chlamydia’s, and of course mycoplasma have all been weaponized.

Regarding the weaponization of tick pathogens: https://www.lymedisease.org/lymepolicywonk-questioning-governments-role-lyme-disease-make-conspiracy-theorist/

Some state Lyme (borrelia) has also been bioweaponized:

For a lengthy but informative read on the Lyme-Biowarfare connections: CitizensAlert_Bob13 (Scroll to page 44 to see an executive summary. Please notice the names of Steere, Barbour, Shapiro, Klempner, and Wormser, the first four are affiliated with the CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS). Wormser, lead author of the fraudulent Lyme treatment guidelines, lectures as an expert on biowarefare agents and treatments).

Everyone keeps yammering about climate change despite the fact ticks are extremely ecoadaptive but nobody is talking about ticks tweaked in a lab with bioweaponized pathogens.

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/02/27/tularemia-infected-ticks-found-on-sorrento-valley-trail-in-ca/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/03/07/hantavirus-tularemia-warnings-issued-in-san-diego-county/

Can These Essential Oils Help Lyme Patients Overcome Chronic Candida?

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/can-essential-oils-help-lyme-disease-patients-overcome-greg-lee/

Can These Essential Oils Help Lyme Disease Patients Overcome Chronic Candida Infections?

By Greg Lee Published on

FREE-Sample-of-Essential-Oils

photo credit:  freebiesdip.com

For people diagnosed with Lyme disease that have persistent Candida infections

Have you ever been frustrated by a really slow computer? A month ago, I was making a video and it took f-o-r-e-v-e-r to edit the final version. The computer was being choked by a group of programs called “Bloatware.” These programs ate up huge amounts of disk space and processing which turned my computer into a slow moving tortoise.

How is Bloatware that slows down your computer similar to recurring Candida infections in people also diagnosed with Lyme disease?

Just like Bloatware, Candida can slow you down by eating up your valuable energy and increasing inflammation

According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Candida lives on the skin and in the digestive tract without normally causing symptoms. Candida can cause local infections in the mouth, throat, esophagus and in the vagina. Candida can also cause systemic infections which affect the blood, heart, brain, eyes, bones, and other parts of the body1. Symptoms found in persistent Candida infections can include leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome2, chronic fatigue3, arthritis4, clinical depression5, cerebral abscesses6, neck stiffness, seizures7, fever, chills, weakness, and death8. An immune system weakened by Lyme disease may make people more vulnerable to Candida infections.

Lyme disease patients may be more susceptible to recurring Candida infections 

A Lyme disease infection may weaken the immune system and make people more susceptible to opportunistic Candida infections9. Also, many Lyme patients receive prolonged antibiotic therapy which can kill off healthy gut microbes and can lead to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), leaky gut and Candida overgrowth10. Another theory for chronic Candida in Lyme patients is an inability to produce the necessary inflammatory compounds for eliminating yeast infections.

Chronic Candida infection patients may not be able to produce important anti-fungal inflammatory compounds

In a UK study on chronic Candida infection patients, Interleukin-2 (IL-2), Interleukin-12 (IL-12) production was significantly lower and Interleukin-6 (IL-6) production was much higher11. The study indicates that Candida patients over produce IL-6 which can lead to decreased IL-12. Lower IL-12 is correlated with the inability to clear fungal infections. Patients with gastrointestinal Candida have higher levels of Interleukin-17 (IL-17) which promotes fungal colonization12. Not only Candida, but also Lyme infections can lead to excess inflammation production.

Excess inflammatory compounds may also prevent clearing of Lyme as well as Candida

Increased IL-6 leading to decreased levels of IL-12 may enable Lyme and Candida infections to persist. In neurological Lyme patients, higher levels of inflammatory compounds including IL-6, IL-2, Interleukin-5 (IL-5), Interleukin-10 (IL-10), and CXCL13 were found in spinal fluid13. In a Borrelia infected mice study, decreased IL-12 lead to decreased arthritis and increased levels of Lyme disease in tissues14. In another study, increased IL-17 led to the development of destructive arthritis in mice infected with Borrelia15. Drug resistant strains of Candida may also lead to persistent yeast infections in Lyme patients.

Candida can persist despite multiple anti-fungal medications

In the US and Canada, multi-drug resistant strains of Candida have been found in immune compromised patients16. Candida can also produce a protective slime called a “biofilm” which may make infections up to 1000x more drug resistant17. As a result of resistant and biofilm forms of Candida, Lyme patients undergoing antibiotic therapy may experience recurring Candida infections.

Are there natural remedies that can help to reduce recurring symptoms by targeting antibiotic resistant and biofilm forms of Candida?

Fortunately, there are five essential oils that have been effective against drug resistant and biofilm forms of Candida

In a multiple studies, essential oils were effective at inhibiting drug resistant forms of Candida than anti-fungal medications. Other essential oils were highly effective at reducing Candida biofilms. Many of these essential oils have been used safely for years in our food supply18 and to help patients with Candida and Lyme disease to reduce relapsing symptoms. Microparticle “liposome” essential oils have greater penetration into organs and tissues in animal and lab studies19.

Anti-Drug Resistant Candida Essential Oil #1: Clove Bud

Clove bud essential oil demonstrated considerable anti-fungal properties against Fluconazole-resistant strains of Candida in one lab study20. In another study, clove bud exhibited anti-biofilm activity against Candida species biofilms21. In another lab study, clove bud inhibited IL-6, interleukin-1beta (IL-1β), and IL-1022.

Clove bud essential oil eradicated all Lyme disease persister cells and dissolved biofilms in a lab study23. In multiple animal and lab studies, clove bud oil has also been effective against biofilms produced by Staphylococcus aureus24, E. Coli25, and Aeromonas hydrophila26. In multiple lab studies, clove oil inhibits Salmonella typhimurium, E. coli, B. cereus, Listeria innocua, Morganella morganii, Listeria monocytogenes, Enterobacteriaceae, S. aureus, and Pseudomonas species27. This oil also posses potent anti-fungal properties against Aspergillus flavus28.

Clove bud oil use is cautioned in pregnancy. This oil has anti-coagulant properties and is cautioned with the use of diabetic medications, anticoagulant medications, after major surgery, peptic ulcer, hemophilia, and other bleeding disorders. It may interact with pethidine, MAOIs or SSRIs. It is also cautioned against using this oil on diseased or damaged, or hypersensitive skin, and with children under 2 years old This oil has US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status29. Similar to clove bud oil, tea tree has excellent anti-Candida properties.

Anti-Drug Resistant Candida Essential Oil #2: Tea Tree

In lab studies, tea tree oil inhibited drug resistant Candida strains30 and was effective at inhibiting biofilm growth31. Tea tree oil was also effective against Staphylococcus epidermidis, Escherichia coli, Saccharomyces cerevisiae32, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and its biofilm,33 Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus flavus34, Aspergillus fumigatus, Penicillium chrysogenum35, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Mycoplasma hominis and Mycoplasma fermentans36, group A streptococcus37, Fusarium graminearum, Fusarium culmorum, Pyrenophora graminea38, Alternaria alternata, Botrytis cinerea and Fusarium oxysporum39 in lab and animal studies.

In an endotoxin lab study, tea tree essential oil was effective at lowering inflammatory compounds IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-1040. In another lab study, tea tree oil decreased IL-2 and increased anti-inflammatory compound IL-441. Caution: some cases have been reported where tea tree oil caused allergic dermatitis when placed on the skin42. In five cases, high doses of this oil internally, 0.5-1.0 ml/kg, have produced central nervous system symptoms of loss of coordination, drowsiness, unconsciousness, diarrhea, and abdominal pain43. Just like tea tree, geranium essential oil has multiple anti-Candida properties.

Anti-Drug Resistant Candida Essential Oil #3: Geranium

In multiple lab studies, geranium oil inhibited Fluconazole resistant Candida strains44 and inhibited multiple Candida species biofilms45. Geranium oil was also effective at significantly decreasing inflammatory compounds IL-6, IL-10, IL-2 and COX-2 levels when exposed to Candida proteins in another lab study46. In a mouse study, this oil inhibited the degranulation of mast cells47.

The use of geranium oil is cautioned with diabetes medications, drugs metabolized by CYP2B6, and has a low risk of skin sensitization48. Just like geranium, savory reduced resistant forms of Candida.

Anti-Drug Resistant Candida Essential Oil #4: Savory

Due to their compositional similarity, winter and summer savory essential oils are grouped together here. In one lab study, winter savory essential oil was highly effective at inhibiting drug resistant strains of Candida glabrata49. In another lab study, summer savory essential oil demonstrated substantial anti-fungal activity against Candida albicans and it’s biofilms50.

Since these oils may inhibit blood clotting; use is cautioned with anticoagulant medications, major surgery, peptic ulcer, hemophilia, other bleeding disorders. Use is also cautioned with diabetic medications, use on mucous membranes due to a moderate risk of irritation and use on hypersensitive, diseased or damaged skin due to a low risk of skin irritation. Use is also cautioned in children under 2 years of age51. Similar to savory, lemon has demonstrated anti-Candida properties.

Anti-Drug Resistant Candida Essential Oil #5: Lemon

In lab studies, lemon essential oil was effective at inhibiting drug-resistant Candida species52. This oil was also 100% effective at reducing a mixed species Candida albicans and E. Coli biofilm53. If applied to the skin, skin must not be exposed to sunlight or sunbed rays for 12 hours54. These essential oils in combination may help to reduce relapsing symptoms caused by drug resistant and biofilm forms of Candida in patients with Lyme disease.

Essential oils may help to reduce recurring symptoms caused by antifungal resistant and biofilm forms of Candida

Similar to deleting the Bloatware off your computer to speed it up, a powerful combination of essential oils may help you to overcome energy draining and relapsing symptoms caused by drug resistant and biofilm forms of Candida. Formulating these remedies into microparticle liposomes may enhance the stability and extend the anti-fungal activity of these essential oils. Since these essential oils have cautions and contraindications on their use, work with a Lyme literate essential oil practitioner to develop a proper, safe, and effective strategy for your condition.

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/01/03/the-invisible-universe-of-the-human-microbiome-msm/

“Recitas, author of ‘The Plan,’ calls MSM the wonder supplement for your gut. It can alleviate allergy symptoms, helps with detoxification, eliminates free radicals, and improves cell permeability. She states that with given time, MSM will start to actually repair damage caused by leaky gut – a common problem with Lyme/MSIDS patients. It can also help the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. Many Lyme patients struggle with paralysis of the gut where the muscles of the stomach and intestines stop being efficient. MSM helps this muscle tone as well.”

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/05/15/overview-of-anti-inflammatory-diets/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/05/20/minding-your-mitochondria/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/04/18/comparative-diets-to-address-chronic-inflammation/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where Ticks Are and What They Carry – Science Conversation With Dr. Cameron

http://danielcameronmd.com/lyme-disease-science-conversation-ticks-diseases-they-carry/  Approx. 50 Min

Dr. Daniel Cameron, a leading Lyme disease expert, discusses where are the ticks and what are the diseases they carry.

________________

**Comment**

The word is finally getting out.  TICKS ARE EVERYWHERE!

Beaches:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/06/07/ticks-on-beaches/

Rocks and picnic benches:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/03/13/ticks-found-on-rocks/

Caves:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/04/23/tick-borne-relapsing-fever-found-in-austin-texas-caves/, and https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/10/27/israeli-kids-get-lyme-disease-from-ticks-in-caves/

Birds:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/08/17/of-birds-and-ticks/

California:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/05/19/infected-ticks-in-california-its-complicated/

In the South:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/05/31/no-lyme-in-the-south-guess-again/, and https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/10/06/remembering-dr-masters-the-rebel-for-lyme-patients-who-took-on-the-cdc-single-handedly/, and https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/03/02/hold-the-press-arkansas-has-lyme/

Southern Hemisphere:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/02/06/lyme-in-the-southern-hemisphere-sexual-transmission/

Australia:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/11/03/ld-not-in-australia-here-we-go-again/

And everywhere else…..

Remember, there are 300 strains and counting of Borrelia worldwide and 100 strains and counting in the U.S.  Current CDC two-tiered testing tests for ONE strain!  Do the math….

For more:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/05/27/study-conforms-permethrin-causes-ticks-to-drop-off-clothing/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/06/06/mc-bugg-z/

 

 

 

 

Heart Problems & Tick Borne Disease

Recently some articles have come out on Heart issues with Tick Borne Disease (TBD).  Most talk about Lyme; however, as you will see – there are many other players.

http://davidjernigan.blogspot.com/2015/05/functional-heart-problems-and-lyme.html  The Hansa Center in their blog states that a common symptom of chronic Lyme is Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome or POTS.  POTS can cause headaches, lightheadedness, heart palpitations, fatigue, shaking, fainting, cold or pain in extremities, chest pain, shortness of breath, and even nausea.  Evidently, POTS can be caused by Lyme Endocarditis.

For an excellent read on Lyme Carditis, please see:  https://www.bayarealyme.org/blog/lyme-carditis-why-early-diagnosis-is-critical/  In a nutshell, it’s inflammation caused by an infection such as Lyme, viruses, and other pathogens.  This inflammation messes up electrical signal conduction and can cause AV block, a serious oxygen depriving condition, hence all the symptoms listed above.  Lyme Carditis is the more general term but it can be in any part of the heart: myocardium, pericardium, endocardium, cardiac muscle, valves, and aorta.  The good news is it can usually be reversed with appropriate treatment.  Sometimes a pacemaker is also needed.  The article states about 4-10% of people with TBD develop this.

CDC Expert Commentary by Joseph D Forrester, MD, MSc

Forrester states Lyme Carditis is “rare,” but even 4-10% of patients is a chunk of people.  PEOPLE HAVE DIED FROM THIS and even the CDC reported 3 cases of sudden cardiac death between Nov 2012 & July 2013 among patients with unrecognized Lyme carditis.  If one person died from Zika there would be a media blitz.  

https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/rare-but-serious-complication-of-lyme-disease-can-attack-the-heart-doctor-1.3952476  Recently a heart specialist in Ontario is warning doctors to be on the look out for Lyme carditis.  Dr. Baranchuk points out that numerous people with heart symptoms were admitted to the ER two to three times before anyone considered Lyme carditis.  He also states many don’t get the bullseye rash or notice vague symptoms of fever and muscle aches.

https://www.ctvnews.ca/mobile/video?clipId=1406334  CTV News Video

Baranchuk wrote a paper http://www.cmaj.ca/content/190/20/E622 advising doctors to treat young patients with strange heart problems with antibiotics while waiting for results of Lyme blood tests.

He states: “These patients may not require pacemakers to be implanted. They can be treated with IV antibiotics for 10 to 12 days and the electricity of the heart will recover completely forever,” he said.

Interestingly the title of the article by CTV News states, “Rare but serious complication of LD….” and yet they even quote Baranchuk saying,

“We have the suspicion that there are way more cases than are reported, because doctors are failing to report it,” he said.

That’s kind of a big deal.

QUIT SAYING THE WORD RARE IN YOUR REPORTING ON TBD.

Then there’s the story of Dr. Neil Spector, an oncologist who rubbed shoulders with experts and the best that medical care can offer and yet, due to doctors with heads in the sand suffered for years with bizarre and frustrating heart symptoms until he nearly crossed over to the other side. (He was told it couldn’t be Lyme as he lived in Florida.  The doctors were happy to diagnose him over the phone but ALL stated unequivocally he did NOT have Lyme!) After a heart transplant, Spector is speaking out about Lyme Disease and has even written the book, Gone in a heartbeat – A Physician’s Search for True Healing.  For a great review of the book:  https://www.lymedisease.org/when-lyme-disease-affects-the-heart/

Lyme and carditis:

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/06/10/lyme-carditis-with-complete-heart-block/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/06/07/early-onset-lyme-carditis-concurrent-disseminated-erythema-migrans/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/02/22/new-lyme-cme-course-available-lyme-carditis-more-than-blocked-beats/  Course for doctors to become educated.

But Lyme (Bb) isn’t the only culprit.

Similar to inflammation caused by Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb), inflammation can be caused by many bacteria and viruses:  https://www.myocarditisfoundation.org/research-and-grants/faqs/causes-of-myocarditis/

Most common viruses causing carditis:

  • Parvovirus B19
  • Human Herpes Virus 6
  • Enterovirus (Coxsackie Virus)
  • (Research needed.  Tons of viruses involved with TBD)

Most common bacteria causing carditis:

  • Corynebacterium diptheriae
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • (Research needed.  Tons of bacteria involved with TBD)

Most common parasites causing carditis:

  • Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Ehrlichia species
  • Babesia species
  • Trypanosoma cruzi (Chagas Disease)
  • Bartonella (My addition due to the following…..)
  • (Research needed.  Tons of parasites involved with TBD)

I added Bartonella to the list due to the following (add it up, it isn’t rare):

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6010976/  Five cases of infective endocarditis associated with Bartonella henselae.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9196420  Two cases of Bartonella Carditis.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11496560 One case.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5942242/ Four cases.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8849149 22 cases – 13 that had undetermined Bartonella species.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16762254  A total of 6 cases reported in Spain.  Conclusion states it is likely to be underestimated and to suspect it with negative blood cultures, history of chronic alcoholism, the homeless, and those in contact with cats or bitten by fleas or lice, as well as patients with endocarditis and positive serology against Chlamydia spp.  This abstract, written in 2006 wouldn’t have considered that ticks carry a Chlamydia-like organisms (CLO):  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/10/07/chlamydia-like-organisms-found-in-ticks/  These results suggest that CLO DNA is present in human skin; ticks carry CLOs and could potentially transmit CLOs to humans.  Two other studies have come to the same conclusion: that there exists a high prevalence and diversity of Chlamydiales DNA in ticks and the very real possibility of human infection. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24698831 and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26386066
All of this continues to demonstrate why Lyme Disease isn’t typically just Lyme Disease but MSIDS, multi systemic infectious disease syndrome, a literal menagerie of pathogens invading the human host making our cases extremely complex and difficult.

Bartonella and carditis:

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/01/04/endocarditis-consider-bartonella/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/05/11/bartonella-henselae-in-children-with-congenital-heart-disease/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/02/07/finally-rt-pcr-detected-bartonella-henselae-dna-on-tissue-valve/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/05/20/bartonella-endocarditis-opportunistic-infection-in-cancer-patients-and-eye-inflammation/

Babesia and carditis:

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/02/20/babesia-and-heart-issues/

Mycoplasma, Chlamydia, Bb and carditis:

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/04/04/correlation-of-natural-autoantibodies-heart-disease-related-antibacterial-antibodies-in-pericardial-fluid-mycoplasma-bb-chlamydia/  Mycoplasma pneumoniae antibody positive patients had significantly higher anti-CS IgM levels. In CABG patients we found a correlation between anti-CS IgG levels and Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia pneumoniae and Borrelia burgdorferi antibody titers. Our results provide the first evidence that natural autoantibodies are present in the PF and they show significant correlation with certain antibacterial antibody titers in a disease specific manner.

Hopefully by now it’s clear that carditis caused by TBD’s is not even close to rare.  It should also be painfully clear that we are truly in the dark ages on this and that much work needs to be done – and quickly.

Ending on a personal note, I had these bizarre heart symptoms early in my journey.  To say they were frightening would be an understatement.  I would wake in the middle of the night with my heart flopping like a fish out of water.  It felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest and my biceps were often numb.  I gasped for air as well.

Upon my first dose of Mepron, Artemisinin, and an intracellular antibiotic, I felt as if I was having a heart attack.  Thankfully we pulsed the artemisinin as that allowed the frightening herxes to dissipate some.  Due to my response to these drugs my guess is Babesia was the culprit.  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/01/16/babesia-treatment/  We treated Babesia for an entire year as it’s a notoriously persistent pathogen.  It’s important to hit it hard and long as it’s been known to build resistance to drugs.

There has been debate among some as to the effectiveness of Artemisinin and I do feel quality matters.  I’m a huge fan of this kind:  https://www.allergyresearchgroup.com/quality-artemisinin.  And no, I’m not affiliated with them in any way.  BTW:  We used 500mg morning and night MWF.  It makes your mouth taste metallic.

Do not mess around with heart symptoms.  Be a clanging gong until someone takes you seriously and feel free to copy this article and take it to your doctors.  They need to be educated and We the People are up to bat.

Lastly, please remember all the testing for ALL TBD is horrible.  You need a doctor who will diagnose and treat you clinically.  Your reaction to the medication is important to track as it will alert your doctor to what you are dealing with based on symptoms:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2015/08/15/herxheimer-die-off-reaction-explained/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/06/28/jarisch-herxheimer-a-review/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/11/03/first-report-of-bartonella-quintana-immune-reconstitution-inflammatory-syndrome-complicated-by-jarisch-herxheimer-reaction/

Let’s suffice it to say, heart problems with tick borne illness is NOT rare.

 

 

Neurological Lyme Disease: What You Need to Know

https://rawlsmd.com/health-articles/neurological-lyme-disease-what-you-need-to-know?Neurological Lyme Disease: What You Need to Know

Neurological Lyme Disease: What You Need to Know

by Dr. Bill Rawls
Posted 4/20/18

Lyme disease can manifest in a seemingly endless number of ways. While the spectrum of symptoms is similar for most sufferers, the worst of the bunch varies from person to person. And for those who have a predominance of neurological symptoms, the disease can feel especially debilitating and difficult to overcome.

That’s in large part because neurological Lyme — also referred to as Lyme neuroborreliosis (LNB) — is often confused with other serious neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease, which can be scary and overwhelming. And because most doctors lack an understanding of Lyme disease in general, and especially of Lyme associated with a predominance of neurological symptoms, LNB often goes unrecognized.

So how to know if the symptoms you’re experiencing do signify LNB, and where do you go from there to find relief? Keep reading for information that could provide the turning point in your recovery.

Understanding Symptoms of Neurological Lyme

Lyme neuroborreliosis is thought to occur in about 15% of Lyme disease cases — but a definite percentage is impossible to pin down. Everyone with Lyme disease experiences some neurological symptoms, but a specific composit of symptoms that constitute neurological Lyme is not well defined. Making matters worse, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), does not recognize LNB as a separate entity, and it doesn’t acknowledge the existence of a chronic form of Lyme disease.

The most common initial symptom is neurogenic (nerve) pain that starts in the back and radiates down the legs. With that comes weakness, numbness, and tingling in the lower extremities.

Another common presenting symptom of LNB is facial nerve palsy (Bell’s palsy), which is characterized by temporary paralysis on one side of the face. Some people also experience sound sensitivity and discomfort in the ear on the paralyzed side, and if you’re unable to close that eye, dry eye can occur. Most people recover fully from Bell’s palsy, with improvement in the first few weeks and continuing for three to six months, but a minority of people have symptoms for life.

The transition from acute to chronic neurological symptoms is not well defined, and it varies widely from person to person. Many people don’t remember a tick bite and experience minimal acute symptoms. The range of symptoms includes both motor and sensory nerve deficits. On the list: headache, memory loss, brain fog, cognitive impairment, learning disability, anxiety, depression, limb pain, muscle weakness, and paresthesias (sensory loss and odd sensations on the skin).

Symptoms of LNB are thought to occur from infiltration of white blood cells — immune cells like lymphocytes and plasmocytes — into the white matter of the brain and the spinal cord, otherwise known as the central nervous system (CNS). This is associated with an increase in inflammatory immune messengers, called cytokines, in cerebrospinal fluid.

Loss of sensory and motor nerve function is thought to be related to demyelination of nerve fibers. Found in the brain and peripheral nervous system, nerve fibers are coated with a fatty substance called myelin. Myelin acts much like the plastic coating on a copper wire: it wraps around nerve fibers, thus preventing the nerve fibers from touching each other and “shorting out” when an electrical current passes through. If demyelination is severe enough, it can result in abnormal nerve conduction tests, similar to multiple sclerosis.

Treatment for neurological Lyme is highly controversial. The CDC recommends antibiotic therapy using doxycycline, cefuroxime, or amoxicillin, limited to 10-21 days for formally diagnosed Lyme disease only. Remember, they don’t define LNB as separate from Lyme disease, and so specific treatment recommendations are not provided. Notably, the CDC website also cites numerous scientific articles showing that long-term antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease is not efficacious.

Among physicians who do recognize and treat LNB, there is no absolute consensus on therapy. Some physicians recommend 1-3 months of combined intravenous antibiotic therapy, and some continue to treat patients as long as symptoms are present. Confusing matters more, some studies that suggest oral antibiotic therapy is as efficacious as intravenous antibiotics, but long term follow up for any therapy is limited.

Central to the confusion is the fact that understanding of LNB and Lyme disease in general is clouded by reductionist science — studying one variable in a vacuum, while ignoring all other potential influencing variables. The variable in this case: the microbe Borrelia burgdorferi, the primary pathogen behind Lyme.

An Alternative View of Neurological Lyme

Anyone struggling with Lyme knows that the disease isn’t caused by borrelia alone. Indeed, having coinfections with microbes other than borrelia is more common than not. The most common coinfections include mycoplasma, bartonella, chlamydia, babesia, anaplasma, ehrlichia, and rickettsia. And all of these pathogens have the potential to cause neuroinflammatory symptoms that are characteristic of LNB.

Though all of these microbes can be transmitted by ticks, they can also be transmitted by other routes. For instance, bartonella is most commonly spread by scratches and bites from dogs and cats. Babesia can be transmitted by ticks and mosquitos. And mycoplasma and chlamydia are most commonly spread by respiratory or sexual route.

Often called stealth microbes, these microbes share similar characteristics:

  • They often don’t cause significant symptoms at initial infection.
  • They infect white blood cells and quietly spread to all tissues throughout the body, including brain and nerve tissues.
  • They are able to generate inflammation to break down tissues and gain access to nutrients.
  • They are masters at manipulating the immune system.
  • They grow very slowly.
  • They occur in low concentrations in the body, allowing them to blend in with other microbes.

The stealth microbes we know about may be just scratching the surface — science uncovers new ones on a regular basis. Ticks and other biting insects can spread an enormous variety of microbes beyond the classic coinfections. Microbes can also be spread by oral routes, inhalation, intimate contact with other people, breaks in skin, and blood transfusions or contact with contaminated blood.

Some of these microbes are more concerning than others, but if your immune system functions are strong, you’ll never know they’re there. In other words, the chances that you’ve encountered and picked up a variety of stealth-type microbes at some point in your life are much higher than you might think. And you’ve likely carried them without even knowing it, because they can remain dormant in tissues for years without causing harm.

This is true even with borrelia: People suffering from chronic Lyme disease typically don’t become chronically ill immediately after a tick bite. Onset of illness can happen months or even years later — it is typically surrounded by a perfect storm of stress factors that come together to disrupt immune system functions.

I’ve often related it to a pot boiling over on the stove. If immune system functions are healthy, microbes can be present in tissues, but suppressed and not causing symptoms — the equivalent of a pot of water on the stove being kept at a low simmer. But if immune system functions become disrupted, the pot of water starts to boil.

Immune disruption is most often caused by a combination of chronic stress factors such as poor diet, exposure to toxic substances like mold toxins, and emotional or physical stress. Sometimes, the tipping point is the infection caused by microbes that are acquired from a tick bite. But most often, the microbes are already present in the host, and they only become ill when other stress factors accumulate in their lives.

No matter what the initiating cause, however, when the pot reaches a full boil, it’s no longer an infection with one microbe or even a few microbes. Instead, it’s a disruption of the entire microbiome.

Once microbes start becoming active, inflammation increases and immune functions are further compromised, establishing what I call Chronic Immune Dysfunction (CID). In its weakened state, the immune system allows reactivation of viruses such as Epstein Barr virus (EBV), Cytomegalovirus (CMV), and other similar viruses — all of which most people harbor in their tissues. These viruses are commonly associated with neuroinflammation, and they tend to complicate the picture of LNB.

Chronic Immune Dysfunction also allows opportunistic pathogens to flourish in the gut and elsewhere in the body. The inflammation they generate compromises the gut barrier, allowing microbes along with foreign proteins from food to pass into the bloodstream. This heightens systemic inflammation and can compromise the blood brain barrier, allowing microbes to pass into the brain and nervous system.

Making Connections to Clarify Diagnosis

Chronic Lyme disease shares many symptoms with other chronic illnesses. This is especially true of Lyme neuroborreliosis and chronic neuroinflammatory illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, and traumatic brain injury.

Not surprisingly, new sophisticated methods of microbial detection are showing potential links between these neuroinflammatory illnesses and many of the microbes associated with chronic Lyme disease.

For instance, both mycoplasma and chlamydia have been closely linked to multiple sclerosis. Mycoplasma, borrelia, and chlamydia have been associated with demyelination. Parkinson’s and ALS have been linked to borrelia and other microbes commonly associated with Lyme disease. Borrelia and other stealth pathogens have been found in the brains of patients who died of Alzheimer’s disease.

The connections go well beyond Lyme disease microbes. Two recent studies are shedding new light on how closely disruptions in the microbiome are linked to neuroinflammation. One, published in Frontiers of Aging Neuroscience, evaluated the presence of microbes in the autopsied brains of deceased Alzheimer’s patients. The other, published in Scientific Reports, evaluated the presence of microbes in the autopsied brains of people who had died of multiple sclerosis.

Both studies used a new type of microbial testing called 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing, which enabled scientists to separate human cells from microbial ones, and positively identify microbes. They found that not only were microbes present in diseased brains in both studies, but the magnitude of their presence was astounding: The entire microbiome, with a full spectrum of microbes from the gut, mouth, and skin, were represented.

Equally interesting, the control brains from people who had died of other causes also had a full spectrum of microbes present. The main difference? Diseased brains had a much higher concentration of microbes, and a greater prevalence of microbes with higher potential to cause inflammation.

I believe these studies are landmark, because they illustrate the close ties between disruption of the microbiome and chronic neuroinflammatory illnesses. Considered in this light, they also highlight the potential connection between Lyme neuroborreliosis and other neuroinflammatory diseases. This would suggest that Chronic Immune Dysfunction is central to the equation, allowing opportunistic pathogens of many varieties (not just those from ticks) to flourish, cause system inflammation, and create a vicious cycle of unending misery.

Ultimately, the type of illness a person might end up with depends on three key things: how the immune-disrupting factors come together; the types of pathogens they accumulated through life; and genetics (some people are more genetically at risk than others for these types of illnesses). Therefore, targeting individual microbes with antibiotic therapy alone is unlikely to restore normal health.

So what does restore well-being? Therapy that comprehensively addresses chronic immune dysfunction and widespread disruption of the microbiome.

How to Recover from Neurological Lyme

When you’re suffering from debilitating symptoms of neurological Lyme, it’s tempting to seek out medications that promise fast relief. Unfortunately, the place for drug therapy in chronic neuroinflammatory illnesses is limited. In fact, because neuroinflammation is so complex, targeted synthetic drug therapy often disrupts the healing process.

Many medications suppress or disrupt immune system functions and inhibit deep sleep, which is absolutely essential for recovery. Anti-inflammatory drugs, including steroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents like ibuprofen and naproxen, disrupt immune functions and inhibit healing.

These drugs have also been shown to inhibit clearance of beta amyloid, a proteinaceous substance associated with neuroinflammatory disorders that is the hallmark identifying factor of Alzheimer’s disease. Though short-term use of antibiotic therapy has shown limited benefit in some cases of dementia and MS, tolerance to therapy and relapse are inevitable with long term use of synthetic antibiotics.

This makes sense when you consider that LNB and other neuroinflammatory conditions are primarily associated with disruptions in the balance of the entire microbiome and chronic immune dysfunction — as opposed to infections with specific pathogens. So while antibiotics initially suppress microbes in general, with extended use, pathogens arise in the gut and skin, gut and brain barriers are further compromised, and immune functions are further depressed, thus enhancing illness.

Instead, to overcome Lyme neuroborreliosis, you must approach it like you would another neuroinflammatory condition. The key components of recovery from any type of neuroinflammatory condition include:

  • Reducing both systemic and nervous system inflammation
  • Promoting optimal blood flow and vascular function
  • Restorating normal sleep
  • Supporting the immune system and restoring homeostasis
  • Enhancing healing and restoration of normal gut and brain barriers
  • Restoring balance to the microbiome of the gut and the entire body

That might sound like a lot, but in fact, finding lasting relief from neurological Lyme calls for a more measured, lifestyle approach — one that’s supportive of your immune system so that you’re enabling your body to fight its own battles. Here, the five steps for putting this approach into motion.

1. Nourish your body

Optimal nourishment is essential for reducing neuroinflammation. An anti-inflammatory diet is especially rich in fresh vegetables, healthful fats, and anti-inflammatory protein sources:

  • Vegetables provide essential nutrients and antioxidants for healing, and fiber for balancing the gut microbiome.
  • Healthy fats reduce brain inflammation. These include the monounsaturated fatty acids in natural sources like olive oil and avocados, and omega-3 fatty acids from fish.
  • Inflammatory foods, such as food products derived from corn and wheat, and corn-fed beef and pork, should be strictly avoided.
  • Optimal sources of protein include fish, eggs, and poultry. Eggs in particular are rich in choline and other essential brain nutrients. If you’re seeking vegan protein sources, quinoa, peas, and hemp are good alternatives.
  • Following a strict ketogenic diet has been shown to benefit recovery from neuroinflammatory conditions. That means keeping your carbohydrate intake low enough to cause brain cells and other tissues to switch from burning glucose to burning ketones. Admittedly, however, strict ketogenic diets are challenging to stick to consistently.

Beyond eating fresh fish regularly, supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids has been widely studied for reducing inflammation in both acute and chronic neuroinflammatory illnessKrill oil and fish oil are optimal sources of the DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids necessary for brain health. To determine your optimal dosing levels, consider doing periodic blood testing for omega fatty acid balance; test kits can be bought online for approximately $100.

Herbs are ideal for reducing systemic and neuroinflammation. They work by balancing your immune response instead of suppressing it, and directly inhibit tissue inflammation in the brain and nervous system. Anti-inflammatory herbs also promote optimal blood flow to the brain and tissues by enhancing vascular system function. Some of the best choices include turmeric, boswellia, resveratrol from Japanese knotweed, and French maritime pine bark.

Cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid found in the hemp variety of cannabis, has shown great promise for reducing neuroinflammation and calming nerve irritability, reducing pain, enhancing mood, and promoting normal sleep. Cannabinoids also balance immune functions.

CBD from hemp is legal in all fifty states and can be shipped across state lines. It does not contain THC, the psychoactive substance in marijuana. CBD oil is the optimal form for delivery and absorption. Average dose is 20-50mg of CBD with mixed cannabinoids; look for products with 1500 mg per fluid oz.

Finally, essential oils are excellent for reducing brain inflammation. They contain primarily fat soluble phytochemicals of herbs — ideal for penetrating brain and nerve tissue, which is 60% fat. Good essential oil choices for neuroinflammation include rosemary, oregano, frankincense, lavender, and lemon balm — the latter three also support normal sleep. Aromatherapy (olfactory delivery) is the most direct way to administer the phytochemicals of essential oils to the brain and nervous system.

2. Purify your system of toxins

A toxic environment impedes recovery from any illness. And unfortunately, chronic systemic inflammation and neurological inflammation can compromise detoxification and waste removal processes in the brain and body even further.

Toxic substances can enter the body by three routes — oral, respiration, and skin — so step one is minimizing the inflow. To reduce oral toxins, avoid processed food products, and eat a fresh, whole food diet weighted toward vegetables (the fiber in veggies enhances detoxification). Clean water is also key, and is as simple as installing a water filter.

Regularly changing your HVAC air filters and placing free-standing HEPA filters in rooms where you spend the majority of your time can go a long way toward improving indoor air quality. Breathing fresh air in natural places as often as possible can also promote healing.

As for your skin, adopting a practice of using only natural skin care products allows you to avoid a surprising number of toxic substances commonly found in commercial skin care products. The same goes for household cleaning supplies. The Environmental Working Group is a great resource for finding toxin-free consumer products.

Supplements that support detoxification in the body include activated B vitamins for enhanced methylation (a metabolic process that’s vital to cellular health), and glutathioneNAC, and alpha lipoic acid to support cellular functions and detoxification. Dandelion and milk thistle protect the liver and stimulate bile flow, which is essential for removing toxic substances from the body.

Optimal levels of vitamin D are also important for recovery, as are zinc and magnesium. Magnesium is best taken as magnesium glycinate, which is calming and easy on the digestive tract.

You might also consider hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a treatment that involves breathing 100% oxygen inside a body chamber with low and controlled atmospheric pressure. This therapy was found to be valuable in the Sears-Bailes protocol for overcoming traumatic brain injury, and has also been shown to be beneficial for Lyme disease recovery.

3. Invite more calm into your life

Since stress is a powerful immune system disruptor, finding more calm is key to restoring immune health and resolving symptoms of neurological Lyme. One of the best tools to fight stress is getting optimal sleep. Without it, your immune functions are disrupted, and healing is compromised.

Sleep is especially important for recovery from neuroinflammatory illnesses. Studies have shown that even one night of compromised sleep in healthy people is associated with accumulation of beta amyloid in the brain, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.

Your goal: At least 8 hours of good sleep a night, including 4 hours of deep sleep. Practicing good sleep hygiene can help you hit the mark; that includes keeping a regular bedtime, and limiting light, computer screens, and stimulation in the evening.

What happens during the day is also key to drifting off at night. Finding additional ways to de-stress, getting regular low-intensity exercise, and practicing meditation a couple of times during the day promotes good sleep onset and better quality sleep at night.

Early on, when neuroinflammation is pronounced and the nervous system is very agitated, sleep medications may be indicated. But use them intermittently, and stick to the lowest dose possible.

If you’re still battling stress and occasional sleeplessness, herbs can help. Some with calming, neuroprotective properties include ashwagandhabacopa, gotu kola, kudzu, and milky oat seed. Nervine herbs also promote calm during the day and help improve sleep at night; these include passionflowermotherwort, lemon balm, and chamomile.

Melatonin, an important antioxidant in the brain that initiates sleep, is reduced in neuroinflammation. Supplemental melatonin at bedtime (1-3 mg) can help rebalance disrupted sleep pathways. Tart cherry juice is an excellent natural source of melatonin, as is Chinese skullcap, an herb providing both antimicrobial properties and immune balancing properties.

Acupuncture can be beneficial for reducing pain and restoring normal energy pathways in the body. It is also helpful for restoring normal sleep.

4. Get active

Healthy blood flow is essential for recovery. Increased blood flow flushes out toxic substances that have accumulated from inflammation, and stimulates healing systems in the body.

The best way to increase blood flow is by moving your body. Increased activity is associated with increased endorphins. Best known as the “feel good” substances that improve mood and wellbeing, endorphins also stimulate natural killer cells, the most important white blood cells for taking out cells infected with microbes.

That being said, movement must be balanced so as to not generate more inflammation. For this purpose, low intensity exercise such as walking, yoga, and tai chi is the best choice. If exercise is not practical, far infrared sauna is an ideal way to increase blood flow and promote removal of toxins from the body.

5. Balance the microbiome

Restoring normal immune function and balancing the microbiome of the body is the most important part of overcoming neuroinflammatory conditions. It includes suppressing opportunistic microbes while also allowing normal flora to flourish so that immune systems can rebound.

For this purpose, herbal therapy is a natural fit. Herbs with antimicrobial properties selectively suppress opportunistic and stealth microbes without disturbing normal flora. Herbs also help boost parts of the immune system that have been suppressed by the microbes. Many of the chemical components of herbs cross the blood-brain barrier and provide neuroprotective benefits. By restoring balance in the gut microbiome and the extended microbiome of the body, the gut-blood and blood-brain barriers are allowed to heal.

There are many herbs with antimicrobial properties that can provide benefit for neuroinflammation associated with microbiome disruption. Some of the more common ones used in Lyme disease include andrographiscat’s claw, Japanese knotweed, cryptolepis, and neemMonolaurin is a fatty extract from coconut that provides antimicrobial properties, and because it is fat soluble, it easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and penetrates into brain tissues.

Berberine and berberine-containing herbs, including coptis, goldenseal, and barberry, are ideal for balancing the gut microbiome and restoring a normal gut-blood barrier. Sarsaparilla is another antimicrobial herb that is particularly good for balancing the gut microbiome.

Herbs that boost the immune system’s ability to control stealth microbes and restore normal immune system functions, but at the same time reduce inflammation, are called immunomodulating herbs. Immunomodulating herbs that also provide neuroprotective benefits include cordycepsreishirhodiola, and eleuthero. These herbs are also adaptogens, herbs that improve stamina and resistance to stress without having drug-like effects.

Because the toxicity of most commonly used herbs is so low, herbs can be taken for extended periods of time without harmful effects. In fact, that’s exactly what it takes to wear down stealth microbes and other opportunists, and allow normal flora to flourish.

The neurological system takes a long time to heal — it’s not a game that’s won in weeks or even months. Patience and persistence for the long haul is required to regain wellness. Many people have found, however, that persistence pays off: A comprehensive, natural approach to recovery is the most secure way to win.

 Dr. Rawls is a physician who overcame Lyme disease through natural herbal therapy. You can learn more about Lyme disease and recovery in Dr. Rawls’ best-selling book, Unlocking Lyme.

You can also learn about Dr. Rawls’ personal journey in overcoming Lyme disease and fibromyalgia in his popular blog post, My Chronic Lyme Journey.

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