Archive for the ‘Psychological Aspects’ Category

Suicide, Lyme, and Associated Diseases

https://www.dovepress.com/suicide-and-lyme-and-associated-diseases-peer-reviewed-article-NDT   Published 16 June 2017 Volume 2017:13 Pages 1575—1587
Authors Bransfield RC

 Video abstract of original research paper

Purpose: The aim of this paper is to investigate the association between suicide and Lyme and associated diseases (LAD). No journal article has previously performed a comprehensive assessment of this subject.

Introduction: Multiple case reports and other references demonstrate a causal association between suicidal risk and LAD. Suicide risk is greater in outdoor workers and veterans, both with greater LAD exposure. Multiple studies demonstrate many infections and the associated proinflammatory cytokines, inflammatory-mediated metabolic changes, and quinolinic acid and glutamate changes alter neural circuits which increase suicidality. A similar pathophysiology occurs in LAD.

Method: A retrospective chart review and epidemiological calculations were performed.

Results: LAD contributed to suicidality, and sometimes homicidality, in individuals who were not suicidal before infection. A higher level of risk to self and others is associated with multiple symptoms developing after acquiring LAD, in particular, explosive anger, intrusive images, sudden mood swings, paranoia, dissociative episodes, hallucinations, disinhibition, panic disorder, rapid cycling bipolar, depersonalization, social anxiety disorder, substance abuse, hypervigilance, generalized anxiety disorder, genital–urinary symptoms, chronic pain, anhedonia, depression, low frustration tolerance, and posttraumatic stress disorder.

Negative attitudes about LAD from family, friends, doctors, and the health care system may also contribute to suicide risk. By indirect calculations, it is estimated there are possibly over 1,200 LAD suicides in the US per year.

Conclusion: Suicidality seen in LAD contributes to causing a significant number of previously unexplained suicides and is associated with immune-mediated and metabolic changes resulting in psychiatric and other symptoms which are possibly intensified by negative attitudes about LAD from others. Some LAD suicides are associated with being overwhelmed by multiple debilitating symptoms, and others are impulsive, bizarre, and unpredictable. Greater understanding and a direct method of acquiring LAD suicide statistics is needed. It is suggested that medical examiners, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other epidemiological organizations proactively evaluate the association between LAD and suicide.

For more on psychiatric Lyme & TBI’s:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2015/10/18/psychiatric-lymemsids/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/01/17/lymemsids-and-psychiatric-illness/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/04/11/hidden-invaders-infections-can-trigger-immune-attacks-on-kids-brains-provoking-devastating-psychiatric-disorders/

The Coming Pandemic of Lyme Dementia

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/iage/201705/the-coming-pandemic-lyme-dementia  by Mario D Garrett Ph.D.  May 29,2017

The Coming Pandemic of Lyme Dementia:  The increasing threat from Lyme disease

There are many known causes of dementia. One of these causes are bacteria. Bacteria are usually ignored despite its historical and current significance in dementia research.  A hundred years ago it was well known that syphilis—a bacterium—was the only known cause of dementia. The bacteria interferes with the nerves until it reaches the brain where it destroys the brain from the inside. In the end, the expression of long-term syphilis is dementia—Neurosyphilis. Alois Alzheimer wrote his post-doctoral thesis (Habilitationsschrift) entitled “Histological studies on the differential diagnosis of progressive paralysis.” on neurosyphilis before his supervisor Emil Kraepelin propelled him into the history books by defining Alzheimer’s disease as a new disease in 1911. [1]

Neurosyphilis was very common in the 1900s. Between one in four to one in ten people in mental institutions were there because of neurosyphilis. Eventually syphilis kills its victims. Before the introduction of penicillin in 1943, syphilis was a common killer. In 1929, among men, the death rate from syphilis was 28.3 per 100,000 for Whites and 97.9 per 100,000 for Blacks [2]. The similarities between syphilis and dementia were addressed repeatedly in the early literature in Alzheimer’s disease [1]. Because syphilis can now be treated easily and cheaply, it has nearly been eradicated. But there is a new bacterium threat emerging—one that can also cause dementia.

Today, the main bacterial threat to acquiring dementia comes from Lyme disease—a bacterium borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme disease is transmitted to humans mainly through the bite of infected blacklegged tick. These ticks are themselves infected by feeding off mainly diseased birds, which bring the infection from across the globe. Worldwide there are 23 different species of ticks that can carry Lyme disease or diseases that are similair to Lyme disease (e.g.  Borrelia bissettii.)

Lyme disease is the most common disease carried by animals in the northern hemisphere and it is becoming an increasingly public health concern [3]. Not only because Lyme disease is a debilitating disease, but because eventually Lyme disease has been shown to cause dementia—Lyme dementia [4]. Science has not identified the mechanism for the development of Lyme dementia. The American psychiatrist  Robert Bransfield has been documenting some of its neurological expressions, but so far there is a lack of emphasis in the research community on exploring these clinical features. 

Ernie Murakami, a retired physician, has been monitoring the spread of Lyme disease across the world. With more than 65 countries that have the blacklegged ticks which transmit Lyme disease, this is a worldwide pandemic. The prevalence of Lyme disease reporting varies dramatically. Canada reporting the lowest cases in the world, with 1 case per million, while Slovenia reports 13 cases per 10,000. In the United Sates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 329,000 people are likely to be infected every year in the U.S. alone. Only one in ten cases are reported since clinicians are not looking for Lyme disease. This estimated number of annual infections is higher than hepatitis C, HIV, colon cancer, and breast cancer. Lyme disease accounts for more than 90% of all reported cases of diseases carried by animals (vector-borne illness).

With any good public health strategy there needs to be a two pronged response. One is to address the clinical effects of the disease and the other is to address the underlying cause. In the United States, although research funds to examine and explore cures for Lyme disease are minimal, this avenue is likely to see the most significant increase. But this would be folly without addressing the underlying cause of the disease. Addressing these underlying causes will however be challenging.

Harvard Medical School Center reports that areas suitable for tick habitation will quadruple by the 2080s. But there are more pressing changes that will happen in our lifetime. Deforestation and climate-induced habitat change are affecting insect which carry diseases like malaria and Lyme disease. Slow climate change, urban growth in areas next to forests, reforestation following the abandonment of agriculture, and increases in the deer, mice and squirrel populations (among many others) which harbor these ticks.

Malaria and Lyme disease are both projected to increase. Even taking a more conservative estimate (all of the USA, most of Canada, all of Europe, Middle East and China), more than half the world’s populations are likely to be exposed to Lyme disease. A proportion of these populations will become infected with Lyme disease and eventually some will develop dementia. Pure Lyme dementia exists and reacts well to antibiotics [4].  Is public health ready to address this? [5]

© USA Copyrighted 2017 Mario D. Garrett

References

[1] Garrett MD (2015) Politics of Anguish: How Alzheimer’s disease became the malady of the 21st century. Createspace. USA.

[2] Hazen H.H. (1937). A leading cause of death among Negroes: Syphilis. Journal of Negro Education, 310-321.

[3] Pearson S. (2014). Recognising and understanding Lyme disease. Nursing Standard, 29(1): 37-43.

[4] Blanc F., Philippi N., Cretin B., Kleitz C., Berly L., Jung B., … & de Seze J. (2014). Lyme Neuroborreliosis and Dementia. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 41(4): 1087-93.

[5] Garrett MD, & Valle R (2015) A New Public Health Paradigm for Alzheimer’s Disease Research. SOJ Neurol 2(1), 1-9. Accessible for free from:  https://sites.google.com/site/mariodrmariogarrettcom/GARRETT_VALLE_NEUROLOGY.pdf?attredirects=0

***A few notes***

Firstly, thank you to Dr. Garrett for this important acknowledgement of Lyme Dementia.

Secondly, this addresses a concern I’ve had for some time now.  Since LD is caused by a pleomorphic bacteria that shape shifts into one of three shapes, one of which has a non cell wall that can hide for years, and since doxycycline is typically the first line drug used, which researcher Eva Sapi has found that high doses of doxy pushes the spirochete into the non-cell wall form, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21753890#are we setting patients with acute Lyme up for dementia later?  Microbiologist Tom Grier is also worried about this possibility.

*Until more and better transmission studies are done (the ones we have have 3 inches of dust on them), it would be folly to blame Lyme solely upon the black legged tick.  I am thankful Dr. Garrett pointed out that there are numerous species of ticks that carry numerous diseases.  These diseases are as bad if not worse than Lyme, and synergistically make cases infinitely worse than if infected by a single bacterium.

*Again, until much, much more research is conducted, it’s a stab in the dark to say LD is the most common disease carried by animals.  According to Dr. Breitschwerdt (DVM), that honor would be given to Bartonella, a nasty, persistent infection that has as many strains as there are animals, that coupled with Lyme will bring a person to their knees, and can also cause endocarditis.  And hardly anyone is talking about Bart – except us patients and veterinarians!

*It is entirely true that physicians are NOT looking for TBI’s (tick borne infections).  It’s up to you to educate yourself and others.  The numbers listed in the article for each country is abysmally low.  If you don’t think TBI’s are in Canada, go here:  https://canlyme.com and http://lymediseasecanada.com.  I assure you, TBI’s are all over Canada and everywhere but Antarctica.  And, as Dr. Bransfield has stated, give it enough time and it will be there too!

*The statistic that only 1 in10 cases are reported in the U.S. is a complete stab in the dark and likely much lower.  Doubt every number you see when it comes to TBI’s.

*I appreciate Dr. Garrett’s insistence that addressing the underlying causes of disease is as important as finding a cure.

*Please remember when folks keep beating the “Climate Change” drum, that LD, with rare cases reported since 1883, originally started out as an epidemic in Connecticut in the 70’s http://whatislyme.com/history-of-lyme-disease/.  It has since spread (much like the proverbial “classic” bulls-eye rash that hardly anyone gets) to the rest of the world and is now a pandemic.  While climate change might play a role, it is certainly not the sole cause of what the world is facing.  My best guess is it has more to do with insects and pathogens being tweaked in a lab and spread due to a perfect storm of other side issues that encourages proliferation.  https://sites.newpaltz.edu/ticktalk/social-attitudes/story-by-smaranda-dumitru/

 

*Regardless of how LD started, brace yourselves for the Lyme Dementia pandemic.

 

 

 

 

 

Sugar Documentary

Lyme/MSIDS patients learn quickly that diet is key to healing.  For a great documentary by Newton that explains the devastating effects of sugar and artificial sweeteners on the human body, please watch:

A great example of the effects of sugar on the human body is cited by Dr. Mercola as well as other great information:  http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/06/03/eating-too-much-sugar.aspx?utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20170603Z1_UCM&et_cid=DM147092&et_rid=2030975579

In an effort to study the health effects of a high sugar diet, documentary filmmaker Damon Gameau, from “That Sugar Film,” conducted an experiment during which he consumed the average amount of sugar eaten daily by Australians, which amounts to 160 grams or about 40 teaspoons.

It’s important to note that before the experiment Gameau ate very little sugar. Surprisingly enough, Gameau didn’t feast on junk food all day to reach his goal. Instead, he ate commonly sold processed foods, many of which are marketed as healthy, such as fruit juice, yogurt and energy drinks.

Initially, Gameau thought it would be difficult to reach his daily goal of 40 teaspoons but to his surprise found it disturbingly easy. The film shows Gameau nearly reaching his daily sugar goal in just one meal with a small bowl of cereal, yogurt and fruit juice. It wasn’t long before Gameau began feeling both the physical and psychological effects of eating a high sugar diet. One of the first symptoms he noticed was wild mood swings.

After eating a sugary food, Gameau experienced what’s known as the typical “sugar high,” accompanied by short-lived feelings of alertness and even euphoria. His wife reported spontaneous and even manic-like bursts of laughter. But less than an hour later he would crash, noting severe feelings of lethargy. Gameau also reported feeling aloof, distracted and unable to concentrate at home — a trait his wife described as extremely uncharacteristic.

Prior to the experiment, Gameau was in good health. A medical exam determined he was slightly healthier than the average western male in his age range. His diet consisted of about 2,300 calories per day, 50 percent of which was made up of healthy fats found in foods like nuts and avocado; 26 percent was derived from protein-based foods such as meat, eggs and fish, and the remaining 24 percent consisted of carbohydrates found in fresh vegetables.

Gameau weighed about 167 pounds and had a waist circumference of 33 inches (84 centimeters). Blood tests showed his liver was healthy and that he had low triglyceride levels (fat in the bloodstream) and no signs of insulin resistance or diabetes. Gameau also kept up his exercise routine, which consisted of running three laps around his garden twice a week followed by a 10-minute workout in his home gym. But despite maintaining weekly exercise, Gameau’s health quickly deteriorated.

After 12 days of ramping up his sugar intake, Gameau had gained almost seven pounds, the majority of which went straight to his abdomen. In a month of eating 40 teaspoons of sugar per day, he added 2.75 inches (7 centimeters) to his waistline. But the health effects were more serious than just weight gain.

Within three short weeks, doctors were shocked to find that Gameau was already displaying signs of fatty liver disease. “By the end, I’d developed pre-type 2 diabetes, I had heart disease, I had 11 centimeters of visceral fat. But the big one was, the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease was almost in a full-blown state,” said Gameau in a news article highlighting his film.

***The take home:  if you want something sugary, partake in limited amounts and savor it and don’t fool yourself by thinking artificial sweeteners will help you lose weight.  Also, eating sugar only feeds the bacteria you are trying to rid your body of as well as sets your body up for Candida, a systemic yeast infection common with antibiotic users.

Feasting on Rural America: The Spread of Tick-Borne Diseases

https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/rural-monitor/tick-borne-diseases/ MAY 17, 2017  by Jenn Lukens – The Rural Monitorticks-blacklegged-300x198Blacklegged ticks are known to carry the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, the pathogen that causes Lyme disease (Photo credit: James Gathany, CDC Public Health Image Library)

Part parasite and part predator, the tick has become one of the nation’s most harmful bugs. Overgrown, humid areas are prime real estate for these critters, making rural America more susceptible to their growing numbers and the diseases they carry.

Even with the paranoia they incite, ticks have managed to lie low, out of the spotlight. Not until recently has the national conversation started picking up speed as Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses have become the most prolific zoonotic diseases in our nation. Lyme disease, the most-reported of the 20+ tick-borne diseases in the United States, is estimated to infect around 300,000 people every year.

pie chart on notifiable vector-borne diseases

Thankfully, out of the 90 tick species found in the U.S., only a handful are known to transmit bacteria harmful to humans. But the microscopic pathogens that have evolved with the growing tick population can cause a myriad of health issues including neurological disorders, heart problems, extreme fatigue, depression, and even death, to name a few.

Many individuals and groups are working to eradicate these diseases, or at least decrease their incidence. Scientists are developing vaccines. Medical researchers are studying alternative diagnostic and treatment methods. Organizations are actively promoting policy changes and increased funding. Each effort is one step closer to blocking the rapid spread of tick-borne diseases across the nation.

Time is of the Essence: A Case of Lyme

Tick that gave Nancy Lankow Lyme disease

Nancy Lankow isn’t sure how she missed it. She and her husband habitually do tick checks before bed, but she didn’t notice the blacklegged tick attached to her upper arm. She suspects picking it up in the flowerbed or woods outside her country home near Hackensack, Minnesota. It took some effort getting it out. “It was well dug-in. As you can see from the picture, it looked like it was headed to the other side of the earth,” said Lankow.

She sent the photo and a note to her primary care physician at the Essentia Health St. Joseph’s-Brainerd Clinic, a rural facility about 60 miles from her home. By the time the clinic called back, a bull’s-eye rash had spread on her arm. Lankow recalled, “They said, ‘Can you be here by four o’clock?’ I decided, at that time, there was no question that it was Lyme.”

Nancy Lankow, rural Minnesota resident and Lyme disease patient

Lankow’s case was classic. Her bull’s-eye rash is the most recognizable symptom of Lyme disease, but it doesn’t appear in every case. The corkscrew-like bacteria that causes Lyme can drill into any part of the body, invoking a constantly changing set of symptoms.

With one look at the infected area, Lankow’s doctor prescribed several weeks of antibiotics – the recommended treatment for most tick-borne diseases – and commended her for being proactive. Waiting even a few weeks could have put her at greater risk for a prolonged battle with Lyme disease. For rural residents like Lankow, the ability to see a local medical provider and begin treatment within days of showing symptoms is critical.

Home Sweet Home: The Rural Attraction

Tick identification graphic

In general, rural residents are more susceptible to tick-borne illnesses because of their proximity to preferred tick habitats, whether through their occupation or recreational activity of choice. Rural landscapes offer an ideal environment for disease-producing bacteria and their zoological hosts.

Growing up in a rural area, Lankow was used to ticks, “but now Lyme disease has upped the ante,” she stated. Minnesota is ranked in the top seven states with the most reported cases of Lyme, an indication that the disease, which started in the Northeast, is on the move. Reforestation, increased travel, changing weather patterns, and changes in ecosystems and small mammal communities are just some factors contributing to the increase and migration of tick-borne illnesses.

The number of reported tick-borne disease cases has increased over the past two decades. At least a quarter of all new Lyme cases occur in children ages 5-14, affecting their ability to learn, socialize, and even get out of bed. Experts agree that their susceptibility is largely due to lifestyle, as children tend to spend more time outdoors than other age groups.

Although Lyme is the most common tick-borne disease in the U.S., numerous others exist and new ones are being discovered. Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Powassan virus, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF), and Tularemia are just a few. Diseases tend to claim different parts of the country, incite different symptoms, and are transmitted from different tick species.

A Tick’s Host of Choice: The White-Footed Mouse

Dr. Maria Gomes-Solecki is a doctor of veterinary medicine studying the development of oral vaccine delivery vehicles at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. One of her accomplishments has been the invention of a vaccine that prevents the spread of Lyme disease in white-footed mice, a common host, thereby reducing the number of ticks carrying the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium.

Maria Gomes-Solecki, DVM

Her vaccine was tested via pellets put in live traps and strategically placed throughout a few sites the size of football fields in southeast New York. Mice that ate the pellets received a boost in antibodies, killing the B. burgdorferi bacterium inside their bodies. The results of the 5-year study showed a 76% reduction of the pathogen in nymphal ticks (the kind that transmits the bacterium to humans). Her field study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH), provides a method for inducing “protective immunity” from tick-borne diseases through animals.

“If you just target mice and are able to reduce the number of infected ticks, it should be a huge impact in the number of people infected later down the line,” said Gomes-Solecki. Currently, the vaccine is circulating through United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) licensure process for commercialization approval. Gomes-Solecki and her team have rural areas in mind for upcoming pellet distribution.

“In a completely rural area, you would have to think about distribution from planes or something on more of a mass scale,” commented Gomes-Solecki. “In state and local parks, the park departments often know where the populations of animals are and know where to put the boxes that would contain the vaccines.”

The vaccine is one of several efforts of its kind to decrease tick-borne diseases through ecological methods. This One Health approach, or “the collaborative efforts of multiple disciplines – working locally, nationally, and globally – to achieve the best health for people, animals, and our environment,” is what CDC, USDA, and zoonotic experts are looking to as the solution for managing and reducing the spread of diseases like Lyme. Her work to develop a human vaccine is on hold for now, waiting for more funding in order to continue.

Graphic depicting tick transmission

Don’t Let It Go to Your Head

Robert C. Bransfield, M.D., DLFAPA

Dr. Robert Bransfield, clinical associate professor at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and former president of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Educational Foundation (ILADEF), sees patients with tick-borne diseases at his private practice in Red Bank, New Jersey.

Bransfield speaks from experience: “When there is a failure in the healthcare system, people are sent to psychiatrists.” His patients come from all over the country, even flying in from rural areas where psychiatrists are few and far between. Loggers, farmers, Amish, and Mennonites –  most arrive after the cognitive problems have already set in.

By the time they get to him, “They are sick, and they feel lost. Insurance companies are turning their backs on them, families don’t understand it, employers don’t understand it, and they don’t understand it. They feel upset and need to know how to deal with something that we call an ‘invisible disability.’”

In many cases, the brain is one of the last places the bacteria hits, so many of Bransfield’s patients have had ongoing symptoms for years. “I see depression, people who are suicidal. Sometimes they can get violent.” According to Bransfield’s research, as many as 1,200 suicides every year in America are related to Lyme disease. Those with mental symptoms from Lyme are in the hundreds of thousands.

They are sick, and they feel lost. Insurance companies are turning their backs on them, families don’t understand it, employers don’t understand it, and they don’t understand it. They feel upset and need to know how to deal with something that we call an ‘invisible disability.’

In his article Lyme Disease and Cognitive Impairments, Bransfield explains that the cognitive symptoms of Lyme disease include difficulty sustaining attention, memory, processing information, slurred speech, reading comprehension, and organization/planning. Bransfield recalls seeing these symptoms in patients at his practice in the Great Dismal Swamp region on the border of Virginia and North Carolina before Lyme disease was a known illness. Conversations would include delayed responses and grasping for words. “It was the oddest thing. People at the clinic didn’t understand it,” he recalled.  It wasn’t until after Lyme disease was discovered in the early 1980s, that Bransfield made the connection.

Because of the complexity of tick-borne diseases, Bransfield uses a multi-level approach to finding a solution. He starts by treating the symptoms. “Whether depression, anxiety, or insomnia…I methodically attack each of those [symptoms] and try to improve them. That can often break the cycle of disease progression,” he said. Sometimes this includes prescribing antibiotics, and other times, it’s with things like a CPAP machine for better sleep.

Local Change through a National Nonprofit

Since the 1990s, Pat Smith and her national nonprofit, the Lyme Disease Association, Inc. (LDA), have been encouraging the passage of a bill allowing a work group to advise the government in Lyme disease solutions and research priorities. Earlier this year, Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act, which addresses the needs of many diseases and includes the formation of a tick-borne diseases working group.

Pat Smith, president of the Lyme Disease Association, Inc.

Lyme patients, advocates, treating physicians, and researchers will join the work group set to start by the end of 2017. “We will have representation at the table from those who have been most affected by the disease,” said Smith. “This will be a huge game changer that would influence public policy and, we hope, funding.”

Smith was on her New Jersey district’s board of education when Lyme broke out in the 1980s. She got involved with a state-wide Lyme organization out of concern and because of her own experience with the disease: two of her daughters contracted Lyme, one missing school for years as a result. Smith became president of the group and helped develop it into LDA. Run by volunteers, the organization’s mission extends well beyond its policy work — it also funds research and education efforts, as well as paying for diagnoses and treatment for uninsured children who have Lyme disease. LDA also serves as the lead organization for LDAnet, a network of 45 independent tick-borne illness groups across the country.

LDA often awards educational grants to its partners, many of whom are working to improve the situation for rural areas: events like the one Midcoast Lyme Education and Support recently put on in Maine’s rural midcoast region draws people from every part of the state. LDA’s educational materials are distributed regularly to public health offices, the military, individuals, schools, and partner groups like the Lyme Association of Greater Kansas City that supplies school nurses in rural districts with LDA resources.

Educating Doctors

I was stunned to realize how much I didn’t know that was already knowable. My conception of Lyme – a bit of a rash, maybe some achy joints, then you get an antibiotic and everything goes away – was inaccurate.

While practicing in rural Howland and Lincoln, Maine, Dr. Beatrice Szantyr, an internist/pediatrician now retired from clinical work, took a closer look at the disease to help a patient. “I was stunned to realize how much I didn’t know that was already knowable. My conception of Lyme – a bit of a rash, maybe some achy joints, then you get an antibiotic and everything goes away –  was inaccurate,” she recalled.

Beatrice M. Szantyr, M.D.

She attributes the lack of clarity among the medical community to the emphasis on certain objective aspects of the disease when it was first uncovered. “In retrospect, that likely suppressed some of the early information that was really important to have,” said Szantyr. Additionally, the lack of highly sensitive and reproducible tests, the persistence of illness in some patients despite treatment with antibiotics thought to be effective, and the still incomplete science of this infection have resulted in conflicting views about Lyme disease.

The debate is ongoing in the medical field and government groups specifically regarding its definition, diagnosis, and treatment.

Szantyr has spent thousands of hours exploring and educating medical and public audiences on tick-borne diseases. As a member of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), medical advisor to MaineLyme, and member of Maine’s Vector Borne Disease Work Group, she has helped to bring tick-borne illnesses to the forefront of medical and public health conversations in her state.

When advising clinicians regarding diagnosing a tick-borne disease, Szantyr said, “You cannot abdicate your clinical judgement. No laboratory test is ever going to be better than putting together all the data that you have and making a clinical assessment.” She also recommends providers have a working knowledge of local tick-borne diseases and not dismissing symptoms just because there are no known local cases of the disease. As people and animals travel, so do ticks, widening the spread of their growing population. Doctors can boost their knowledge and get continuing medical education (CME) credits through courses like Dr. Elizabeth Maloney’s Partnership for Tick-borne Diseases Education.

maps showing geographic distribution of tickborne diseases

Dr. Beatrice Szantyr’s tips for preventing tick-borne illnesses:

  • Keep your grass cut short and create a 3-foot or greater mulch, woodchip, or stone border between your lawn and abutting woods to further separate home and tick environments.
  • When around a tick-infested area, wear light-colored clothes for better detection.
  • Tuck your clothes (shirt into pants, pants into socks) to create a barrier between your skin and ticks.
  • Wear insect repellent with a DEET concentration >23%. Spray it on your skin to get the best results (the reaction between the spray’s chemicals and your body’s oils/heat creates a vapor layer that repels insects).
  • After being outside, perform a tick check on yourself and children, especially places that restrict motion: groin, waist, belly button, bra line, behind knee and ears, and scalp. Ticks can be as small as poppy seeds.
  • If a tick has attached to your skin, don’t panic. Remove it promptly and carefully. Tweezers or “tick-scoops” have proven to be the best for a clean removal. Pull the tick away from your skin with gentle, constant pressure. Clean the wound site. Put the tick in a bag and bring it to your healthcare facility if symptoms ensue or to pursue preventive treatment.
  • Treat a set of clothing with permethrin, a tick and mosquito-killing agent that has been proven to reduce the amount of tick bites on one’s body. You can also purchase clothing that has already been treated.
  • To kill ticks on clothing, place clothes in the dryer and run on high heat setting for 6 minutes.

Prevention and Early Detection

When caught early, antibiotics have been shown to be effective treatment for Lyme and other tick-borne disease. Follow up is important. In Lankow’s case, the rash went away and no other symptoms set in after her three-week antibiotic cycle. The experience has made her a strong believer in prevention and early detection. “Keep watching and respond quickly. Don’t wait. My daughter learned that the hard way.”

Keep watching and respond quickly. Don’t wait. My daughter learned that the hard way.

Lankow’s daughter was diagnosed with Lyme after several weeks of escalating symptoms, which became debilitating. Several other family members have also had the disease, including her husband. But, like so many rural residents, that hasn’t stopped them from enjoying the great outdoors, gardening, and cutting and splitting firewood. “I don’t think it’s going to make a big change in what we do. We’ll be very careful on tick checks and perhaps more assiduous with tick spray,” said Lankow.

Additional Resources

Chronic LD Summit #2

http://chroniclymediseasesummit2.com/?idev_id=11577&idev_username=Summit3  Please register at link.

Lyme disease is quickly spreading across the entire globe — very few are enlightened on this troublesome condition — that’s why Dr. Jay Davidson has urgently created the second summit on this topic (with only 2 repeat speakers from 2016). 300,000+ people per year contract Lyme, and 2017 is predicted by some to be an incredibly risky year!

The Chronic Lyme Disease Summit 2 is online and FREE from June 19-26, 2017.

Speakers and Topics:

Wayne Anderson, ND
Overview of Lyme and Its Evolution

James Maskell
Evolution of Medicine and Lyme

Scott Forsgren, FDN-P
Maximizing Lyme Disease Recovery

Philip Blair, MD
Col. US Army, ret.
Lyme Recovery with CBD

Jay Davidson, DC, PScD
Improving Lyme Disease Protocols

Jonathan Streit, DC
Testing for Functional Neurological Issues

Tyna Moore, ND, DC
Strength Training to Optimize Stem Cells

Sarah Ballantyne, PhD
Diet/Lifestyle as a Complementary Approach

Leslie Douglas, PhD
DNA Connexions PCR Assay

Greg Lee, MAc, BS
GoodbyeLyme™ Treatments and Remedies

Dave Ou, MD
Things Missed in the Treatment of Lyme

Evan H. Hirsch, MD, ABOIM
Coinfection Bartonella Treatment

Katie Dahlgren, ND
Helping Lyme Through Parasites

Shayne Morris, PhD, MBA, CNS
The Omics of Borrelia
Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, PhD
Latest on Lyme Testing and Treatments

Amy Derksen, ND
Non-Antibiotic Approaches to Treating Children

Dan Pompa, DPSc
Is Chronic Lyme Linked to Heavy Metals?

Todd Watts, DC
Killing Parasites to Kill Lyme Disease

Isaac Eliaz, MD, MS, LAc
Biofilm and Galectin-3 Breakthrough Strategies

Darin Ingels, ND
Herbal Therapy and Low Dose Immunotherapy (LDI)

Jerod Bergman, DC, CCSP, CSCS
Stopping EMFs and Geopathic Stress

Izabella Wentz, PharmD, FASCP
Thyroid and Lyme Disease

Tim Jackson, DPT, CNS(c)
Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Inflammatory Cytokines

Joette Calabrese, HMC, CCH, RSHom
Homeopathic Approach to Lyme Disease

David A. Jernigan, DC
Unique Approach to Healing

Gerry Curatola, DDS
Microbiome of Your Mouth

Jonathan Landsman
Fixing Toxic Teeth and Gums

Jill Carnahan, MD, ABFM, ABIHM, IFMCP
CIRS and Lyme Disease

Christine Schaffner, ND
Healing Your Brain from Lyme Disease

Diane V. Capaldi, MAP
Consciousness as It Relates to Healing

Jon Butcher
Repairing Relationships After Illness

Keesha Ewers, PhD, ARNP
Feeling Betrayed by Your Body?

Kim D’Eramo, DO
Mindsets That Impair Immune Function

Dana Walsh & Brent Martin
How to Lyme Less and Live More!

Sarah Schlichte Sanchez
Fighting as a Mindset

Hidden Invaders: Infections Can Trigger Immune Attacks on Kids’ Brains Provoking Devastating Psychiatric Disorders

http://discovermagazine.com/2017/april-2017/hidden-invaders  By Pamela Weintraub Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Hidden Invaders:  Infections can trigger immune attacks on kids’ brains, provoking devastating psychiatric disorders.

Please read Weintraub’s detailed article in link above about seven year old Paul who changed over night, due to pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS).  

“PANS is thought to be an inflammatory condition that results when an infection or some other invasive trigger spurs the body to turn on itself and attack structures in the brain. For years, scientists had focused on a single infection — group A streptococcal disease — that produced antibodies that attacked the part of the forebrain involved in forming habits, resulting in OCD. Today, the paradigm has widened into a much bigger idea that expands our understanding of psychiatric disease: A whole host of infections and other unknown triggers lead to the production of antibodies and immune cells that can cross into the brain. Depending on where these immune responses land and which brain structures they block, erode or destroy, a range of psychiatric ills can result. In one person, it could be OCD; in the next, it could be hyperactivity and inattention, anxiety, restricted eating, even hallucinations or autistic behavior.”

A prominent Wisconsin Lyme literate doctor states that 80% of his PANS children are also infected with Lyme/MSIDS.  They respond and improve with antibiotics, diet change, probiotics, and other supplements to improve immune function.  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/02/13/lyme-disease-treatment/ According to Weintraub, researchers are trying to find the right treatment that stops inflammation and immune dysfunction due to rogue antibodies that attack the brain.

Weintraub also reports that strep infections can cause neuropsychiatric symptoms.  One psychiatrist found that some patients right after a strep infection could develop OCD and eating disorders.  She also found that children with OCD from PANDAS had toxic behavior reactions to typical medications that helped those with standard OCD showing the two groups were not equal.  In studying 43 children with acute onset OCD, the infectious triggers were strep and mycoplasma.  She treated them with Azithromycin and the patients improved. https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/02/07/mycoplasma-treatment/

Untreated PANS children can be disabled by their psychiatric symptoms and have, “OCD with severe intrusive thoughts such as suicidal ideation, psychosis, deep anxieties and fears, panic, rage, and are at risk of committing violent acts, ” as well as cognitive problems such as:  “handwriting deterioration, slow processing speed and regressions so frightening that a once-normal 10-year-old might have the skills and behavior of a developmentally slow 3-year-old.”

A pediatric rheumatologist managed to find clusters of children from the same school or neighborhood who had all come down with the condition in the same month as well as other infections besides strep were involved, such as bacterial mycoplasma, influenza, sinusitis, pneumonia and others.  

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/01/17/lymemsids-and-psychiatric-illness/  Incredible video by Dr. Marke with written highlights and discussion on PANDAS/PANS.

Study Shows Probiotic Helps Depression in Mice

Published on Feb 10, 2017

Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have reversed depression symptoms in mice by feeding them Lactobacillus, a probiotic bacteria found in some yogurts. Further, the researchers have determined exactly how the bacteria affect mood, providing a concrete link between the health of the gut microbiome and mental health.

Based on their findings, they suspect their discovery will hold true in people and are planning to confirm theirs findings in depressed patients.

“The big hope of this kind of research is that we won’t need to bother with complex drugs and side effects when we can just play with the microbiome,” explained researcher Alban Gaultier, PhD. “It would be magical just to change your diet, to change the bacteria you take, to fix your health – and your mood.”

Lyme/MSIDS patients often have depression and are required to take many medications to effectively deal with numerous Tick Born Infections.  Adding anti-depressants and other medications can yield nasty side-effects.  This mouse study is promising in that taking probiotics do not have the downsides of prescription anti-depressants.  Not only that, these good-guy bacteria help line the gut to prevent or lessen leaky gut syndrome.

https://news.virginia.edu/content/uva-reverses-depression-symptoms-mice-using-probiotics  Evidently, the researchers found that the lower the level of Lactobacillus in the gut, the higher the level of kynurenine, a blood metabolite, which drives depression symptoms.  Mouse behavior was directly correlated to Lactobacillus levels.

Study here:  http://www.nature.com/articles/srep43859

Microbiota alteration is associated with the development of stress-induced despair behavior
Ioana A. Marin, Jennifer E. Goertz, Tiantian Ren, Stephen S. Rich, Suna Onengut-Gumuscu, Emily Farber, Martin Wu, Christopher C. Overall, Jonathan Kipnis & Alban Gaultier

Abstract
Depressive disorders often run in families, which, in addition to the genetic component, may point to the microbiome as a causative agent. Here, we employed a combination of behavioral, molecular and computational techniques to test the role of the microbiota in mediating despair behavior. In chronically stressed mice displaying despair behavior, we found that the microbiota composition and the metabolic signature dramatically change. Specifically, we observed reduced Lactobacillus and increased circulating kynurenine levels as the most prominent changes in stressed mice. Restoring intestinal Lactobacillus levels was sufficient to improve the metabolic alterations and behavioral abnormalities. Mechanistically, we identified that Lactobacillus-derived reactive oxygen species may suppress host kynurenine metabolism, by inhibiting the expression of the metabolizing enzyme, IDO1, in the intestine. Moreover, maintaining elevated kynurenine levels during Lactobacillus supplementation diminished the treatment benefits. Collectively, our data provide a mechanistic scenario for how a microbiota player (Lactobacillus) may contribute to regulating metabolism and resilience during stress.