Archive for the ‘Testing’ Category

A New Complication of Lyme Disease; Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)


ejbps, 2019, Volume 6, Issue 8, 464-468.

Year: 2019


Barbaros ÇETİN*

Dokuz Eylül University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology, Izmir, Turkey.

*Corresponding Author: Barbaros ÇETİN


Lyme borreliosis is well known multisystem disease and can produce a wide array of neurological abnormalities in humans. It can effect both the central and peripheral nervous system. Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) a leading genetic cause of infant death, is a neurodegenerative disease characterised by the selective loss of particular groups of motor neurones in the anterior horn of the spinal cord with concomitant muscle weakness. Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is also a neuromuscular disease caused by abnormally low cellular levels of the ubiquitous protein SMN. Recent study finds connection between ALS and SMA. Respiratory failure due to bilateral diaphragm palsy as an early manifestation of ALS. Diaphragmatic paralysis and respiratory failure as a complication of Lyme disease. Lyme –associated diaphragm weakness from phrenic nerve palsy is rare. One of the rarest manifestations of phrenic nerve disorder is neuroborreliosis. I report two cases.

  1. When she was 2 months baby, she had diagnosed with SMA. After three years, her LTT-Borrelia test result is positive. CD57+/CD3-(NK cells) % 0.48, (20 mm 3 ), very low. C3 Compleman test result is low. Her mother’s (38 years old), LTT-Borrelia test result also positive. It is documented that transplacental transmission of the spirochete from mother to fetus is possible.
  2. 13 years old son. He had diagnosed Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EDMD),when he was 6 years old. He had, LTT-Borrelia positive test result, after 5 years. His father lyme test result was positive, when he was 57 years old.

Eventually, these results reveal the need for consideration of Lyme borreliyosis in patients diagnosed with SMA for the first time.

People who are diagnosed with SMA, DMD, ALS and similar neurodegenerative diseases have a great benefit in performing Lyme tests.



I highly doubt that SMA is a “new” complication of Lyme disease – but rather is newly published information. Again, with all the under reporting going on, we haven’t a clue about prevalence in patients.

This article also highlights congenital transmission of Lyme disease – something the CDC doesn’t even recognize to date:

Which brings up the potential of sexual transmission as well:

It continues to battle me why authorities will not do the appropriate studies on much needed practical issues such as sensitive testing, appropriate treatment, and whether or not Lyme/MSIDS can be transmitted by numerous means:

What is a Lyme Disease Literate Doctor?


By Alain Mass, M.D.

A lot has been said and written about Lyme disease literate doctors who dare to go astray from the standard of care to diagnose and treat Lyme disease according to their own criteria. Blamed to over diagnose Lyme disease at the risk of missing the right diagnosis, doctors and media raise the concern  of useless and potentially dangerous antibiotic treatments. Who are these Lyme literate doctors? Are they pioneers, advanced-guard doctors or marginal, opportunistic, unreliable and potentially dangerous physicians?  

There is no specialty for Lyme disease other than that of  Infectious disease. In the absence of board certification, none is allowed to be called a specialist in Lyme disease. Hence, the vague term of Lyme literate doctor which literally means, according to the dictionary, able to read and write about Lyme disease. Who is a Lyme disease literate doctor? Whoever reads the medical literature on Lyme disease and gets educated about the disease and treatment can be called Lyme disease literate doctor. The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), however, educates and trains physicians. 

When I was 3 years ago at the ILADS annual conference, a lecturer asked the audience full of hundreds of physicians: “ Who had personally Lyme disease or a family member with Lyme disease; raise the hand”. All the audience rose the hand. Where Lyme disease literate doctors come from is unfortunately an easy question. Physicians who have been directly involved in one disease, Lyme disease or not, tend to go straight to the source of knowledge, meaning the medical literature to get a better understanding but also to know all options of diagnosis and treatment. The main motivation, here, however, comes from a break in the trust in medical authorities because of treatment failure, disagreement with the diagnosis, especially when it involves a life-long psychiatric condition and treatment or a sentence of hopeless condition, often made of pain, handicap and medications for a family member, oneself or patients we really care for. 

The standard of care defines the proper method of diagnosis and treatment as it is established by the medical leading authorities and accepted by all. The Standard of Medicine, in turn, represents the professional medical conduct as transmitted by medical schools over the generations. The standard of Medicine does not require good results but thoroughness, rigorous methodology, devotion, care, and compassion. The standard of Medicine will stay forever.  The standard of care changes as science progresses. 

Lyme literate doctors approach the diagnosis of Lyme disease by history as described in the medical literature and with the basic medical methodology where each symptom is characterized according to its intensity, time, location, progression, response to food, medications or environment. A systematic review of all the organ-systems finds many symptoms that are also characteristic of Lyme disease, even though not spontaneously disclosed by the patients, maybe for the simple reason that they do not relate all of them to the same problem. Quite often Lyme disease patients approach a doctor with one, two or three symptoms. The review of systems most of the time reveals 10 or more other symptoms. Cognitive and psychological disorders like brain fog, memory impairment, new onset of difficulty focusing,  anxiety, new onset of OCD, irritability, depressed mood, etc… are rarely disclosed by patients. Not one symptom, aside from the bull’s eye rash (erythema migrans), is diagnostic of Lyme disease. The medical literature, however, does confer a strong correlation between certain symptoms like facial paralysis, headaches, migratory joint pain and Lyme disease. The pattern of symptoms is even more suggestive of the disease. Typical Lyme disease symptoms are unpredictable, intermittent, fluctuating, not affected by time, location or exertion and may improve with antibiotics.  It is the association of different organ-systems of such symptoms and the exclusion of all other possible medical conditions that, ultimately, allow Lyme doctors to consider Lyme disease despite the absence of a positive Lyme disease blood test. 

Since the early description of Lyme disease by Allen Steere, the triad of neurologic manifestations of Lyme disease, which combines meningitis, cranial neuritis, and radiculoneuritis, was already remarked as a clinical hallmark of this disease. I saw patients who were diagnosed with migraine by neurologists. I verified the Allen Steere’s triad if they had meningism (tension-type of headache with light sensitivity), cranial neuritis (facial numbness or paralysis, dizziness, hearing or visual disturbances), or radiculoneuritis (pins and needles feeling, numbness, muscular weakness, shooting pain..) None of the neurologists asked all of these questions. The patients admitted having some of these associated symptoms. The blood test confirmed Lyme disease. It is very common for physicians to order a Lyme disease blood test for joint pain and to rule it out based on a negative blood test. Maybe because physicians rely so much on the blood test that the need to ask whether the joint pain is migratory or not is felt not  so necessary. Most of the Lyme disease patients I saw, if not all of them, did not have a complete review of systems performed by their physicians. The reason is understandable. A thorough review of systems takes at least 45 to 60 minutes. Unfortunately, the health insurance-based medicine does not allow physicians to take time with chronic sick patients. How to connect the dots if there are no dots? The dots, however, exist but not sought.  

The diagnosis of Lyme disease, according to the standard of care, without a positive blood test, cannot be made. Patients see multiple physicians, leaders in their field and are left without diagnosis other than psychosomatic disorder or fibromyalgia. One patient saw eight infectious disease doctors. None of them thought of Lyme disease. A ninth one made the diagnosis of Lyme disease. No one thought of co-infections. She was also positive for Brucella and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  She was, however, already emotionally broken. She was sobbing trying to convince me that she was not psychiatric what many other doctors tried to convince her. 

Is it unreasonable to diagnose based on clinical grounds because of the risk of overdiagnosing? The current standard of care that follows the IDSA guidelines, endorsed by the CDC, that mandates a positive blood test result to authorize the diagnosis of Lyme disease is based on a study that was published in 1993 by Dressler and colleagues. (Western blotting in the serodiagnosis of Lyme disease. Dressler F, Whalen JA, Reinhardt BN, Steere AC., J Infect Dis. 1993 Feb;167(2):392-400). It is interesting to note that Dressler tried to prove the accuracy of the Lyme disease blood test by matching positive blood test with patients that he diagnosed based on symptoms. 

It is also interesting to see the source of the rule of a minimum of bands to diagnose or to exclude Lyme disease. Dressler’s study, at the source of the current IDSA guidelines, writes: “we selected the minimum number of IgM or IgG bands needed to obtain 99% specificity”. Dressler’s study concludes: We conclude that the western blot can be used to increase the specificity of serology testing in Lyme disease”. Higher is the specificity of a test, higher is the chance to have only true positive but also the risk of having false-negative test results. In plain English, it means that not being able to confirm a disease does not mean that the disease does not exist. The IgM ratios of 2 out 3 and IgG ratio of 5 out of 10  are not relevant to the sensitivity but to the specificity of the tests and, therefore, cannot be used to rule out Lyme disease but only to determine who unquestionably has Lyme disease. The distinction is important because it authorizes the benefit of the doubt.  

In times of controversy or when the treatment fails to relieve the patient, or when the clinical judgment conflicts with the conclusion of studies, there is an ethical duty not to rely only on the position or titles of authors but on a critical reading of the full study. What were the criteria of inclusion, and of exclusion? and so forth. The groups chosen by Dressler’s study to represent the individuals free of Lyme disease came from random patients who visited a clinic for vaccination and from a group of chronic fatigue syndrome patients. No Lyme disease screening questionnaire was used to verify the absence of symptoms compatible with Lyme disease. Chronic fatigue is, however, a common symptom of Lyme disease and chronic fatigue syndrome  is still an ill-defined disease.

Over-diagnosing is a real concern but under-diagnosing is a concern, as well. What is more concerning is a question. The morbidity of a life-long psychiatric treatment, or pain-killers or anti-inflammatory drugs and the degradation of quality of life due to chronic pain and/or disability in long term may definitely be more concerning than a few months of antibiotics. The exclusion of all other medical conditions is an essential part of the diagnostic approach of Lyme doctors. In fact, a classic Lyme disease patient is a patient who saw 10 to 15 doctors with normal workup but without satisfying diagnosis or treatment. 

Some raise the concern that Lyme disease literate doctors, by overdiagnosing, may give unnecessary antibiotic treatment. While according to the CDC and IDSA, a positive Lyme disease blood test, in the presence of a few clinical manifestations suggestive of Lyme disease, is diagnostic of Lyme disease and justifies an antibiotic treatment, Lyme literate doctors will consider the diagnosis of Lyme disease only after a strong clinical correlation. A positive serological Lyme disease test only testifies of an immune response to the exposure of the Lyme bacteria that may have happened in the past. Lyme disease doctors have brought to clinical practice from medical research new knowledge of conditions that may imitate Lyme disease that are even not known to all infectious disease doctors like mold and heavy metal toxicities, environmental illnesses, porphyria, genetic-induced detoxification pathway blockages, electro-magnetic frequency hypersensitivity, PANDAS and PANS, mast cell activation disorder, limbic system dysfunction etc…. We arrive at the paradox where about 50% of individuals who truly suffer from Lyme disease have a false negative serological blood test for Lyme disease while some others have positive Lyme disease test but remain without symptoms or suffer from other conditions in combination or not with Lyme disease. Only a clinical correlation can make sense of a positive test.

Relying solely on blood test may lead either to deny an existing Lyme disease or to treat with antibiotics conditions that could have been treated otherwise.

If doctors help patients to heal, to take away the pain, handicap or any lingering mental suffering there is no place for controversy and for Lyme disease doctors. When, however, patients do not get better despite diagnosis and treatment given by expert physicians, when physicians admit not to understand, when patients get referred from specialist to specialist without resolution, when patients or parents refuse the diagnosis of anxiety, depression, psychosomatic or psychiatric disorder or of fibromyalgia, patients may then consider that other opinions exist. The use of antibiotics beyond a period of one month, strongly not recommended by the CDC, has to be weighed against the chronic use, sometimes for life, of painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs or psychiatric medications and the emotional burden of an ill-defined chronic disease in the absence of any satisfying diagnosis. 

How to define a quack doctor? As long as the standard of Medicine is not respected, whoever may be the doctor, Lyme disease literate doctor or not, the question may be raised. Respecting the standard of care does not mean that the necessary time, thoroughness, and interest were given to the patient. Dismissing a chronic sick patient to his or her despair because of a negative blood test without a thorough review of systems is not in respect with the standard of Medicine. Clinical judgment based on a rigorous methodology and peer-reviewed medical literature may conflict with guidelines and did it in the past numerous times enabling Medicine to progress. Disdain and prejudice vis-a-vis healthcare practitioners may not ultimately help patients. Dr. Alexander Fleming wrote,

“Penicillin sat on my shelf for twelve years while I was called a quack. I can only think of the thousands who died needlessly because my peers would not use my discovery”.

The message of the Lyme disease literate doctors goes way beyond Lyme disease. In times of controversy or when the treatment fails to relieve the patient, or when the clinical judgment conflicts with guidelines, algorithm-based recommendations or the mere conclusion of studies do not suffice. Ideally, denying Lyme disease or criticizing Lyme disease literate doctors should be based on the same level of precise clinical description.  The best criticism against Lyme disease literate doctors would be to answer their questions other than by Lyme disease. For example, what other than Lyme disease may cause tension-type of headache with light sensitivity with intermittent pins and needles, numbness, weakness, poor balance, back pain along with migratory joint pain with intermittent mood and cognitive disorder that improve with antibiotics in a patient with a negative Lyme disease blood test but living in an endemic zone after exclusion of all other possible medical conditions?

Bertrand Russell wrote that evidence-based Medicine should remain our slave and not our master. In a similar vein, opposing a number of bands as sole criteria to diagnose  or not Lyme disease to a well constructed clinical case strong of the exclusion of all other possible medical conditions buries clinical judgment, the art and spirit of Medicine. Underlying the Lyme disease controversy is the conflict between science and clinical skills. What should prevail? Do physicians have the legitimate right based on medical literature of otherwise to discuss the science of medical leaders without being pointed out as quack or dangerous? Maybe the principal message of Lyme disease literate doctors is not specific to Lyme disease but is to say that the clinical diagnosis of Lyme disease is underestimated if not ignored because the clinical evaluation, in general, has been neglected in Medicine due to the constraint of time and has been supplanted by testing. A reliable clinical diagnosis takes time. Health insurance-based system does not allow physicians to practice Medicine as taught in medical schools with chronic or complex patients. There is no more time to spend with the patient, to listen, to go methodically through a review of systems that may take one hour. In these conditions, there is no time to research the medical literature for all cases and the blind trust in guidelines is a necessity until the patient becomes our spouse or ourselves, our child or a patient we really care for. 

Alain Mass, M.D.                                                                                                                                                                                                           Board Certified in Family Medicine Montebello, NY                                                                                                                                                                                                     Tel: (845) 623-0047



Wonderful article by Dr. Mass which points out the limitations of the health-insurance based system (managed care) which is not giving doctors the proper time required to make thorough and accurate diagnosis of chronic illnesses – which includes Lyme/MSIDS.  Due to this, doctors are relying on inaccurate testing which is missing many patients who are infected but test negative.

The health-insurance based system, which normally allows 10-15 minutes with each patient is not going to begin to have the time required by infectious disease doctors to delve into some of the issues Dr. Mass presents that imitate Lyme disease including: “mold and heavy metal toxicities, environmental illnesses, porphyria, genetic-induced detoxification pathway blockages, electro-magnetic frequency hypersensitivity, PANDAS and PANS, mast cell activation disorder, limbic and system dysfunction etc….”

Favorite quote by Dr. Mass:

“We arrive at the paradox where about 50% of individuals who truly suffer from Lyme disease have a false negative serological blood test for Lyme disease while some others have positive Lyme disease test but remain without symptoms or suffer from other conditions in combination or not with Lyme disease. Only a clinical correlation can make sense of a positive test.”


Welcome to the topsy-turvy world of Lyme/MSIDS.





Rare Presentation of Endocarditis & Mycotic Brain Aneurysm

2019 Aug 16. pii: S0003-4975(19)31173-7. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2019.06.073. [Epub ahead of print]

Rare Presentation of Endocarditis and Mycotic Brain Aneurysm.

Author information

Division of Pediatric and Congenital Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery and Perioperative Care. Electronic address:
Tecnologico de Monterrey, Escuela de Medicina y Ciencias de la Salud, Monterrey, Mexico; Division of Pediatric and Congenital Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery and Perioperative Care.
Department of Pediatrics, University of Texas Dell Medical School, Dell Children’s Medical Center, Austin, Texas.
Division of Pediatric and Congenital Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery and Perioperative Care; Department of Pediatrics, University of Texas Dell Medical School, Dell Children’s Medical Center, Austin, Texas.


Bartonella endocarditis can be a very elusive diagnosis. The clinical manifestations can vary and, at times, include multiorgan involvement. This case report describes two patients presenting with multiorgan failure, cerebral mycotic aneurysms and valvular endocarditis secondary to Bartonella infection. The complex diagnosis, decision making, and surgical management are described.



It’s unfortunate that once again the study authors choose the word “rare” regarding Bartonella and/or any tick-borne infection manifestations, as even the most hardened critics admit these pathogens are prevalent and can have highly variable presentations. It would have been much more appropriate that the authors would state it’s the first time these particular findings have been published rather than give people the impression something occurs rarely.

Lyme patients and the doctors treating this appropriately are acutely aware of potential heart involvement:

Again, please keep in mind that current 2-tiered CDC testing is based on blood tests that misses half of all cases and do not look for the organism but the body’s immune response (antibodies):  Current CDC guidelines were created for surveillance purposes only but are being used diagnostically. All patients should be informed that they can still be infected despite a negative test. 

Also, please be aware of the conflicts of interest regarding patents on testing:


There are going to be patients with heart symptoms that have an underlying tick-borne illness but test negatively (seronegative). These people are falling through the cracks of the medical symptom yet could be greatly helped with appropriate antimicrobial treatment. If you suspect you are one of these people or suspect others, please give the validated Horowitz questionnaire to them to take to their practitioner: It also takes an open mind and trained eye to diagnose these patients, and it can be Lyme, Baronella, or any one of many pathogens transmitted by ticks:  I hope doctors are waking up to the growing need for education regarding the growing link between tick-borne illness and heart issues.






Ticks Are One Way Tularemia Can Be Spread. Rabbits Are Another

Ticks are one way tularemia can be spread. Rabbits are another.

Lyme Disease Common in Turkey. Patients With Neurological Symptoms Misdiagnosed With MS

Frequency of Borrelia Burgdorferi Western Blot & LTT Positivity Among Multiple Sclerosis Patients From Turkey

Barbaros Çetin*

Dokuz Eylul University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology, Izmir, Turkey.

Article Received on 29/01/2019 Article Revised on 19/02/2019 Article Accepted on 12/03/2019

*Corresponding Author: Dr. Barbaros Çetin


In Turkey, Borrelia burgdorferi infections are not well known among physicians and almost completely overlooked. On the other hand, a small number of seropositivity studies (%3.3-%73) show that Borrelia burgdorferi is common in Turkey. There is no diagnostic biological marker in multiple sclerosis (MS). Only several clinical criteria used for diagnosis. These criteria are also compatible with other diseases. Lyme disease is currently among them.

In the chronic phase of Lyme, demyelination can form and this can be confused with MS. In this study 126 patients, between ages 17 and 66, with a definite diagnosis of multiple sclerosis was evaluated, and were found to be found positive Borrelia burgdorferi western blot and LTT test results 108 (%85.72). Only 18 (%14.28) patients have negative test results.

The results show that LYME disease is very common in Turkey and LYME patients with neurological symptoms are misdiagnosed with multiple sclerosis.



Important excerpt from study:

Spirochetes in MS” (Buzzard, E.F.), published in the famous Lancet magazine in 1911, revealed the presence of Lyme spirochetes in the brains of MS patients. Over a period of more than a century, more than 50 international scientific papers proving the MS-Lyme relationship have been published in prestigious medical journals.[16-111]

Please look at the date for that…...1911, yet, how many doctors are considering Lyme/MSIDS in those patients thought to have MS?

I will answer that question – very, very few. 


Courtesy, Tom Grier 

For an informative article on the subject of cell-wall deficient forms (CWD) and other neurological diseases:

Dr. Lida Mattman, was a protégé of Gabriel Stiener who was the first to establish that MS was associated with a spirochete.

Grier states that this area of microbiology has long been neglected, and that we are now paying a price for that neglect. Mattman’s work suggests that cell wall deficient forms are prevalent, pathogenic, and may be behind sarcoidosis, Crohn’s disease, coronary thrombosis, Kaposi’s sarcoma, endocarditis, and MS.

Mattman explains her simple lab technique here:  Transcript included. 

According to Grier, Mattman said she frequently isolates L-forms from Lyme patients with aseptic meningitis and endocarditis, but that traditional culture media is virtually worthless, as are traditional heat fixed blood smears. Instead, she creates a live wet mount using the patients blood or bully coat. The blood sample is placed on a wet slide with acrodine orange dye to stain the nucleic acids. Then a monoclonal antibody fluorescent stain that is specific for Borrelia burgdorferi is added and is examined under a microscope. Grier states most labs are clueless about cell wall deficient forms and that we will not have answers until more labs agree to test for CWD forms.






Interview – Marianne Middelveen On Morgellons

Live Interview With Marianne Middelveen

  1. Can you tell us what kind of science you practice and describe how that applies to your work?
  2. What is the extent of your involvement with the Charles Holman Foundation?
  3. Is the diagnostic criteria for Morgellons just the fibers under the skin or are there any other symptoms specific to the Morgellons condition?
  4. In 2012 the CDC accomplished a study of Morgellons but could not determine an infectious agent. Why couldn’t they and how can you find these pathogens and what exactly did you find?
  5. Why does the serologic test for Lyme not reveal bacterial infection in those who it is apparent, like in Morgellons patients?
  6. Can you describe the culture method you employed for your research?
  7. How strong is the evidence that Lyme disease is sexually transmissible?
  8. Is it true that Deer do not get Lyme disease?
  9. Is it true that most people who get Lyme don’t get Morgellons, but most Morgellons patients do get Lyme?
  10. Can some people carry Lyme bacteria without health consequence?
  11. What was your research in the South American jungles regarding?
  12. Is Morgellons associated with mold or fungus?
  13. Can you explain what a follicular cast is, what it is made of and how they relate to Morgellons patients?
  14. Can someone have follicular casts but not the Morgellons fibers?
  15. Your latest study demonstrates mixed bacterial biofilms in Morgellons patients, what are biofilms?
  16. You also detected Alzheimer’s plaques in the skin, are there other conditions where Alzheimer’s plaques are discovered in other parts of the body?
  17. In your study you tested 6 of 14 patients for tau and beta-amyloid, why not the other eight?
  18. Is it likely then that the six might develop Alzheimer’s?
  19. Some of your research demonstrates the Morgellons condition in Dogs, and BVV in cattle. Do other animals have Morgellons like birds and cats?
  20. What is the difference between relapsing fever, dental spirochetes, and Lyme and how are all three associated with Morgellons?
  21. What is H-pylori and do all Morgellons patients have it?
  22. Is Morgellons associated with Bartonella?
  23. Your latest study cites research demonstrating beneficial biofilms producing melanin, is this suspected of a possible mechanism by which Morgellons fibers are colored?
  24. What does blind controlled and peer-reviewed mean and how many labs are replicating your work? How does the scientific process work from where you sit?
  25. What is your proudest achievement in regards to your research, Morgellons or otherwise?
  26. What can people watching at home do to help you produce more answers about Morgellons?
  27. Do you have any personal causes or charities that you are passionate about?
The CDC disclaimer states:
“A surveillance case definition is a set of uniform criteria used to define a disease for public health surveillance. Surveillance case definitions enable public health officials to classify and count cases consistently across reporting jurisdictions. Surveillance case definitions are not intended to be used by healthcare providers for making a clinical diagnosis or determining how to meet an individual patient’s health needs.”…. “Parachutes” is a novel written by Marianne Middelveen:…
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Seropositivity to Tick Endosymbiont As A Marker To Determine Tick Bite Exposure

Seropositivity to Midichloria mitochondrii (order Rickettsiales) as a marker to determine the exposure of humans to tick bite.


Ixodes ricinus is the most common tick species parasitizing humans in Europe, and the main vector of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, the causative agent of Lyme disease in the continent. This tick species also harbors the endosymbiont Midichloria mitochondrii, and there is strong evidence that this bacterium is inoculated into the vertebrate host during the blood meal. A high proportion of tick bites remains unnoticed due to rarity of immediate symptoms, implying the risk of occult tick-borne infections in turn a potential risk factor for the onset of chronic-degenerative diseases. Since suitable tools to determine the previous exposure to I. ricinus bites are needed, this work investigated whether seropositivity toward a protein of M. mitochondrii (rFliD) could represent a marker for diagnosis of I. ricinus bite.

We screened 274 sera collected from patients from several European countries, at different risk of tick bite, using an ELISA protocol. Our results show a clear trend indicating that positivity to rFliD is higher where the tick bite can be regarded as certain/almost certain, and lower where there is an uncertainty on the bite, with the highest positivity in Lyme patients (47.30%) and the lowest (2.00%) in negative controls.

According to the obtained results, M. mitochondrii can be regarded as a useful source of antigens, with the potential to be used to assess the exposure to ticks harboring this bacterium. In prospect, additional antigens from M. mitochondrii and tick salivary glands should be investigated and incorporated in a multi-antigen test for tick bite diagnosis.



This is an interesting study with future potential. Essentially they are saying since Lyme is so hard to detect – find its friends and you may find Lyme.

I’ve written about endosymbionts before, particularly Wolbachia:

Briefly, endosymbionts are organisms living in the body or cells of another organism in a symbiotic relationshipwhich isn’t always of mutual benefit. An example of a mutualistic relationship is the protozoan endosymbionts inside a termite which help it to break down the wood it eats.
However, in the case of Wolbachia, while the benefit between itself and the worms it lives in may be mutualistic, it’s caused harm in dogs being treated for heart worm. Heart worm medication causes Wolbachia to be released into the blood and tissues causing severe Inflammation in pulmonary artery endothelium which may form thrombi and interstitial inflammation. Wolbachia also activates pro inflammatory cytokines. For human Lyme/MSIDS patients this could translate out to a similar result when they are treated for worms, which ticks also carry.
What I find interesting here is that both Midichloria and Wolbachia are in the same subclass of Rickettsidae and order Rickettsiales. Guess who else is in these groups?
  • Rickettsia
  • Ehrlichia
Both of which cause a variety of human and animal illness.

The question of course is, could these supposedly harmless endosymbionts be responsible for more than they are given credit for? Testing for them may not only reveal that Lyme is present but in fact that they are contributing to the problem. Sounds like an exciting field of discovery.