Diagnosis for Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a “clinical” diagnosis (like depression), which requires a knowledgeable “Lyme-literate” doctor to piece together the clues.  Diagnostic tests are supposed to support a diagnosis only.

In early 2012 it was not possible to get a diffinitive diagnosis through a regular doctor.  The reason?  The IDSA (Infectious Disease Society of America requires a two-tiered blood test for diagnosing Lyme that according to the CDC routinely misses 50% or more of those who are infected. 

However as of 8/1/2012, there is a new test that is 94% accurate! This blood test will test for multiple species of Borrelia, and verify any finding with DNA. The test was developed with the assistance of Dr. Burrascano, but unfortunately it has been black balled by the state of New York and bad mouthed by the CDC. Dr. Jemsek says in  “Emmergence”, the sequel to Under Our Skin, that it is the first time in history that the CDC has put down a diagnostic tool – all the more concerning due to the desperate need for a test that can accurately diagnose those caught in this raging epidemic.. See  Advanced Laboratory Services Spirochete Culture.

If you can ask for a test, the ITT/Cytokine test by Neurosciences called “My Lyme Immune ID” test.  Read about it here. Dr. Chitra Bhakta describes applications of the MY Lyme Immune I.D. test in her practice below.

For the most detailed information on how to diagnose Lyme disease see: Dr. Burrascano’s Lyme Treatment Guidelines.These were updated in 2008 however, you must have Adobe free reader installed to download the file.  You can download your free Adobe reader here.  Another excellent resource is published by ILADS here: http://www.ilads.org/files/ILADS_Guidelines.pdf.

CD-57 –  Research breakthroughs by Dr Joseph Burrascano and Dr. Ray Stricker, Directors of ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society) and long-time medical practitioners’, have shown a correlation between the CD-57 fighter cells and Lyme disease.   This is how it works:

Chronic Lyme infections are known to suppress the immune system. The Lyme spirochete can affect all major cell types of the immune system, but it most clearly can impact a specific subset of the natural killer cells. This is called the CD-57 subset, and is part of the immune system which fights cancer. (Indeed the specialists who have been studying this correlation fear that chronic Lyme may undermine the body’s cancer fighting ability.)

Just as in HIV infection, which suppresses T-cell counts, Lyme suppresses Natural killer cell count such as CD57. As in HIV infection, where abnormally low T-cell counts are routinely used as a marker of how active the infection is, in Lyme disease we can use the CD-57 count to indicate how active the Lyme infection is. When Lyme is active, the CD-57 count is low.

According to Dr. Burrascano and Dr. Stricker, low CD57 occurs in chronic Lyme or when the disease has been active for over 1 year. Often reffered to as the Stricker/Burrascano panel, the count reflects the degree of infection.

*   0 – 60 indicates severe illness

*     60 – 100 the range for most chronic Lyme disease

*     100 – 200 may show improvement, still requires treatment

*     >200 is normal and safe to stop treatment without relapse

 If you want to use this test as part of your health screen, Lyme screen or to track your progress here are his instructions and references below:

  1. Call LabCorp at 1-800-888-1113. Ask for LabCorp Test # 505026, HNK (CD57) panel.
  2. As an alternative, contact Clinical Pathology Labs at 1-800-595-1275. Ask for Test # 4885, CD57 Panel for Lyme disease.

Most commercial tests designed to detect chronic infections are based on measuring your immune reaction—the presence of antibodies—to the invading microbe. However, one of the primary cells that get infected with Lyme spirochetes are the white blood cells themselves, which is a bit of a game-changer… because if your white blood cells are infected, they lose the ability to produce antibodies.

That’s why it is relatively common to get a negative test result…

Dr. Klinghardt refers to this as “the Lyme paradox,” because in order to diagnose Lyme disease properly with one of the accepted commercial tests, you have to first treat the Lyme disease, in order for your white blood cells to be able to mount an appropriate immune response. Only then can a lab test be used to detect the presence of Lyme disease.

“An exception to that are the test based on direct microscopy, where you’re not depending on the immune responses for the patient,” he explains.

However, this too has its drawbacks and difficulties. For example, the FISH test for Babesia is done on blood. But Babesia lives in the central nervous system, joints, and connective tissue. It doesn’t live in your blood stream, at least not in significant amounts, so it can easily be missed when looking at blood.

PCR – The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a technique widely used in molecular biology, and is part of the Western Blot.  However, there are many other sensitive PCR tests which can be used to identify infectious diseases including Chlamydia Pneumoniae, Secondary Porphyria and other co-infections.

Immunoserology  – Immunosciences Lab is now providing a series of panels which appear to be more sensitive than the Western Blot, and test for more sub-species antibodies and co-infections.  Time will tell whether or not these panels will be helpful.

Another new test called VCS delivered by Dr. Shoemaker.

Important Notes on Diagnosis:

  • Fewer than 50% of LD patients recall a tick bite or rash.
  • Lyme disease is greatly complicated by dozens of co-infections .
  • Lyme spirochetes can penetrate the central nervous system within 24 hours of tick bite according to Dr. Coyle at Stony Brook University.
  • Sometimes people don’t get symptoms for years after they are bitten, so they don’t realize they are infected.
  • A 1998 Swiss study showed that only 12.5 percent of Bb positive patients had symptoms.

If you are sick and treatments don’t seem to help you may have heavy metal toxicity.  

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