The intensely oppositional theories about Lyme disease and the proper treatment of Lyme disease is widely spread and frequently debated between Medical Societies, University Medical Centers, medical practices, politicians and scientists around the world. However, it is less often that these groups argue amongst themselves publicly.
Last week sent a wave of delight (for Lyme groups) and shock (from the conventional medical establishment) when the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Inc. spoke out against the IDSA Guidelines in a press release: http://www.aapsonline.org/testimony/lyme-disease-guidelines-comments.php.
I have just become aware of another schism that is occurring just miles from Columbia University’s Lyme and Tick Borne Disease Research Center, located in northern Manhattan NYC at Yale University’s Medical Center in New Haven, CT where the IDSA guidelines have held sway since their inception. I had the privilege of seeing Dr. Amiram Katz, assistant clinical professor of neurology at Yale, believes that denying the possibility of persistent infection is counterproductive and ultimately harmful.
“In the textbook of pathology, which every medical student reads, it is written that there is chronic Lyme.… We know from syphilis [a spirochetal infection similar to Lyme disease] that this type of bacteria, the spirochete, can be alive and persistent, though at times dormant,” he says. Katz asserts that refusing to accept the evidence for chronic infection is “an example of how people are going to an extreme and damaging both themselves and the patients.”
On May 2, 2009, Dr. Andrew Wilner reported online (complete story on the Doctor’s Guide Peer View) about a study conducted by Dr. Katz and presented in Seattle Washington at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) 61st annual meeting.
Dr. Katz has been treating patients with persistent neurological symptoms with infusions of immunoglobulin (in appropriate medical cases) and finding remarkable success.
Dr. Wilner reported that all patients were treated with immunoglobulin for at least 6 months, and that after the treatment 100% of his patients showed improvement.
“The diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease is not widely accepted, yet these patients have symptoms and nerve biopsies that respond to IVIG treatment, legitimising their complaints,” concluded Dr. Katz.
I don’t know if I will be given this immunoglobulin treatment or not, but I am excited to be under the care of a logical thinking scientist and medical doctor who look at the evidence instead of listening to the predjudice of their colleagues “belief system.”
As more and more medical doctors push their way out of the box to help their desperate and suffering patients to find that longer courses of antibiotics acyually improves symptoms – the faster mainstream medicine will be forced to re-evaluate their position. Of course we all hope that the re-writing of the IDSA guidelines will be influenced by doctors who are successfully treating Lyme disease and NOT theorotizing academicians or doctors with no experience at all!
Additional hope comes from the political sector.Last Thursday afternoon (April 30, 2009), in Hartford, Connecticut, the House of Representatives unanimously voted, just as the Health Committee had, on a bill that takes what will hopefully be viewed as a nationally recognized stand in the heated debate over the existence of chronic Lyme disease.
“It comes down on the side of people who suffer from Lyme in this big debate,” Rep. William Tong, D-Stamford, a bill co-sponsor, said according to Greenwich Times following the vote. “It says the scientific community can have that debate but we’re not going to let anybody else go without treatment.”
Brian Lockhart, staff writer for Greenwich Times further wrote:
“Although the state Department of Public Health does not expressly forbid long-term antibiotic treatment for Lyme, the national Infectious Diseases Society has dismissed chronic Lyme as a myth.
Those who believe in chronic Lyme argue this makes state physicians fearful of being reported to the health department if they choose to recognize and treat chronic Lyme.
“There is a ‘chill effect’” on doctors, Rep. Jason Bartlett, D-Bethel, said.
Rep. Kimberly Fawcett, D-Fairfield, who helped spearhead the bill, told her colleagues prior to Thursday’s vote: “We recognize this controversy in diagnosing this disease. But let’s give our doctors the freedom and autonomy.”
Rep. Scribner, R-Brookfield, a member of the legislature’s Public Health Committee, agreed.
“We’ve witnessed many people who have suffered long term,” he said. “I strongly urge all the chamber to consider this measure which I think is a very responsible measure.” The Connecticut Medical Society supported the bill. The Society is not taking a stand on chronic Lyme disease but believes physicians should have the right to treat patients as they see fit.
The legislation would require a chronic Lyme diagnosis be made based on medical history and a physical. It only allows long-term antibiotics for chronic Lyme disease and the language does not preclude the state from investigating physicians for wrongly prescribing medicines.
Thankfully this bill appears to be on a fast track to become law in the very state where Dr. Katz is branching out into new medical territory with immunoglobulin infusions. By taking the fear of litigation from the medical board away, pioneering medical doctors with intuitive genius (not only like Dr. Katz but the Lyme pediatrician Dr. Jones, Psychiatrist Brian Fallon and Pathologist Dr. Alan B. MacDonald to name just a few) to continue their brave exploration into the frightening territory of chronic neurological Lyme disease.
(Originally posted on November 2, 2011)