Wednesday, May 4, 2011


The 30th Anniversay of Lyme Disease and Medical Conference.

Lyme Disease Conference: No Compassion Observed - May 7, 2005

By Marjorie Tietjen
Reprint from with permission.

Professor Garth Nicolson is President and Chief Scientific Officer for the Institute of Molecular Medicine ( A main interest of his is researching the role of chronic infections in many different chronic diseases such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Gulf War Illness, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis and autoimmune diseases.

One of the first things that Prof. Nicolson mentioned was that a large subset of Chronic fatigue patients actually have Lyme Disease. Nicolson feels that Chronic Lyme involves viruses, bacteria and fungus. He says that this chronic state evolves over time. The Lyme infection can weaken the system and allow for these additional microbes to accumulate. It is also possible that it could work the other way around. A collection of other microbes, besides Lyme, could weaken the immune system, which could then allow Lyme to become chronic.

Nicolson discussed co-morbid states, explaining that most patients with chronic illness are infected with more than one pathogen. Each disease causes its own problems and this could be the reason why so many signs and symptoms keep shifting. Some of the culprits he mentioned are: mycoplasma, chlamydia, rickettsia, brucella, borrelia, coxiela, EBV, HHV6, CMV, enterovirus, Hepatitis C and fungus.

Each patient has their own unique overlap of symptoms. Because of this they end up going to different specialists who hand them a specific disease label to match their set of symptoms. There are usually no definite tests, causes or cures for all the subsets; only symptomatic treatments are offered. In the meantime, these infections continue to weaken the body.

Fatigue is the most common symptom of all those diseases because the pathogenic intracellular bacteria attack the mitochondria or battery of the cell. Lipids are the insulation for these mitochondria, and when the lipid membranes are stripped off, this depletes the energy and this is why fatigue is the most common complaint. One of the keys to improvement then would be to somehow restore the mitochondria of the cell in order to restore energy. Some nutritional supplements can restore mitochondrial function and therefore improve energy.

Nicolson also advised checking for dental infections in chronic illness, as this is a very efficient means of transporting germs into the body. And he noted that being bitten by a tick is not the only way to acquire these infections. Some are sexually transmitted, and some can be passed through the placenta, breast milk, tears and other bodily fluids.

One of the most important bits of advice he shared with us was to keep your immune system in tip top shape. He suggested reducing alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fats. Some of the immune enhancements he spoke of were: natural antimicrobial products, hyperbaric oxygen treatment, hydrogen peroxide baths, ozone therapy, Infrared saunas and sublingual B vitamins. Vitamins C, E and CoQ10 were also thought to be needed. Helpful minerals mentioned were zinc, chromium, magnesium and selenium. He stressed the fact that antibiotics by themselves will not cure you. It is up to the patient to follow appropriate healthful suggestions.

Professor Nicolson also spoke about Gulf War Illness and how it's symptoms mirror Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme, Fibromyalgia and certain other diseases. For more detailed information, read the abstract of the following study: “Mycoplasmal Infections in Chronic Illnesses: Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndromes, Gulf War Illness, HIV-AIDS and Rheumatoid Arthritis”.

Trevor Marshall, PhD, is the chairman of the Autoimmunity Research Foundation. He has developed The Marshall Protocol for the treatment of Th1 diseases, including Borrelia. Trevor Marshall was originally working with Sarcoidosis and eventually discovered that the solution for Sarcoidosis was also the solution for Lyme disease and other chronic infections.

The Marshall Protocol focuses on curing the disease itself. He uses a drug named Benicar in his protocol and avoidance of sunlight. For a deeper discussion and explanation of this treatment please visit his site.

Dr. Lesley Ann Fein was the Master of Ceremonies at the conference. She holds both an MD and an MPH, and completed her Fellowship in Rheumatology at New York University. She is an experienced researcher and a seasoned public speaker.

She spoke mostly about Bartonella, or Cat Scratch Disease. But first she raised the question, " Why do doctors get into trouble for treating Lyme disease?" She listed insurance statistics which pointed to why the insurance companies are playing a major role in the persecution of doctors who treat Chronic Lyme and as to why patients are not receiving treatment..

Regarding Cat Scratch Disease or Bartonella, Dr. Fein told us that the disease has been recognized since 1950. Most of us think of it as being transmitted solely by the scratch of a cat. However, it has been postulated that it can also be transmitted by a tick. According to a recent article published by Drs. Eskow and Mordecai, there have been several identified cases where Lyme Disease and Bartonella co-exist in the same patient, which raises the question: “Can Bartonella be another infection transmitted by ticks?”

We were told that 70% of the ticks in the Netherlands were positive for Bartonella and that in New Jersey more ticks tested positive for Bartonella than Lyme. Bartonella cases also correspond to the same time of year as Lyme cases, which suggests that Bartonella can also be passed by ticks.

The Central Nervous System (CNS) symptoms of Bartonella are very similar to those of Lyme. There were 327 patients initially treated for Lyme and 92% of them tested positive for Bartonella. Fein said that Bartonella is difficult to diagnose and treat and becomes chronic in an unknown number of people.. She says that further studies should be initiated to better understand this issue. Testing for this infection is very important because Bartonella requires different treatment than does Lyme. Some antibiotics which work best for treating Lyme would not work well in the treatment of Bartonella.

Dr. Steven Phillips wrapped up our conference with a comprehensive and informative presentation concentrating on the connections between Lyme Disease and Multiple Sclerosis. He is the President of the International Lyme and associated Diseases Society (ILADS), and has been researching Lyme Disease for the past 15 years.

Dr. Phillips spoke of the cyst or L form of the Lyme spirochete and how the approved current testing does not look for these forms. The Lyme organism can change forms according to the condition of the body. The proteins on the spiral forms are very different from the proteins on the cyst form. He made some interesting points; he believes that most people with Lyme are asymptomatic and that Lyme can have a long latency period - neurologic symptoms can present themselves many years later after the initial infection or bite.

He went on to say that Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic central nervous system infection similar to Lyme. Every feature you see associated with M. S. can also be found in Lyme. Lyme testing is badly flawed, but even with these drawbacks, it has been found that M.S. patients are twice as likely to test positive for Lyme.

Phillips said that when the spiral form of Bb was injected into the spinal fluid, there was 100% conversion of Bb from the spiral form to the cystic or L form. The cyst forms of the Lyme germ are being found in the spinal fluid of M.S. patients. He then made the following crucial point: steroids are frequently used to treat M.S., but steroids can increase bacterial growth and make Lyme much worse. Lyme testing is very inaccurate, especially in those with a long-term chronic illness.

Dr. Phillips presented study after study which support the fact that chronic Lyme is not a "post Lyme" autoimmune condition but rather an ongoing chronic infection. He also showed us an extensive number of studies which link M.S to Lyme Disease, and explained that one of the clues that Lyme can be a chronic infection is the herxheimer reaction. A herxheimer reaction is a worsening of symptoms when initially being treated with antimicrobials. This indicates that the treatment is working, -that the medicines are hitting the target and creating a type of cleansing reaction.

Phillips strongly suggested that Bb may be one of the causes of M.S. He stressed that persistent infection can occur despite long-term antibiotics. He also mentioned that brain and cervical cord lesions are found in both Lyme and M.S. Phillips called for a large-scale treatment of antibiotics in Multiple Sclerosis.

This conference was not concerned exclusively with the Lyme bacteria but was revealing to us that Borrelia burgdorferi, along with many other co-infections may be at the root of many of our autoimmune diseases.


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