lyme & co-infections

an epidemic coming to your backyard soon

Focus On: Lyme DiseaseAs Stephen Harrod Buhner explained in his brilliant book Healing Lyme: Natural Healing And Prevention of Lyme Borreliosis And Its Coinfections, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease—Borrelia burgdorferi—is a pathogenic spirochete that “acts like nothing so much as an exceptionally intelligent protozoal parasite.” When “starved,” the spirochete will change into an encysted form that can survive freezing and thawing and still cause infection in animals. There are many species of the spirochete that causes lyme disease—the three main species being Borrelia burgdorferi, B. afzelii, and B. garinii—and they are each more commonly found in different places on the globe. These corkscrew-shaped spirochetes have an affinity for cartilage, into which they burrow easily. The most severe form of the illness occurs when the bacteria make their way into the brain, causing deep neurological damage that might result in seizures, cognitive difficulty, and a loss of the ability to walk or function, among other symptoms. The strength of one’s immune system may play a role in the severity of the outcome.

Making matters more complicated, Lyme disease is often accompanied by “co-infections” like Babesia, Bartonella, and Ehrlichia which all cause their own distinct disease process. Due in part to the wide range of symptoms and prevailing ignorance in Western medicine about the disease, Lyme and its co-infections are notoriously difficult to diagnose and sufferers may go 20+ years without a diagnosis. It doesn’t help that there is also a huge controversy within the medical and healthcare fields about how to diagnose and treat Lyme Disease.

At the heart of the controversy is whether Lyme is treatable by a short dose of one antibiotic or whether years of multiple antibiotics are needed to eradicate the Lyme infection. This has huge financial considerations for the health insurance industry. For most, long-term antibiotic treatment is just not possible without insurance coverage. The insurance companies are putting up a big fight, and in the process creating a witch-hunt against some of the most successful LLMDs (Lyme Literate MDs) practicing today. In the end, the patients suffer.

The website for the excellent and insightful film Under Our Skin: The Untold Story of Lyme Disease offers a well-written background on this illness:

In the early 1970’s, a mysterious ailment was discovered among children living around the town of Lyme, CT. What was first diagnosed as isolated cases of juvenile arthritis, eventually became known as Lyme disease, an illness triggered by spiral-shaped bacteria, similar to the microorganisms that cause syphilis. Today, many of those untreated will suffer chronic debilitating illness. Some unknowingly will pass the disease on to their unborn children. Many will lose their livelihoods, and still others, their lives.

Yet Lyme disease is one of the most misunderstood and controversial illnesses of our time. Difficult to test accurately, tens of thousands of people go undiagnosed—or misdiagnosed with such conditions as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, autism, MS and ALS. The Centers for Disease Control admits that more than 200,000 people may acquire Lyme disease each year, a number greater than AIDS, West Nile Virus, and Avian Flu combined. And yet, the medical establishment-with profound influence from the insurance industry-has stated that the disease is easily detectable and treatable, and that “chronic Lyme” is some other unrecognized syndrome or a completely psychosomatic disorder.”

Planet Thrive recommends Healing Lyme by Stephen Harrod Buhner and Cure, Unknown by Pamela Weintraub as must-reads and Under Our Skin as a must-see for anyone who has Lyme disease or knows someone who has Lyme disease. They will change the way you think about the disease completely. We were blessed to have Stephen Harrod Buhner as a columnist on our site for many years, where he answered your questions on his herbal protocol, which can be used to help manage symptoms on its own or in conjunction with long-term antibiotic therapy. While Stephen Buhner is no longer living and his column is closed to new questions, it is archived here where you can see his responses to hundreds of questions about his lyme protocol. We also offer many other quality Lyme resources, please explore the links below.

photo: © Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Dr. Burrascano's Diagnostic Hints and Guidelines LymeNet Discussion Forums Stephen Harrod Buhner's Healing Lyme Q&A


Dr. Klinghardt on Lyme Disease Melissa Kaplan's Lyme Disease Columbia University Medical Center's Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center

Ritchie J. Shoemaker, MD's International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) Scott Forsgren's

Lyme Articles by James L. Schaller, MD Igenex Laboratory, specializing in Lyme Disease Bryan Rosner's

Cure, Unknown by Pamela Weintraub Healing Lyme: Natural Healing And Prevention of Lyme Borreliosis And Its Coinfections by Stephen Harrod Buhner The Top 10 Lyme Disease Treatments: Defeat Lyme Disease with the Best of Conventional and Alternative Medicine by Bryan Rosner When Antibiotics Fail: Lyme Disease and Rife Machines, with Critical Evaluation of Leading Alternative Therapies by Bryan Rosner

Bartonella: Diagnosis and Treatment by James L. Schaller MD Babesia Update 2009: A Cause of Excess Weight, Migraines and Fatigue? by James Schaller M.D. The Lyme-Autism Connection: Unveiling the Shocking Link Between Lyme Disease and Childhood Developmental Disorders by Tami Duncan and Bryan Rosner The Lyme Disease Survival Guide: Physical, Lifestyle, and Emotional Strategies for Healing by Connie Strasheim

Under Our Skin: The Untold Story of Lyme Disease

Scott Forsgren's Newsletter Public Health Alert