An illness transmitted by a tick, Lyme disease is found in all 50 of the United States and many countries worldwide. sometimes the term "Lyme Disease" is used to indicate a complex illness that includes other diseases transmitted by ticks, such as Ehrlichia, Bartonella, Babesia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and others.

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New Study Finds Lyme Bacteria Survive a 28-day Course of Antibiotics When Treated Four Months After Infection by Tick Bite

Risk of Tick Bites in Tall Grass

Risk of Tick Bites in Tall Grass

All subjects treated with antibiotics were found to have some level of infection 7–12 months post treatment.

Despite testing negative by antibody tests for Lyme disease, two of 10 subjects were still infected with Lyme bacteria in heart and bladder.

Lyme bacteria which persist are still viable.

Portola Valley, California, Dec. 13, 2017 — Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the US, today announced results of two papers published in the peer-reviewed journals PLOS ONE (read full paper) and American Journal of Pathology (read full paper), that seem to support claims of lingering symptoms reported by many patients who have already received antibiotic treatment for the disease.

Based on a single, extensive study of Lyme disease designed by Tulane University researchers, the study employed multiple methods to evaluate the presence of Borrelia burgdorferi spirochetes, the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, before and after antibiotic treatment in primates. The study also measured the antibody immune response to the bacteria both pre- and post- treatment, as this is how current diagnostics typically evaluate Lyme disease in humans.

The data show that living B. burgdorferi spirochetes were found in ticks that fed upon the primates and in multiple organs after treatment with 28 days of oral doxycycline. The results also indicated that the immune response to the bacteria varied widely in both treated and untreated subjects.

“It is apparent from these data that B. burgdorferi bacteria, which have had time to adapt to their host, have the ability to escape immune recognition, tolerate the antibiotic doxycycline and invade vital organs such as the brain and heart,” said lead author Monica Embers, PhD, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at Tulane University School of Medicine.

“In this study, we were able to observe the existence of microscopic disease and low numbers of bacteria, which would be difficult to see in humans but could possibly be the cause of the variable and nonspecific symptoms that are characteristic of post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. Although current antibiotic regimens may cure most patients who are treated early, if the infection is allowed to progress, the 28-day treatment may be insufficient, based on these findings,” Embers said.

The findings also demonstrated:

  • All subjects treated with antibiotics were found to have some level of infection 7-12 months post treatment.
  • Despite testing negative by antibody tests for Lyme disease, two of 10 subjects were still infected with Lyme bacteria in heart and bladder.
  • Lyme bacteria which persist are still viable.

To better elucidate previous animal studies demonstrating that some B. burgdorferi bacteria survive antibiotics, the study explored Lyme disease infection in rhesus macaque primates treated with antibiotics and a control group who were also infected but not treated. This species has been shown to demonstrate a progression of Lyme disease most similar to humans, particularly related to erythema migrans, carditis, arthritis, and neuropathy of the peripheral and central nervous systems.

“Clearly, some medical practices governing diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease should be reconsidered in light of this study. This study shows that we must reevaluate the current paradigm of antibody response tests for diagnosis and move away from the one size fits all approach to Lyme treatment,” said Wendy Adams, Research Grant Director, Bay Area Lyme Foundation. “Every day, patients with Lyme disease are told their symptoms cannot be caused by Lyme, because they test negative on antibody tests or because they have received a single course of antibiotics. More research and funding are imperative.”

In the study, ticks carrying B. burgdorferi spirochetes fed on ten primates. Four months post infection, half of the primates (five) received the antibiotic doxycycline orally for 28 days at a proportional dose to that used in human treatment. Five subjects were treated with placebo and all ten were evaluated by more than five different diagnostic methods to characterize any remaining infection. The researchers used several important techniques, including xenodiagnoses, to determine if the spirochete bacteria persisted.

The results show:

Few subjects displayed a rash. Although all subjects were infected, only one of the 10 displayed a rash with central clearing, the classical “bulls-eye” rash. The subject that developed this rash, interestingly, never mounted an immune response to five borrelia antigens throughout the study period, prior to and following treatment.

Organs may be infected even if antibody tests are negative. One subject which tested negative for B. burgdorferi by skin biopsy cultures, PCR and in vivo cultures, was found to have B. burgdorferi infecting the heart. Another untreated subject, who was ultimately shown to have residual Lyme bacteria in the bladder, showed a decrease in immune response over the course of infection, with a negative xenodiagnosis test in the late stage, which would signal that the animal self-cured.

Intact spirochetes were found in three of five treated and four of five untreated subjects based on xenodiagnosis results 12 months after the tick bite.

Immune responses to B. burgdorferi varied greatly post-treatment, with one subjects antibody levels dropping to pre-bite levels for three antigens while another subject experienced elevated antibodies for the same antigens throughout the study period. This is significant because it demonstrates that subjects infected with the same strain of B. burgdorferi may have different immune responses to the same antigen. And, because humans, like primates, are genetically diverse, it underscores that testing antibody responses may be inherently unreliable as a singular diagnostic modality for Lyme disease.

Widespread and variable microscopic disease was observed in all infected subjects, despite antibiotic treatment. Compared to uninfected subjects of the same age, infected subjects in this study (treated and untreated) demonstrated Inflammation in and around the heart, in skeletal muscles, joints, and the protective sheath that covers the brain, and near peripheral nerves.
Rare, but intact B. burgdorferi spirochetes were found in the tissues of both the treated and untreated subjects. In two subjects treated with doxycycline, multiple Lyme bacteria were observed in the brain tissue. Others organs in which the spirochetes were observed included the heart, joints, bladder, skeletal muscle and adjacent to peripheral nerves.

Variable manifestations, diverse seroreactivity and post-treatment persistence in non-human primates exposed to Borrelia burgdorferi by tick feeding

Late Disseminated Lyme Disease: Associated Pathology and Spirochete Persistence Posttreatment in Rhesus Macaques

About Lyme disease
One of the most common infectious diseases in the country, Lyme disease is a potentially disabling infection caused by bacteria transmitted through the bite of an infected tick to people and pets. If caught early, most cases of Lyme disease can be effectively treated, but it is commonly misdiagnosed due to lack of awareness and unreliable diagnostic tests. There are about 329,000 new cases of Lyme disease each year, according to statistics released in 2015 by the CDC. As a result of the difficulty in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease, as many as one million Americans may be suffering from the impact of its debilitating long-term symptoms and complications, according to Bay Area Lyme Foundation estimates.

About Bay Area Lyme Foundation
Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a national organization committed to making Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure, is the leading public foundation sponsor of innovative Lyme disease research in the US. A 501c3 non-profit organization based in Silicon Valley, Bay Area Lyme collaborates with world-class scientists and institutions to accelerate medical breakthroughs for Lyme disease. It is also dedicated to providing reliable, fact-based information so that prevention and the importance of early treatment are common knowledge. A pivotal donation from The Laure L STEM Fund covers all overhead costs and allows for 100% of all donor contributions to Bay Area Lyme Foundation to go directly to research and prevention programs. For more information about Lyme disease or to get involved, visit www.bayarealyme.org or call us at 650-530-2439.

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FREE! Lyme Disease Education Seminar with Carolyn B Welcome, PA-C

Lyme Disease Conference- Chico,CA

Carolyn B. Welcome, PA-C, will be the Keynote Speaker, raising awareness about Lyme disease early detection and prevention. Her clinical specialty is Lyme disease and related infections. She learned from Dr. Bernard Raxlen that treating complex chronic illness requires a working “knowledge of neurology, psychiatry, rheumatology, ophthalmology, gastroenterology, gynecology, endocrinology” as well as the ability to listen with compassion. Carolyn’s time working with the practitioners at Gordon Medical has added a new array of tools in her arsenal of options to treat Lyme disease.

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Catching Up with Dr. Elizabeth Large, N.D.

By Carolyn B. Welcome, PA-C

Dr. Elizabeth Large divides her time between GMA’s main office in Santa Rosa and its new waterfront location in San Rafael. Among the many tools in her toolbox, this naturopathic physician offers expertise in Methyl Genetic Nutrition Analysis (MGNA), a program that provides in-depth interpretation of data from 23andMe genetic testing. This method has allowed her to home in on her patients’ individual needs.  Dr. Large’s toolbox also includes Chinese and Western plant-based treatments, Low Dose Immunotherapy (LDI),* oral and intravenous antibiotics, IV therapy and hormones.

“Natural medicine is not one size fits all,” she notes.

Eric Gordon, MD and Elizabeth Large, ND at GMA - Maggie Perkins 2017

Eric Gordon, MD and Elizabeth Large, ND at GMA – Maggie Perkins 2017

Thanks to the information given by MGNA, Dr. Large is seeing fast and quite amazing results in patients who have had health problems for most of their lives.

“When you see a lot of variants in one area – histamines, for example,” she explains, “it might help to explain unresolved issues.” [Read more…]

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Join Wayne Anderson, ND FREE on Monday to learn about Lyme disease!

Online FREE from
June 19-26, 2017

The Chronic Lyme Disease Summit 2 starts on June 19th, and tens of thousands will learn from the expert protocols that could radically improve the life of someone with Lyme disease.

Will you be there? I will be speaking on June 19 (Day One), so be sure to get registered now! I will discuss the different types of Borrelia, the Renaissance of Lyme disease treatment, and challenge versus treatment protocols. You can also purchase the full Summit to watch at your own pace. See the link below to find a package that works best for you.

Chronic Lyme Disease Summit 2 [Read more…]

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Elizabeth Large Featured in Press Democrat Article on Lyme Disease

Lucia Montiel, 9, uses a wheelchair to move around her Sonoma coast home since being diagnosed with Lyme disease (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

Lucia Montiel, 9, uses a wheelchair to move around her Sonoma coast home since being diagnosed with Lyme disease (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

Lyme disease leaves victims frustrated, searching for answers

Excerpted from an article by MARTIN ESPINOZA
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT | May 18, 2017

Treating these infections is like working in the dark,” said Large, adding that ticks can cause multiple infections. “You’re looking to find the light switch. Hopefully, the more you treat, you start to get a clearer picture of the infections the patient has.

Although tick activity is high in the spring and early summer, ticks are active yearlong, [Read more…]

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“Look of Lyme” Video Channel Launch at Under Our Skin

Look of Lyme
From Under Our Skin

What Does Your Lyme Look Like?

Look of Lyme is a new initiative by the makers of UNDER OUR SKIN to bring your personal stories of suffering and courage into the limelight. While the Internet and social media have exploded with personal videos, there is no place that serves as a repository and archive of the ever changing and growing landscape of Lyme disease. Look of Lyme changes that, offering a way to make the personal political by harnessing the power of crowdsourcing and media. Our individual stories create a collective story that cannot be dismissed! Also, as we begin to develop a third film in the UNDER OUR SKIN collection, Look of Lyme is a way we can screen for possible film subjects. After receiving your videos and possibly editing them for brevity, consistency and branding, we’ll present them on a new YouTube channel accessible to millions worldwide.

Go to the Look of Lyme webpage to get guidlines on how to film and submit your video.

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Wayne Anderson, ND at the Chronic Lyme Disease Summit 2

Online FREE from
June 19-26, 2017

Join Wayne Anderson, ND

online at the Chronic Lyme Disease Summit 2

June 19-26, 2017! – Webinar – Register for Free Now!

*more information on the summit available soon

Dr. Anderson will be speaking on Day 1, June 19. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear him speak about his unique understanding of treatment for Lyme disease and the coinfections seen with it.

A curious and dedicated clinician, Dr. Anderson is committed to the ongoing process of learning and teaching. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Anderson maintained his initial focus on teaching. For over 20 years he taught medical students at Touro Osteopathic Medical School, and supervised residents from Sutter Hospital and interns from the Physician Assistant programs in the clinic setting. He is also a popular speaker on the topics of Lyme disease and neurotoxin illness. He has spoken at conferences for the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM),  Orthomolecular Health Medicine (OHM), and Lyme Induced Autism (LIA), as well as select private symposiums on CFIDS, Lyme, and Autism.

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Update on SISOH Metabolomics Research 4/6/17

Eric Gordon MD and Wayne Anderson ND at SISOH

Eric Gordon MD and Wayne Anderson ND – photo courtesy of the Press Democrat, Christopher Chung

From Eric Gordon, MD

Many of you are probably wondering where we are with the SISOH research. Good news is that Kelly Fox, previously one of the Medical Assistants at GMA, has come on as a full-time Research Coordinator! Kelly is very experienced in working with chronically ill patients, and we think you will find her a delight to work with.

Our ongoing CFS/ME studies are group studies working to develop an accepted group of biomarkers to define people with CFS/ME. We have enrolled all the patients in the replication study with Dr. Cheney, and hope to publish that in fall of 2017. [Read more…]

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GMA Welcomes Elizabeth Large, ND Back to Our Offices!

Elizabeth Large, NDBy Elizabeth Large, ND

Gordon Medical is delighted to have Elizabeth Large, ND back in our offices! Dr. Large is a board-certified Naturopathic doctor with 15 years clinical experience treating complex illness. She is trained as a primary doctor but her clinical emphasis is focused on treating complex disorders that might encompass the following: Chronic Lyme disease or infection, digestive disorders, chronic fatigue, mood disorders, allergies and endocrine imbalances. If you have seen numerous doctors for your medical condition without benefit, you are in the right place.

After many years of practice, Dr. Large began seeing patterns emerge among her patients, both pediatric and adult. Her patient population exhibited similar symptoms such as chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, chronic digestive issues, high reactivity to foods and medications and other unusual symptoms. She discovered that many of her patients were suffering from chronic infections or neurotoxic illnesses such as Lyme disease, co-infections, mold and/or heavy metal toxicity. [Read more…]

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Help Set the Lyme Research Agenda with Lymedisease.org Survey

Lyme Research AgendaToday, LymeDisease.org launches a survey of 25 research questions for the community to vote on and prioritize. The answers will be used to develop a research agenda for the Lyme community which will be publicized and used as a tool to give patients a voice in the funding of research. The ultimate goal is to ensure that research that matters to patients is funded.

Take the Survey

Read more at Lyme Policy Wonk