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Treatment: Antibiotics or Herbs?

Question:

Is it possible to effectively treat Lyme disease and co-infections without antibiotics?  Is the immune system able to wipe it out if given the right support?

Dr. Eric GordonAnswer from Dr. Eric Gordon:

I would say unequivocally, maybe. The difficulty goes to the heart of the Lyme war between ILADS  and the IDSA. Since active Lyme is a clinical diagnosis, which means it is determined by the patient’s history and current symptoms, we can’t really say how many people diagnosed with Lyme have Lyme, or other infectious or toxin caused diseases.  If you look at symptom lists, the overlap with other illnesses is huge.

My answer is yes, I have read reports of people treated with herbs, and their symptoms and their CD57 tests have normalized. In my practice,  I often start with herbal treatments, but almost always use antibiotics at some point in the therapy. The biggest issue is not drugs vs. herbs, but rather the underlying toxicity of the person, and whether or not their immune system can manage inflammation.  I have had several patients who had severe “Herx’s” to herbs and yet did well on antibiotics. [Read more…]

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Coinfection Testing

Question: Does Igenex Labs Test for coinfections?

Answered by Susan Friedl – Gordon Medical Research Coordinator:

Igenex Labs does test for many of the tick borne coinfections, including a variety of tests for Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease), Babesia microti and Babesia duncani, Human Monocytic Ehrlichia and Anaplasma Phagocytophila, Bartonella henselae, and Rickettsia species (Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Mediterranean spotted fever, Boutonneuse fever, Israeli spotted fever, Astrakhan fever, Indian tick typhus, Murine typhus, Cat flea rickettsiosis, flea-borne typhus.) [Read more…]

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Lyme During Pregnancy

Question:

I passed Lyme to both of my children. If they are on antibiotics during pregnancy, will it prevent passing the Lyme to their children?

Dr. Eric GordonAnswer from Dr. Eric Gordon:

If your children have active Lyme, treatment before pregnancy would be the best course.  Treatment during pregnancy with antibiotics does prevent transmission of Lyme. Certain antibiotics have been found, in the proper doses, to prevent transmission, and to be safe for the fetus.

There may be a chance of transmission of Lyme bacteria in breast milk, also. If you still have active Lyme disease, you should discuss with your physician whether you should breast feed your child.

Dr. Eric Gordon is the founder of  Gordon Medical Associates. What Dr. Gordon emphasizes is listening to his patients. “I believe my patients. Their description of what is going on in their body is the most accurate way we have to assess what is going on with them. I interpret the information they present, and blend it with laboratory results and imaging and other tests to determine a protocol that is customized to their condition.”

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Stem Cell Treatment for Lyme Disease

Question:

Please comment on stem cells?

Answer from Dr. AzRa MaEl:

Before commenting on stem cells, it must be understood that the FDA has banned the use of stem cell treatments in this country, except in research settings, and for a few specific applications. The prohibition of stem cell treatments in the U.S. is said to be for our safety. Some outspoken proponents of stem cells question FDA motives, because there have never been serious adverse reactions reported, despite tens of thousands of patients having been treated worldwide.  Most of the stem cell treatments currently in use are done with the unneeded umbilical cords and placentas from healthy newborn babies, rather than from eggs fertilized in the lab using IVF technology (“embryonic” stem cells).  Unless they are being saved to gather stem cells, umbilical cords are generally discarded. (As amazing as it seems, most cords are still being put in the trash in this country despite being a very valuable resource.)

Thus, most people who receive stem cells travel abroad to India, Mexico, Panama, and other places for this treatment. There aren 20+ patients with “chronic Lyme” who have received stem cell therapy whose stories have been shared with our practice. Many have reported partial or temporary benefits, and some with sustained benefits.

Some patients are benefitting from a related therapy called “particle rich plasma” that is available in this country.  It seems to work in a similar manner as stem cells, though it is still fairly new and under ongoing development.

It is likely an advantage to thoroughly treat Lyme and co-infections before receiving stem cell or related therapies.

AzRa MaEl, MD was educated at Duke University School of Medicine and the University of California San Francisco Family Medicine Residency in Santa Rosa. He specializes in innovative treatment strategies for persistent complex illness. He now practices at Gordon Medical Associates in Santa Rosa. In addition to antibiotics and other allopathic treatments, nutritional support, lifestyle, and emotional factors are considered a vital part of recovery for all patients.

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What Is the Methylation Protocol?

Many of the doctor’s responses to questions have referenced the methylation protocol. The following is an article explaining the simple methylation protocol. While this original article addresses Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, this protocol can be used in people with Lyme disease and other chronic illness as well. Some people may find they need a more complex methylation protocol to see improvement. As stated, even though this is a very simple protocol using over the counter supplements, the results can be very strong, so we recommend you do this protocol under the supervision of a physician.

A Simplified Methylation Protocol is Effective for the Treatment of Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia

Neil Nathan MD

I suspect that the words “methylation protocol” are, at first glance, intimidating. But if you will hang in with me for a few paragraphs, I would like to make this both understandable and useful.

First of all, what is most important is that we have recently shown that the use of tiny doses of very specific combinations of vitamin B-12 and folic acid, has resulted in significant improvement in patients with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. That’s the bottom line.

So, if you are suffering with chronic fatigue and/or fibromyalgia, you may be interested in learning more about our research, and what we learned. [Read more…]

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Can Treatment Damage Hearing?

Question:

Could you speak to Ototoxicity (toxicity to the auditory nerves) of the antibiotics used to treat Lyme?  My neurologist cannot tell if hearing loss is caused by Lyme or antibiotic use.

Dr. Eric GordonAnswer from Dr. Eric Gordon:

If ototoxicity is present, I do not know how to be sure if it is due to antibiotics versus infection of the 8th cranial nerve.  Not all antibiotics are considered ototoxic, and even those that are will not cause problems for every patient. The toxicity from antibiotics is probably mediated by oxidant stress, and this may also be the cause of some of the damage by infection, as well.  Individuals have varying ability to manage oxidative stress. With that in mind, checking glutathione adequacy, methylation pathway tests  from Vitamin Diagnostics Labs (special testing, have your physician contact the lab), as well as evaluating the other detox pathways and your heavy metal burden would be helpful.  All of these problems will make ototoxicity more likely whatever the stressor of the system.  Treatment of these metabolic problems will often improve ototoxicity.

I would also get a good evaluation by a cranial osteopath.  Occasionally osteopathic cranial manipulation will mitigate some of the tinnitus.

Consult your physician for a more complete workup of your toxic load in order to support your ability to deal with any toxicity, as well as the infection.

Dr. Eric Gordon is the founder of  Gordon Medical Associates. What Dr. Gordon emphasizes is listening to his patients. “I believe my patients. Their description of what is going on in their body is the most accurate way we have to assess what is going on with them. I interpret the information they present, and blend it with laboratory results and imaging and other tests to determine a protocol that is customized to their condition.”

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Still Have Symptoms After Treatment for Babesia

Question: With a history of dysnomia related to babesia, although the babesia may be gone, I still have Neurally Mediated Hypotension, high BP (blood pressure), POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia), temperature problems, sleep off and on, it often takes until 5 AM to fall asleep, 8 years post-function adrenal collapse.  Please explain the physiological dynamics of what is going wrong with the autonomic nervous system and the hypo-pituitary adrenal system.

Answer from GMA Staff:

We have written about factors predisposing to infection, the “total load” and the cycle of maladaptive responses that can follow Lyme and tick-borne diseases.  In fact, these problems also are common among chronic fatigue (syndrome or not) patients, people suffering from long-term stress and others who are chronically-ill.

Our writer comments that after the infection has been treated, his (let’s assume) adrenal, autonomic, and other symptoms persist. [Read more…]

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Do Emotions Impact Lyme Disease?

Question:

Do emotional boundaries play a key role in the development of Lyme?

Dr. eric GordonAnswer from Dr. Eric Gordon:

Emotions play a role in all illness.  The immune system is not separate from our emotions.  Neurotransmitters (such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine) also act on white blood cells.  Many cytokines, the chemicals that white blood cells release to communicate with each other, also act in the nervous system.  The division between emotional states and physical states is a function of our mind’s need to categorize the world.  It is not an accurate description of the world.

With this being said, we will return to the question:  Do your emotional boundaries play a role in the development of Lyme?  I think as suggested above, it will play a role. However, there are many people who have the inability to set interpersonal boundaries, but that is not enough to let Lyme infections overwhelm us.  Most of us are emotionally wounded in some way, and Lyme and the coinfections will exacerbate our underlying tendencies, but millions of us who have had trouble saying “no,” myself included, have successfully cleared Lyme.  Emotions and proper boundaries are important, but to label them as key in the development of chronic Lyme or any chronic illness is to misunderstand the rich interrelationships of life.  They are a problem for all illness and are permissive but not causative.

Dr. Eric Gordon is the founder of  Gordon Medical Associates. What Dr. Gordon emphasizes is listening to his patients. “I believe my patients. Their description of what is going on in their body is the most accurate way we have to assess what is going on with them. I interpret the information they present, and blend it with laboratory results and imaging and other tests to determine a protocol that is customized to their condition.”

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Neurologic Lyme Disease

The following question and answer are from two Lyme researchers who represent points of view in a Point/Counterpoint discussion. To read the complete article click on the links provided.

Question: How will research on neurologic Lyme disease need to change to to identify better treatments?

Dr. John HalperinAnswer from Dr. John Halperin:

Distinguish Between Clinical Constructs

Four clinical constructs are commonly attributed to nervous system Lyme disease, but only one of these represents nervous system infection with Borrelia burgdorferi, also known as neuroborrelliosis. However, there are legitimate and important research questions regarding each of the four.

Neuroborrelliosis manifests as lymphocytic meningitis, multifocal inflammation of nerves and nerve roots, and – very rarely- multifocal inflammation of the central nervous system. …

to read the complete article click here

Dr. Halperin is a professor of neurology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, and is chair of the department of neurosciences at Overlook Hospital in Summit, New Jersey.  He has served as expert witness defending physicians accused of failure to diagnose nervous system Lyme disease.

How will research on neurologic Lyme disease need to change to to identify better treatments?

Dr. Brian FallonAnswer from Dr. Brian Fallon:

Although progress has been made in our  understanding of  neurologic Lyme disease, important questions and unmet needs remain, particularly with respect to diagnostic tests and the cause and treatment of chronic sequale.

The following five steps will further advance our understanding:

  • Conduct a large prospective study of neurologic Lyme disease, which may clarify the incidence of chronic symptoms after standard treatment and identify risk factors that influence relapse vs. recovery.
  • Apply newly developed technologies to identify better diagnostics and biomarkers …

to read the complete article click here

Dr. Brian Fallon is director of the Lyme and Tick Borne Disease Research Center and professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University,  New York. The center received a small grant last year from the Lyme Disease Association toward developing a repository for Lyme specimens.

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When Treatment Doesn’t Work

Question:  What if you see no response from numerous treatments?  NO Herz, no increase or decrease of symptoms at all.   I have tested positive for Lyme and 4 co-infections.

Dr. Eric GordonAnswer from Dr. Eric Gordon:

If you have tested positive for Lyme disease and multiple coinfections, and have had no response to antibiotic therapy, there are several possibilities.  The first is that the key infection may not have been treated aggressively enough, or perhaps right on the border.  Sometimes we find that the order in which the infections are treated will affect the outcome of treatment.  Other possibilities include a viral infection, or mold or other toxins that are affecting your immune response—or in fact creating your symptoms.

Many times we see antibodies to multiple tick-borne infections; also to multiple viruses; as well as to mycoplasma and chlamydia and pneumonia.  When we see this pattern, the question is:  Which is the important infection?—or are we just dealing with an up-regulated immune response caused by multiple infections that the body has seen, and perhaps even dealt with?  This is an issue that Dr. Karen Newell is investigating. Hopefully soon we will have more information, and the ability to treat the situation where these immune cells—these are the cells that produce antibody—are continuously being stimulated.  When there is a lot of B-cell activity, there will also be activity of the rest of the immune system, and production of cytokines, which can produce symptoms that mimic the tick-borne illnesses. Read more about Dr. Newell’s research here. [Read more…]