Living in a state with high incidence of Lyme Disease, I am often confronted with individuals who blame Lyme for all medical ills. I’m frankly surprised I never had Lyme Disease, as I grew up here riding my horse through the woods like a mad cowgirl, pulling ticks off of myself for days afterward.
In this area, there are several doctors who now specialize in Lyme disease and have “Lyme clinics.” They claim that there is no definitive test for Lyme, and therefore judging on symptoms alone they install an IV port in the chest of patients and do one month to several months of IV antibiotic infusion.
I do not doubt Lyme disease is real, however, I am skeptical of the widespread need for these clinics who give large doses of antibiotics to just about anyone who walks in with vague symptoms. These are not often covered by insurance, and large cash payments are required. Along with these IV infusions, herbs and vitamins are often peddled, and chiropractic and acupuncture treatment encouraged by affiliates who may or may not receive some kind of referral fee. Some claim Lyme disease is sexually transmitted, so if one spouse is being treated, the other spouse must also receive expensive IV antibiotics, for cash, at their clinic of course. This seems far fetched to me.
A relative of mine (by marriage) was placed in a nursing home with serious memory problems and given Lyme IV antibiotics for a month. But she continued to get worse so they discovered it was early onset Alzheimer’s (I tried to warn her doctor about this, her father died of early onset Alzheimer’s at only 55 years old.) When I mentioned this situation to someone off hand, she forwarded me this link, and claimed it “proved” that Alzheimer’s is caused by Lyme disease. http://stcatherines.chsli.org/research.htm
It appears the researcher found Lyme bacteria in a few samples of the brains of Alzheimer’s patients (a group of 10, he found them in 7). So he has a hypothesis that Lyme might cause or trigger Alzheimer’s. If this is so, and Alzheimer’s is caused by Lyme Disease, how would that account for millions of cases of Alzheimer’s in other parts of the world where there are no deer ticks and no incidence of Lyme disease? Seems unlikely?
That being said, I have little knowledge of the disease other than basic brochures from the health department encouraging people in the area to check themselves for ticks after yard work. Looking it up online ends up with lots of hits for woo-woo websites.
Lyme Disease seems very controversial, with even doctors disagreeing on treatment and methods of diagnosis. Any thoughts out there?