Chronic Lyme Disease * Part 1 – Chronic Lyme Disease is Mismanaged Acute Lyme Infection
Majid Ali, M.D.
The two core messages of this tutorial are: (1) Chronic Lyme disease is mismanaged Lyme disease; and (2) People diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease have special nutritional and detox needs, and do not get better when such needs are ignored and they are given antibiotics for months, sometimes years. To elaborate these points, I make the following seven points:
First, my initial contact with Lyme disease occurred in late 1970s when, as a hospital laboratory director, I introduced tests for antibody against Borrelia burgdorferi, the microbe responsible for this infection.
Second, my colleagues at the Institute and I have cared for a large number of patients (more than 300) with Lyme disease proven by appropriate lab tests.
Third, neither I nor my associates, Drs. Judy Juco and Alfred Fayemi, have seen a person under our care develop chronic debilitating illness after a bout of Lyme infection. We have never used doxycycline or other antibiotics for more than six weeks with the exception of one man for whom we had to extend such therapy for another four weeks.
Fourth, uncommonly acute and severe Lyme infection produces an encephalitis-like clinical picture with much cognitive dysfunction (problems of mood, memory, and mentation). Such patients require intravenous infusions of nutrients and large doses of brain-protective compounds, such as glutathione, taurine, and vitamin B 12 to clear their neurologic symptoms.
Fifth, we have not seen patients with chronic illness attributed to “chronic Lyme disease” by other doctors regain their health with extended oral or intravenous antibiotic therapy, for months, not uncommonly for years.
Sixth, most patients with chronic multi-organ-system symptom-complexes whose illness had been attributed to the so-called chronic Lyme disease slowly and steadily regained their health. These results were obtained not with extended antibiotic therapy but with strong integrative plans focusing on issues of bowel and liver detox, nutrient therapies, and spiritual work. The exceptions to this were some patients with severe, persistent stress not related to Lyme infection.
Seventh, once presiding over a conference of the American College of Advancement in Medicine (over 400 physicians attending), I asked for a show of hands of doctors who saw patients with acute Lyme disease develop chronic Lyme disease when following their strong integrative plans and the use of doxycycline for four to eight weeks. No one raised their hands.
Chronic Lyme Is Neglected Acute Lyme
I draw the above conclusion from the seven aspects of my personal experience with Lyme infection. It is harsh indictment of those who treat acute Lyme exclusively with antibiotics and do not address issues of the bowel and liver (which my colleagues and I always do in such cases).
Some may claim that they indeed have “cured” chronic Lyme diseases with extended antibiotics (for several months or years). I cannot say that is not possible. It is my strong sense that if that does happen, it must be very uncommon.
An Illustrative Case Study
The following case history underscores my main points. A 39-year-old 5’3″ mother of two children weighing 156 lbs. consulted me for disabling health problems of three years duration. She had enjoyed good health until then except for allergy and sinus congestion symptoms. Then she developed phlebitis (blood clot in veins) and was advised to discontinue birth control pills. Following is the chronology of of her illness:
2008 Good health, on hormone replacement therapy with synthetic hormones
2009 Pneumonia , antibiotics for eight months after which she was, in her words, “ never the same person.” She suffered muscle and joint symptoms and was prescribed Plaqueni, a drug rheumatologists use for such disorders as rheumatoid arthritis, polyarthralgia, and fibromyalgia.
2010 PCOS was diagnosed by a gynecologist (GYN) who advised her to have surgical removal of both ovaries
2010 Vena cava filter was advised by her GYN in order to prepare her to receive more synthetic hormones (in the hope that the filter would prevent the spread of clots from leg veins to vena cava that could prove fatal.)2010 Cognitive symptoms, memory loss, and headaches. (Later she described one episode with the following words: “One day suddenly I couldn’t find my legs.”
2011 Intravenous antibiotics (Rocephin and doxycyclin) for two months for suspected Lyme disease, followed by Bicillin antibiotic injections for two more months
2011 Rifampin antibiotic used for Bartnella infection
2011 Consultation with the author in the summer of the year
2011 Reported “dramatic improvement with eight weeks of robust integrative nutrient therapies, infla-oil topical remedies for bowel and liver detox, and diet plan to control gut fermentation and correct the leaky gut state.
The above case history unfortunately is all too common. The travesty is not that antibiotics for acute Lyme disease were used in strong enough doses or for insufficient lengths of time but that the special nutritional and detox needs of the patients were completely ignored.
Treatment of Chronic Lyme Disease
I present my integrative management plan for restoring the health of people chronic Lyme disease in Part 2 of this tutorial.