Lyme Bacteria Hides Inside Parasitic Worms, Causing Chronic Brain Diseases

WASHINGTON, May 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The examination of autopsied brain tissues from patients who died of serious neurological conditions has revealed that many tick-borne infections, such as Lyme disease, go undiagnosed and untreated. Board-certified pathologist, Alan B. MacDonald, MD, says his research shows “tick infections are not easily detected with routine tests, nor are they easily cured with short courses of antibiotics.”

MacDonald will present his findings Thursday on Capitol Hill, in the Rayburn House Office Building, at a forum to explore the scientific, economic, and policy challenges posed by the epidemic of Lyme disease and associated tick-borne illnesses.

MacDonald found two Borrelia pathogens, including B. burgdorferi the causative agent of Lyme disease, thriving inside parasitic nematode worms, worm eggs or larvae in the brain tissue of nineteen deceased patients. These microscopic worms are endosymbionts, meaning the Borrelia bacteria dwell inside the worms. A tick bite delivers the nematode into the human body.

“Both the worms and the Borrelia pathogens can cause devastating brain damage,” said MacDonald. “Current tests, like the ELISA and Western blot, do not adequately detect the presence of Borrelia bacteria.” MacDonald says his discovery also shows “while patients are wrongly declared free of Lyme and other tick-borne infections, in reality, too often they contract serious neurodegenerative diseases which can kill them.”

The Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center Tissue Bank provided MacDonald with ten specimens from deceased MS patients; all ten specimens showed evidence of Borrelia infected nematodes. Infected worms were also found in five tissue specimens from patients who succumbed to the highly malignant brain tumor Glioblastoma multiforme, the same cancer which took the life of Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA). Ironically, in 1993, Senator Kennedy chaired a hearing of the Labor and Human Resources committee titled: Lyme disease: A Diagnostic and Treatment Dilemma. Finally, four specimens from patients who died from Lewy Body dementia, the same illness which afflicted comedian Robin Williams, also showed the presence of infected nematodes.

MacDonald’s work breaks new ground while building on previous studies. In 1984, Lyme pioneer Willy Burgdorfer, Ph.D. wrote of finding nematodes in tick guts. In 2014, University of New Haven researcher Eva Sapi, Ph.D., examined the guts of ticks gathered in southern Connecticut and found 22% of the nymphs and 30% of adult Ixodes ticks carried nematodes in their systems.

MacDonald identified the infected nematodes using a technique known as FISH: Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization which involves using molecular beacon DNA probes. FISH identifies pieces of Borrelia’s genetic material which fluoresce under the microscope with a 100% DNA match. Dr. MacDonald, a fellow of the Academy of American Pathologists, conducts his research through the Dr. Paul Duray Research Fellowship Endowment Inc. MacDonald’s presentation can be accessed here: https://vimeo.com/166688480.

Sue Ferrara
Media Relations
Patient Centered Care Advocacy Group
609-947-9489
lymewriter60@gmail.com

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SOURCE Patient Centered Care Advocacy Group

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Expanded Study Confirms that Lyme Disease May Be Sexually Transmitted

Content Curated from: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/12/prweb12403459.htm

An expanded study confirms that Lyme disease may be sexually transmitted. 

Lyme disease is a tickborne infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, a type of corkscrew-shaped bacteria known as a spirochete (pronounced spiro’keet). The Lyme spirochete resembles the agent of syphilis, long recognized as the epitome of sexually transmitted diseases. In 2013 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that Lyme disease is much more common than previously thought, with over 300,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States. That makes Lyme disease almost twice as common as breast cancer and six times more common than HIV/AIDS.

“Our findings will change the way Lyme disease is viewed by doctors and patients,” said Marianne Middelveen, lead author of the published study. “It explains why the disease is more common than one would think if only ticks were involved in transmission.”

The current study, which confirms and expands a preliminary report published in The Journal of Investigative Medicine, was a collaborative effort by an international team of scientists. In addition to Middelveen, a veterinary microbiologist from Canada, researchers included molecular biologists Jennie Burke, Agustin Franco and Yean Wang and dermatologist Peter Mayne from Australia working with molecular biologists Eva Sapi, Cheryl Bandoski, Katherine Filush and Arun Timmaraju, nurse-midwife Hilary Schlinger and internist Raphael Stricker from the United States.

In the study, researchers tested semen samples and vaginal secretions from three groups of people: control subjects without evidence of Lyme disease, individual patients who tested positive for Lyme disease, and couples engaging in unprotected sex who tested positive for the disease.

As expected, all of the control subjects tested negative for Borrelia burgdorferi in cultures of semen samples or vaginal secretions. In contrast, twelve of thirteen patients with Lyme disease had positive cultures for Borrelia burgdorferi in their genital secretions. Furthermore, two of the couples with Lyme disease showed identical strains of the Lyme spirochete in their semen and vaginal secretions, while a third couple showed identical strains of a related Borrelia spirochete in their genital secretions.

“The presence of live spirochetes in genital secretions and identical strains in sexually active couples strongly suggests that sexual transmission of Lyme disease occurs,” said Dr. Mayne, who recently published the first comprehensive study of Lyme disease in Australia. “We need to do more research to determine the risk of sexual transmission of this syphilis-like organism.”

Dr. Stricker pointed to the implications for Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment raised by the study. “We have taken Lyme disease out of the woods and into the bedroom,” he said. “We need to start fighting this runaway epidemic just like HIV/AIDS.”

Reference: F1000Research 2014;3:309 (http://f1000research.com/articles/3-309/v1). Contact information: Jesus Walker Salas, Union Square Medical Associates (mailto:officemanager(at)usmamed(dot)com)

Contact: Jesus Walker Salas
415-399-1035