The New Kid on the Block

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Stanford Report, February 18, 2014

Stanford Study Says Ticks May Cause Double Trouble

A Stanford study has found that ticks infected with the bacterium that causes Lyme disease and a newly identified human pathogen are widespread in the San Francisco Bay Area.

By Rob Jordan  Two ticks on a stick

 

Researchers found ticks infected with the bacterium that causes Lyme disease and a newly identified human pathogen in nearly every Bay Area park they examined.

As winter turns to spring and many Northern Californians plan outdoor adventures, a mysterious, potentially debilitating threat looms.

A newly recognized human pathogen with unknown health consequences has been found to occur over a large part of the San Francisco Bay Area. A study to be published in the March issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Disease details how researchers, including Dan Salkeld, a research associate at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, found the bacterium Borrelia miyamotoi, as well as B. burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, in ticks they sampled throughout the area.

The researchers were surprised to find ticks infected with one or both bacteria in nearly every park they examined. The findings raise the question of whether B. miyamotoi has gone undetected in California residents. The research results are “an important step toward dispelling the perception that you cannot acquire Lyme disease in California,” said Ana Thompson, the executive director of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation.

B. miyamotoi has been known for some time to infect ticks; the first known human case of B. miyamotoi infection in the U.S. was discovered in 2013. Beyond Lyme-like symptoms such as fever and headache, little is known about its potential health impacts. In the Bay Area, low awareness of tick-borne diseases such as Lyme could heighten the risk of infection with B. miyamotoi for users of the region’s extensive natural areas and trails.

“People who have difficulty getting diagnoses – maybe this is involved,” Salkeld said.

Understanding Lyme disease

Lyme disease, named for Lyme, Conn., where the illness was first identified in 1975, is transmitted to humans via the bite of a tick infected with B. burgdorferi. In California, the culprit is the western black-legged tick and the primary carrier is the western gray squirrel. On the East Coast, the culprit is the black-legged tick and the white-footed mouse is the main carrier.

Lyme can be difficult to diagnose, but its early symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and sometimes a telltale rash that looks like a bull’s-eye centered on the tick bite. If left untreated, the infection can cause a range of health problems, from arthritis and joint pain to immune deficiencies and a persistent cognitive fog. Most people recover with antibiotic treatment, but for unknown reasons some patients who suffer from a variety of Lyme-like symptoms find no relief from the normally prescribed therapy.

Although the majority of U.S. Lyme infections occur in the Northeast, incidence of the disease is growing across the country. Changes in climate and the movement of infected animals may be partly to blame. Last summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that as many as 300,000 Americans contract Lyme disease annually, a rate 10 times higher than previously reported. The new figure, the result of national laboratory surveys and a review of insurance information, reflects what has long been suspected: Lyme is not well diagnosed or reported by many doctors.

When someone is infected, it can take weeks before blood tests detect antibodies. Adding to the diagnostic headache, tests have been known to return false positives and false negatives. Current testing capabilities also have a hard time determining whether the infection has been cured.

An interdisciplinary Lyme Disease Working Group at Stanford School of Medicine is exploring ways to improve diagnostic tests and medical understanding, evaluate the effectiveness of innovative therapies, expand clinical services and build greater public awareness.

Studying a mystery

Salkeld is a research scientist at Colorado State University and a former lecturer at Stanford who still does disease ecology research at the Stanford Woods Institute. He started this tick research with Stanford Woods Institute Senior Fellow Eric Lambin while teaching a course in conservation medicine at Stanford.

Aided by his Stanford students, Salkeld’s initial research focused on assessing the risk of Lyme disease at the university’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve and in the neighboring towns of Portola Valley and Woodside.

Salkeld and his fellow researchers went on to test 12 Bay Area recreational areas. They found B. burgdorferi in about 2 percent of adult ticks, an expectedly low rate of infection for the region, according to Salkeld. By comparison, about 35 percent of adult ticks in the Northeast United States carry the bacterium.

Salkeld was surprised to find ticks infected with B. burgdorferi not only in woodlands but also in grassland chaparral habitat far from wooded areas. He was more surprised to find that ticks were infected with B. miyamotoi at slightly higher rates than those infected with B. burgdorferi.

Concerned citizens

Salkeld’s research is funded by the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a national nonprofit founded in 2011 by residents of Portola Valley. Alarmed at the number of people with Lyme disease in their community, the group’s founding members started an informal research initiative. They read all they could about the disease and invited medical authorities to discuss Lyme at neighborhood gatherings.

“We were just trying to learn about Lyme disease and why people were getting it,” said Bonnie Crater, the group’s co-founder and vice president. Crater and others were frustrated with the apparent lack of regional medical knowledge on the issue as well as the difficulty of getting a diagnosis and treating the disease. “This is not cancer. It’s bacteria, and we’ve had antibiotics for over 100 years,” she said.

“Diagnostics is the number one thing in terms of getting care,” said Kathleen O’Rourke, a co-founder and advisory board member of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation. When O’Rourke sought help for her 9-year-old son suffering from Lyme-like symptoms including intense fatigue, a pediatrician listed a range of possible issues, but not Lyme. “We were told there is no Lyme in California,” she said. Five months later, when her son was almost too weak to walk, O’Rourke found a doctor who ran a battery of tests that found Lyme.

After a year and a half of heavy antibiotic doses, O’Rourke’s son was back to normal. O’Rourke wasn’t as lucky. After getting her own Lyme diagnosis, she suffered through four years of treatment and lingering symptoms. The pain of unmedicated childbirth “was nothing compared to this,” she said. “The pain was excruciating. It was like liquid fire in the joints.”

Rob Jordan is the communications writer for the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

Tips for avoiding Lyme disease:

  • Stay in the middle of trails, avoiding brush, wood piles, logs.
  • Check thoroughly for ticks (especially in hair) after spending time outdoors.
  • Check pets that can bring ticks indoors.
  • If you develop symptoms (fever, headache, fatigue or rash), consider consulting a doctor knowledgeable about Lyme.

Higher vitamin D levels correlated with improved breast cancer prognosis

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October 11, 2013. An article published online on October 9, 2013 in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment reports the results of a meta-analysis conducted by Canadian researchers which found an association between higher serum levels of vitamin D and better prognosis for women with early stage breast cancer.

For their analysis, Pamela J. Goodwin of the University of Toronto and her colleagues selected eight studies involving a total of 5,691 women diagnosed with breast cancer from 1973 to 2010. Blood samples were collected, on average, within 90 days of diagnosis or shortly before treatment. Deficient levels of vitamin D were uncovered in 38.6% of the subjects.

When the lowest versus highest categories of serum vitamin D were compared in a pooled analysis, women whose levels were low had a risk of recurrence that was more than double that of subjects whose levels were high and a risk of death that was 76% higher.  The authors remark that vitamin D, when activated, can alter the transcription and expression of specific genes, resulting in growth arrest, apoptosis, aromatase suppression, decreased inflammation, and inhibition of angiogenesis, invasion and metastasis, all of which help combat cancer.

“These findings support an association of low levels of vitamin D with increased risk of recurrence and death in early stage breast cancer patients,” the authors conclude.  “Given the observational nature of the included studies, it cannot be concluded that this association is causal. Further research is warranted to investigate the potential beneficial effects of vitamin D in breast cancer.”

Cannabis Kicks Lyme Disease to the Curb

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Reported on Feb 5th, 2014 by NaturalNews

Lyme disease has been controversial for some years. Many medical practitioners misdiagnose it, while several think that it’s mental. With Lyme disease, there are so many symptoms, so many debilitating, agonizing manifestations, that it’s often misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue, lupus or a mental issue.

Lyme disease is caused by a spirochetal bacteria of the Borrelia genus. Spirochetes are composed of about 40% DNA and have double-membrane envelopes that make them difficult to trace and kill. They’re apparently able to hide in deep tissue and change shapes to disguise their identities.

They’re somewhat similar to the bacteria behind syphilis, as Lyme disease affects the nervous system and brain also.

Going through the medical system with Lyme disease is like being a ball in an old fashioned pinball game machine. Being on antibiotics forever is risking serious adverse events or at least reducing one’s immunity to invite all sorts of other complications.

All this without a complete cure. But now there is considerable hope with cannabis.

Cannabis Lyme Successes

There are two levels of handling Lyme with cannabis: managing symptoms well by smoking marijuana, or completely reversing the disease with cannabis oil. Not many are aware of cannabis oil pioneered by Rick Simpson a few years ago. Rick has said that most of the healing qualities of cannabis are lost in the smoke.

Alexis, diagnosed with late-stage Lyme disease, is an example of someone handling symptoms without pharmaceuticals by smoking marijuana. She was on antibiotics long enough for her gastrointestinal tract to be damaged and to be hospitalized with hemorrhagic colitis.

She was taken off antibiotics and put on several strong pain prescriptions that were barely effective while putting her into lower emotional states. Then she tried smoking marijuana.

That routine handled most of her nausea, enabled her to eat well enough to avoid wasting away, helped her sleep better and eased her pain while elevating her mood. She maintains that marijuana has been the best thing for her Lyme disease.

Alexis wrote, “In the hospital, I have needed to have morphine or lorazepam through an IV to accomplish what smoking two grams of cannabis does on the comfort of my couch, in a fraction of the time.” [1] But Alexis is looking for a long-term solution.

Some have discovered that solution using cannabis oil for Lyme disease. Cannabis oil is a highly concentrated substance that’s extracted and reduced from large amounts of cannabis with a good balance of THC and other cannabinoids.

It has become increasingly available in states that allow medical marijuana. But it’s also available “underground” if you search on the internet. This is the stuff that has been curing cancer lately.

Shelly White’s Lyme disease was so debilitating that she had endured at least 10 seizures daily for a year and a half. She began smoking marijuana from a pipe and then switched to inhaling it through a vaporizer. Just from that, her seizures had stopped. Then she decided to go to the next level of using cannabis oil.

After a month of the oil, she was able to return to work and school. At the time of writing her story, she was happy to announce that she could now move out and live on her own and enjoy a normal social life.

An internet radio show called “High Noon” interviewed a couple of Lyme disease victims who had been using cannabis oil successfully, Pamela Baily and Lisa Sikes. Listen via the link at source.

“Lymies” should look into cannabis since it handles so many ailments associated with Lyme disease.

Detoxing with the Infrared Sauna

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Dr. Don Colbert Speaks About the Detoxification Benefits of Using the Infrared Sauna

Watch the video by clicking on the link below.

Detoxing with Infrared Sauna