This is a really interesting study published by researchers at UC San Francisco and Johns Hopkins in February 2016. In addition to highlighting what could potentially be a new diagnostic test for Lyme Disease (i.e., looking at the genetic signature of a patient’s white blood cells), the study reveals sobering statistics about exactly how long a person has to seek treatment before a more chronic form of Lyme disease ensues.
Find the Full Text of the Study Here Regarding This Potential New Diagnostic Test for Lyme Disease
For reference, here is a link to the full text of the study: Longitudinal Transcriptome Analysis Reveals a Sustained Differential Gene Expression Signature in Patients Treated for Acute Lyme Disease
Gene Expression Signature Changes Still Present in Patients AFTER Being Treated for Lyme Disease
The white blood cells of everyone with exposure to Lyme disease (regardless of the effectiveness of their treatment), demonstrated SUSTAINED variance from “normal” white blood cells, even 6 months AFTER antibiotic treatment with Doxycycline. The study states that this is unusual for bacterial exposure: “To our knowledge, this is [sic] first time that sustained changes in the human host transcriptome have been reported for a bacterial infection after treatment with appropriate antibiotics.”
Clearly, the Lyme disease Borrelia bacteria are not as simplistic as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) treatment guidelines would suggest. Indeed, the fact that these white blood cells remain altered so long after treatment, in a way that is atypical after bacterial exposure, inarguably supports the existence of Chronic Lyme Disease as something much more than the mere “syndrome” that the CDC and IDSA have long labeled it.
No Differences? Really??
Further, according to the study, “No differential gene expression signature was observed between Lyme disease patients with resolved illness to those with persistent symptoms at 6 months post-treatment.” This seems crazy to me – you would expect that those with UNresolved symptoms must have some variance in their white blood cell’s gene expression away from those patients whose symptoms were fully resolved after treatment. But that is not the case.
The conclusion? Lyme Disease makes a significant and lasting impression on a patient’s body, REGARDLESS of how swiftly they were treated, and REGARDLESS of their treatment outcome.
Patients Who Resolved Lyme Disease Compared with Patients with Persistent Symptoms
I also appreciated the supplemental table that breaks down the length of time a patient was symptomatic and their treatment outcome (i.e., whether or not their Lyme Disease symptoms went away after they were treated for 3 weeks) (download the table from the study site here or view a PDF that I saved here).
NO ONE who was symptomatic for more than 9 days before beginning treatment had all of their symptoms resolved even 6 months after 3 weeks of Doxycycline. I had thought that acute-Lyme patients had a larger window during which they could effectively receive the baseline treatment…but this shows that is not the case (although it must be noted that this is a small sample size of only 28 people).
The window of time for successful short-term treatment seems to be around 1 week from symptom onset. If people wait any longer than that, it seems they are likely in for the long haul with Chronic Lyme Disease.
Yet More Proof That the ELISA and All Components of CDC and IDSA Testing for Lyme Disease Are Inherently Broken
Fifty percent of the people in this study, ALL of whom had Erythema Migrans (EM) rashes (also known as “bull’s eye rashes”), tested falsely negative before treatment. If they’d not had EM rashes, there is almost no way they could have gotten treatment within that short 1-week window unless they somehow knew to seek a Lyme-literate doctor immediately after the onset of flu-like symptoms. For without an EM rash, the vast majority of doctors will not prescribe antibiotics. Rather, they’ll wait for the patient’s ELISA blood test to come back positive. And as this study, and so many others, have shown, 50-percent of the time, those blood tests are falsely NEGATIVE in the first several weeks of infection. What a ridiculous position the CDC and IDSA have put us into with their dreadful testing that virtually guarantees patients will develop Chronic Lyme Disease if they are not “lucky” enough to have an EM rash in addition to their flu-like symptoms.
So you may visit a doctor and tell him/her that you have had a tick bite in the last few weeks, and that you recently developed flu-like symptoms. While they make you wait for your ELISA test results (which have a 50-percent chance of being falsely negative), you will already have crossed over into the territory of the Chronic Lyme patient.
For this reason, it is essential that you contact a Lyme-literate doctor (LLMD) immediately if you suspect that you have Lyme Disease. With their expertise in Lyme disease, they can diagnose you right away based on your symptoms, offering you the chance for full resolution of Lyme Disease and its often debilitating symptoms. Click here for instructions on finding an LLMD near you.