Posted on May 21, 2017 in Blog |
The following is an excerpt written by Dr. B. Robert Mozayeni in our book Lyme Savvy: Treatment Insights for Lyme Patients and Practitioners.
When we talk about Borrelia, we must talk about other infections called co-infections. I don’t know if there really is anything “co” about these infections. I think they are called co-infections because as Lyme patients’ symptoms didn’t respond to treatment, people started looking at other infections.
So which germs really cause Lyme Disease?
Co-infections found in patients include Babesia, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma infection, Bartonella or other proteobacteria, or Mycoplasma.
One study done in New Jersey found by PCR, which is not as sensitive as enrichment culture followed by PCR, approximately a third of the ticks carry Borrelia, a third carry Bartonella, 2% carry Ehrlichia and 8% carry Babesia. The positive rate for Bartonella, could have been higher if the study had been done with enrichment culture followed by PCR – a method developed later.
Researchers started recognizing the gut of a tick is not a place where the tick only selectively carries Borrelia. Ticks, like other insects, can carry various microbes. However, it is not proven that these microbes are transmitted by ticks; and it is not proven that they are not transmitted by ticks.
It should not take a lot of research to determine this. If a tick is feeding off a variety of mammals why wouldn’t the gut of the tick have a whole bunch of different things in it? But it does create some interesting questions. For example, we have never really had a good Bartonella test until recently. How can we be really sure the ECM rash is only from Borrelia? What if the ECM rash is from both Borrelia and Bartonella? That is an interesting potential study.
Is there some combination of microbe inoculation that has to occur in order for someone to get sick from a germ?
Does it have to be Protozoa plus bacteria? Would the same person get as sick if they had only one of those? These are some of the questions related to these infections. The complexity goes up exponentially because now we have to go further than deciding if one of these infections can make someone sick without the others. We need to answer the question, “What happens if a person is dealing with combinations of these germs?” or “What sort of person (genomics, diet, etc.,) would get sick from a germ?”
This leads to a paradigm shift in how we are beginning to think about these germs. We need to start thinking about there being an entire set of genes being carried around by different kinds of microorganisms. We need to think about the whole ecosystem and potentially look at all of the genetic information determining bacterial, microbial and parasitic characteristics. We need to conduct a microbiome analysis of all the genetic material associated with illness and also consider the best response to the genetic code found in that microbiome.
The future of this science will be to look at someone’s blood, or even all the parts of their body, and understand the ecosystem of germs living there. Then you look at their genome. Then you rent some time on a supercomputer, assuming you know what to tell it to do, to figure out what sort of disease would result, and what the best treatment approach would be for an individual with that genome, this microbiome, this diet, these environmental factors, this sort of stress or this kind of pollution in their environment. When you can run a full simulation considering everything, then you know you might be able to get the answer to everything. That is the “pie in the sky.”
In the meanwhile, the more comprehensively we look at different germs the more we will learn. We also then need to look at the technology proves whether or not this germ causes that symptom.