Wednesday, April 6, 2011

8 Lyme Disease And The Alternative Medicine Quandary

Today I want to discuss one aspect of the use of alternative medicine in treating Lyme disease and its coinfections. And that aspect is one of perception, politics, promotion, and demonstrating the need for research.

This is a difficult issue to bring up, because I myself have been divided on it.

I find it to be a bit of a quandary, really.


1. Perplexity or uncertainty over what to do in a difficult situation: "Jim is in a quandary".
2. A difficult situation; a practical dilemma.

Prior to my coming down with Lyme disease and coinfections, I became a staunch advocate of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This was no small deal for me at the time, either - and a surprise to others because I was a total skeptic.

I tried TCM on the advice of a friend, and because they had gifted me with my first acupuncture session. Not wanting their eagerness get the better of them, I told my friend point blank not to expect too much of me in terms of lauding the merits of treatment afterwards because I was, in fact, skeptical.

As it turned out, - to my surprise and relief - acupuncture helped my pain despite my skepticism, so I continued to see an acupuncturist for pain whenever it came up and the cause was not an emergency room level problem.

When I was dealing with a number of upper respiratory infections, asthma, and back pain, I found that a combination of acupuncture and the right selection of Chinese herbs helped reduce my symptoms considerably and shorten the length of time that I suffered... A really bad case of bronchitis was beaten to the ground after a round of some rather earthy pungent and bitter herbal tea that I drank by the gallon for only a few days - when bronchitis was something that typically settled in me and made a home in me for a phlegm-filled month. 

Suffice to say, I was impressed.

And as you can guess, I have no double blind, randomized controlled study to back my experience. No, my experience is mine alone. And I can't tell you how it worked or why, although preliminary studies have shown that acupuncture may lead to the release of endorphins and deepen the relaxation response - thus reducing pain. And some of the herbs that I used have evidence to support their therapeutic use as well.

This is good to know, and having more research and evidence to back my experience only enhances it for me. I like knowing that there is a reason that what I am doing works not only for me - it might work for other people - and that it isn't solely due to some placebo effect.

So you know that when I say I am not totally against Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), I mean it, based on the above.

However, I am not totally 100% in support of using CAM as a substitute for all allopathic medicine for personal and scientific reasons.

And I don't view all CAM the same way. It's not an all-or-nothing proposition for me: Some CAM is safe and effective; some is at the very least safe even if it is not effective; some is not safe or effective at all.

By the way, I view mainstream allopathic medicine the same way - it has varying degrees of effectiveness and risk as well.

Either way, if a treatment is not safe and effective - whether it is allopathic or alternative, I don't give a damn - I'm not advocating its use.

(Just an aside here, briefly - the issue of what constitutes "safe" versus "not safe" requires an entire post all of its own, because it boils down to defining risk and the ratio of benefits to risks for individual patients... keep that in mind, but on the back burner for now.)

I'd like to turn to the issue of politics and perception.

"The personal is political." 

Have you ever heard that statement? I'm sure many people have at some point. If not, what it means is that your individual choice is a decision that can affect many others once enough individuals make the same decision in great numbers.

For example, the decision to boycott a product:

If one person boycotts a product because the company donates money to a cause they do not support, that's just one person making a choice - but if thousands of people make that choice, it becomes a political movement and has an impact on the company due to lower sales and due to bad press once the boycott is publicized by the media.

In a similar way, a widespread show of support of using alternative medicine in substitution of antibiotics and antiprotozoal medication to treat Lyme disease and its coinfections could be viewed by many doctors, medical associations, members of the media, alternative medicine companies and practitioners - and even the IDSA guidelines panel for Lyme disease as communicating this message:

Lyme disease patients do not need serious antimicrobial medications if they are relying on treatments which are not supported by scientific evidence and clinical trials, and if patients have rejected the use of allopathic medicine.

The personal is political here, too.

Replacing antibiotics and antiprotozoal medication may be an individual choice, but if enough people do it, it can become a movement of its own. I am concerned that it can take on the appearance of a boycott.

The more people collectively focus on alternative treatment, the more it sends the message to others that the IDSA guidelines panel is right about something: Antibiotic treatment does not treat this infectious disease, and of course it doesn't, because it isn't a real infectious disease - it's Post Lyme Disease Syndrome, and there is no treatment for that.

Wait... you disagree with that? Is that what I hear you saying through that tangle of cables and satellite uplinks?

I'm listening... You're also saying what? That just because you treat Lyme disease and coinfections with herbs and supplements alone that doesn't mean that you're against antibiotic treatment for someone else?

Oh. Phew. Okay. I'm relieved to hear that... You support my freedom of choice to use antibiotics. And anything alternative I choose to use. Good to know.

Yet at the same time, please keep the big picture in mind and try to see where I'm coming from with all this:

The IDSA guidelines panel says that all you can do to treat PLDS is to treat it symptomatically. And they will continue to say to the public, in so many words, "We don't know what causes it, though we suspect some autoimmune disorder, and maybe somewhere down the line we'll come up with some way to deal with it."

And in journals for clinical microbiologists and molecular biologists - especially those slaving away in graduate school and on post docs - they'll say, "Let's develop vaccines because, you know, we don't want anyone else to contract Lyme disease that goes undiagnosed due to the delayed antibody response then have that turn into late stage Lyme disease. Vaccines FTW!"

And so, the system perpetuates itself, and the next generation of new researchers will say, "Maybe we can prevent more problems before they can even begin, and make money while we're at it, too. There's no money in antibiotic development - and there's not enough evidence Lyme disease can be a persistent infection - even if some spirochetes are left behind after initial treatment. Everyone says those 'chetes are not capable of reproducing and those unfortunate PLDS patients have some autoimmune disorder. Time to get to work on those vaccines and test kits!"

And they'll do it. Not because they necessarily want to screw over Lyme disease patients, but because this is what they have learned and know. And if they investigate what patients are doing online, their five minutes of direct observation of the patient community - if it happens at all - will be that of patients trying a lot of alternative treatments. Not of patients pushing for better treatment and cures from established allopathic medical associations and research institutions.

Maybe I'm wrong in this observation, and I'm willing to be corrected. But just as an experiment, why not try this? Go to Lymenet, Lymefriends, Lyme_fillintheblankhere_, and/or your Lyme disease support mailing list of choice, and count how many posts are about alternative treatments, protocols, herbs, and supplements. Then count the number of posts about organizing a petition for or backing a bill for more research, posts asking how antibiotic use addresses antigenic variation, or fundraising or protests in support of more research. Then tell me what the numbers are for each.

Dr. Cathyrn Harbor helps a
Lyme disease patient.
As I've said before, I don't think all alternative, complementary, or integrative medicine is a bad idea. It has its time and place, and that time and place is based on a personal decision between the patient and their doctor. Each person's treatment for Lyme disease and coinfections is individualized anyway - this is what everyone has been saying on the boards and mailing lists all along - and this is also what LLMDs and naturopaths have said as well

This patient-doctor approach of an individualized care plan tailored to the person is different from having patients and supplement companies and their representatives supporting the widespread use of alternative medicine online in patient support forums and mailing lists, and offline in support groups, fundraisers, workshops, and rallies.

Whether it is intentional or unintentional, the message being supported and sent to the medical community at large when so much focus is on alternative protocols is that patients do not need the serious medical treatment that has been scientifically proven to at least diminish if not entirely beat infectious disease. Either existing evidence-based treatments or research for new ones.

And who suffers from all of this? We do.

Those of us who show symptoms of persistent late stage infection.

Those of us who have already been abandoned by mainstream medical doctors and told that it's all in our heads, that our conditions are psychosomatic - rather than being told that it's possible we have infections that have disseminated to our central nervous systems and possibly our brains, since Borrelia is neurotropic and can disseminate to the CNS and brain early in infection.

With the general number of Lyme disease infections on the increase, does anyone even know how many people have CNS issues early in infection which may go untreated or under-treated because the symptom presentation can overlap with other conditions?

Especially without early positive antibody responses on tests?

Who is tracking these patient cases accurately, and who is following up on these patients months and years later? If it weren't for LLMDs and a small group of researchers, would anyone even have the slightest clue?

Infection could be literally in our heads. And not manifesting as some psychosomatic disorder, which is a convenient label by those who do not want to deal with the hassle insurance companies will wage over necessary IV antibiotic treatment - or the professional scrutiny that will come from other doctors in your clinic if you begin treating more patients with high doses of antibiotics.

So I look at this entire situation with a wary eye, and see that the situation as it is is currently self-perpetuating - even as I myself have used alternative treatment from time to time.

Japanese knotweed
This isn't about whether or not you as an individual decide to use alternative treatments.

I support your individual freedom to choose, as I hope you support mine.

This is about whether or not promoting them wholesale above and in place of the use of antibiotics and antiprotozoal medication is a good idea.

This is about whether or not there has been some widespread sense of dejection after the July 2009 IDSA Lyme disease panel review that has taken steam away from the push for more research.

This is about whether or not doctors who treat Lyme disease and coinfections - LLMDs - should include alternative treatments as part of their official treatment protocols and guideline statements... So much is already at stake for needing to have solid scientific evidence that patients suffer from a serious infection with severe chronic symptoms that can be effectively treated with known and tested antibiotics - let alone anything else.

This is about whether or not alternative medicine is effective for attacking the infections directly and - without empirical evidence of that happening in vivo - what using them actually is doing to help patients.

This is about whether or not testing these alternatives is adding an additional layer of division of forces, resources, and energy in trying to get funding for research when the basic fact of persistence along with persisting infection is what needs to be established.

This is about whether or not the amount and quality of existing research supports the long-term treatment of Lyme disease as a chronic infection - versus statements about its being some other condition.

Outside of these issues, there remain a lot of unanswered questions about the use of alternative medicine for the treatment of Lyme disease and coinfections, such as: How does one know that some of the alternative medicine being used has an anti-inflammatory effect versus an antimicrobial one? How does anyone know that even if some herbs can help with immunomodulation that there isn't some infection festering and reproducing despite it?

The problem is, we don't. And even as I support the use of alternative treatments for symptom reduction and improvement, and even as I want to alleviate my own suffering as much as I can - I don't, either.

And I'd really like to know what can truly fight off this infection or condition and use it and move on with my life. In five years, I've already seen so many different treatments come into vogue and fade into obscurity.

So far, there is nothing in the alternative medicine chest that has a long term clinically-proven history of beating back and curing spirochetal infections - anything from modern formulations to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Even the naturopath from Bastyr University whom I consulted advocated for the use of antibiotics - herbs and supplements were advised to be used in a supportive capacity only.

There will be readers here who disagree with these statements, and I understand your position - especially if in your experience you have had success through the use of herbal treatment plans. I ask you to please consider that while I'm aware that Lyme disease and its coinfection treatment is based on individual response and herbs may have helped you, that the heavy promotion of alternative treatments without the use of antibiotics and antiprotozoal medications for everyone can and does have a negative impact on the Lyme patient community.

And if the heavy promotion to replace conventional antimicrobial medicine with alternative treatments takes the emphasis away from confronting and demanding from scientific researchers and mainstream medicine a more effective treatment protocol that insurers will cover and research to settle the "does Lyme disease cause a persistent infection"controversy - the powers that be are not being held accountable for the failure of the modern medical system to address the issue of chronic Lyme disease and coinfections. 

The parties which put us in this position should be held accountable. If nothing else, you are paying taxes that finance these guys and cover some of their research. Hold them accountable. Demand value for your money as a taxpayer. Demand answers.

Ask them, "Where is the research on persistence that would solve this controversy? " Ask them, "When are you going to publish these pay-for-access research papers on open access servers so the public and media can read without a subscription - my taxes paid for the research that went into that paper?"

Ask them when they're going to do more to educate the public and primary care physicians about the need for follow up testing for Lyme disease if initial testing after a tick bite is negative, due to low antibody response early in the infection...

Ask them specific questions. Pointed, intelligent, well-researched, and decisive questions. Ask, then ask some more.

More doctors need to recognize, diagnose, and treat Lyme disease and other coinfections in its early stages. More need to be educated in the pathogenesis and possibilities of neuroborreliosis. More thorough tracking of patient cases over months and years needs to take place, with primary care physicians giving patients accurate Lyme disease tests two months, six months, and a year or maybe even more after symptoms show up and not just rely on the first negative ELISA test as definitive. Same goes for tests for coinfections. And don't even get me started on the relationship with insurance companies... long term treatment should be covered if there is evidence it is needed by individual patients - rather than have patients not only shell out money for LLMD appointments but exorbitant amounts for antibiotics, too.

This isn't going to change unless the focus shifts towards addressing the issue of persistence of infection and demanding more research on it.

What do you think? Do you disagree or agree? Why or why not?

I'd love to hear your perspective - as I've said, this has been a difficult topic for me, and one over which I have been divided in my opinion.


  1. A+ post. Wholeheartedly agree.

  2. Hi Camp Other
    This is very common opinion by the way, that Complentary Alternative Medicine can "only go so far".

    But do you know, there is a case on record of a man's completely reversed HIV---no virus left in his blood ,per laboratory tests---attributed to shiitake mushroom extract. I know of CAM authorities who treat AIDS and cancer patients all the time, very successfully too.

    A friend of a friend was diagnosed with cancer to such an extent that she was told in the hospital that "science could not help her" and she was given two months to live. An MD/homeopath not only cured her with homeopathy and boiled vegetable water, but further she has not relapsed for more than 20 years. Talk about deep healing! This same doc has cured many cancer patients with similar methods, no chemo, no radiation therapy, etc. In fact, he is known for it.

    As for research, this too is being done all the time and in sophisticated detail. Anybody who wants to know more should log on here: and look up studies there.

    I respect everybody's choice to go with whichever medical path they feel most comfy with, and don't want this misunderstood. I am only asking that please, do the research before offering any opinion-based statements that research in CAM does not suffice to merit safety or effectiveness. With all due respect, and again this is a common opinion of people who simply don't know about the research, the science in CAM is definitely a happening thing and people need to know about it.

    The American Herbalist Guild emails daily updates about herbal research studies, from both sides of the aisle, logged anew onto the Pubmed government medical database pages. There are approximately two dozen new studies every day.

    These studies are...done on laboratory animals, on consenting humans, for long-term, in groups as large as entire cultural cross-sectors or hundreds or thousands of patients, in the test tube, in the body, in every possible category...with constituents clearly identified, the whole herb or isolated constituents being tested and compared for effectiveness, and much much more.

    For one very good lay-friendly science-based source, I recommend reading the book Potters Herbal Cyclopedia by herbal pharmacist Elizabeth Williams. This book lists herbal constituents, mentions some studies which have been done, as well as common use information.

    An even better science-based source about naturopathics (mostly about nutrient supplements and those few herbs seen to interact with drugs), the new book Herb, Nutrient and Drug Interactions by Stargrove/Treasure/McKee is by far the most in-depth source I have seen. Not only about the drug-herb interactions, both beneficial and unwanted, but also about clinical use information that does mention lots of studies as well as being very detailed about the pharmacology, chemistry, bodily effects et al. But thick medical terminology is required. I would recommend buying a medical dictionary and penciling in the medical terms onto the page, in plain English, then reading and figuring out what is being said. It's a superb book, by far better than any other I have seen.

    Best wishes, CI ps I am not a doctor

  3. continued from above

    Safety data? Ha! Think of....tumors with rifampin (antibiotic used in lyme therapy) as "side effect", did anybody know about that? Leukemia from radioactive I-131 used to "treat" Graves Disease? Hole punched in the esophagus if you don't stand up after swallowing the drug Boniva, with painful or difficult swallowing as the symptom? Did anybody know that the side effects of bactrim (also used for lyme treatment) can include stiff neck, coma, death? If you didn't know this, read the pharmacy's own handouts! Check out side effects of medications before using them, and how often these are reported (by the Big Pharma Companies) to occur, before you use them. I think that we patients need to know this information before we do any therapy, of any medical modality, mainstream or naturopathic alike.

    How many deaths are there each year from tylenol alone? If you want to know more, log on to the Center for Disease Control's website and look it up for yourself! Thousands each year by the way.

    Read this article, one man pleaded guilty about dozens of faked drug studies, and those "Studies" which had no patients in them, were written up in medical journals:

    Another reason why the research in CAM may not be as known to the average person as other things: The FDA tried to get gag orders on the science in naturopathics passed into law, and has been actively cracking down on the full disclosure in absence of such an unconstitutional law. - Cached

    Dr Andrew Weil was threatened by the FDA:

    There are more examples, but I will stop here. You get my point.

    I do think that there is a time and a place when mainstream medicine is important. Integration is where it's at, not an either-or approach. And then again, when mainstream medicine fails, naturopathics step in. A hand-and-glove approach is the way to go, and there is no hard and fast rule. Whatever people respond best to, is the key.

    Just to verify that I really mean this, I myself had Graves Disease which did not respond to naturopathics, and used mainstream medicine which took care of it very successfully. I fought my enodcrinologist like a bull not to have the radioactive iodine treatment, but instead used a different drug which had zero side effects for me and which took a few years, but did finally succeed in getting the thyroid numbers down to normal. I no longer need the medication and again, I am saying that I know there is a time and a place for integration.

    And I am so grateful to my course in medical terminology, which enabled me to research the radioactive drug on Pubmed. If I had not seen the deeply conflicting European and American studies about this drug's leukemia "Side effects" I would never have known how dangerous it is, and would have innocently swallowed it.

    I also am convinced of the CAM's effectiveness based on my life-long use of it, and on the fact that I recovered from environmental illness with Chinese herbs and diet alone.

    Mainstream medicine doesn't have even nearly the solutions that CAM has to offer with hepatitis, for example. Milk thistle studies have proven again and again how effective the herb's constituents are in blocking the deadly poison aminita mushroom toxins, that it is effective in helping the liver to regrow new liver cells, and its use in cancer therapy is documented in 106 pubmed studies. Go to and punch into the search box "milk thistle aminita mushroom" and see what comes up. Lots.

    I think we all need to be informed before we do any therapy. Again herbs and excess nutrients can (much more occasionally) have side effects too, and we need to be aware, no matter what our medical choices.

    Best wishes, CI

  4. Hey Chiquita,

    I hear what you're saying about there being scientific support to back the use of alternative medicine. I know it's on PubMed, and I don't have any arguments about there being evidence-based use of herbs and supplements out there. It can be argued that once something alternative has been tested and found to be effective and reasonably safe - that it's no longer considered alternative medicine - it's simply called medicine.

    That you know of people whose health has improved tremendously due to alternative treatments - that's great to know. If the treatments you've listed really have cured a man of HIV and cured someone else of what was thought to be terminal cancer, they really deserve closer study with more people - especially studies for people with conditions which are terminal and several doctors have signed off and officially stated there is nothing else they could do except offer palliative care. Those afflicted would have to agree to participate - and I can't see why they wouldn't given what they're facing.

    Have you seen this Discover article on remission from terminal cancer? It's a few years old, but still interesting. It's my opinion that the immune system plays a huge role in overcoming cancer, but it's not fully understood how and what needs to happen to trigger remission if not cure.

    Regarding the rest of what you've written:

    I know Tylenol overdoses kill people every year, and ibuprofen can do stomach damage. I'm not blind to these problems, and am aware that OTC medicine that is commonly thought of as 'safe' isn't - especially when not used as directed.

    I know about there being faked drug studies - and also know that they aren't all faked - only a small percentage are fradulent. The biggest problem I see right now is that negative studies are either not published at all or published years after the fact. I do have a problem with that.

    I think Boniva is pretty nasty stuff and since reading about its risk factor and side effects, don't understand why it's being sold. Beats me.

    I know about Milk thistle's efficacy and have mentioned it in comments here before - I have a bottle of Thislyn in my cabinet right here. I have read the research on it.

    I hear that you used allopathic treatment for Graves Disease, and did research that helped you avoid the use of radioactive iodine. It's good to know your endocrinologist could help you find a drug that worked for you with fewer side effects - even if it took longer to get results.

    Sometimes I think that one of the reasons society is in the situation it's in is because people expect too much out of popping pills when more patience and lifestyle changes would have improved their health - it just takes longer. But usually there are fewer side effects then and longer lasting benefits.


  5. (For Chiquita - more)

    I don't know that we are on entirely different pages, Chiquita. It does sound like your lifestyle is far more CAM-centered than mine. I have used TCM, acupuncture, and herbs with good results - but I have relied more on allopathic medicine so far to treat Lyme disease and coinfections. I did so with the guidance of a naturopath and LLMD, so my approach has been integrative in its own sense - I might rely on CAM less than you do so far.

    Early on in my post above, I said that I think both alternative and allopathic medicine have its uses, and some of it is safe & effective - and some of it is not.

    To quote myself further upstream, I said, "if a treatment is not safe and effective - whether it is allopathic or alternative, I don't give a damn - I'm not advocating its use."

    And I think most people would agree with that statement.

    I also wrote, "...the issue of what constitutes "safe" versus "not safe" requires an entire post all of its own, because it boils down to defining risk and the ratio of benefits to risks for individual patients... keep that in mind, but on the back burner for now".

    Because the issue of what constitutes acceptable risk and acceptable side effects does deserve its own entry, I didn't get into the issues you are raising about different allopathic (and alternative) treatments and their risks and benefits.

    Actually - I didn't want this to become a "for or against alternative or allopathic treatment one way or another" discussion, because *that's not what my post was about*.

    Please reread my entry, and pay closer attention to these points:

    1) If the Lyme disease patient community focuses on alternative treatment a lot and is not focusing on more research for better antibiotics (which would include ones with fewer risks and are more effective) then that can give the public, media, and mainstream medicine - including the IDSA panel - the impression that patients have accepted that chronic Lyme disease is not a serious chronic infection.

    2) If the scientific research community and mainstream medical community does not place as much weight on smaller alternative medicine studies and individual case studies - and places more weight on large double blind studies and antibiotics that have been tested and in use for decades by thousands of people are proven to put Lyme disease into remission if not kill it - then a show of widespread support for antibiotic treatment and research into it is necessary in order to make progress in that area. ** Even if you individually decide antibiotics are personally not for you and you want to go 100% CAM. **

    3) Research needs to be completed that settles the controversy of whether or not persisting spirochetes in human hosts are causing symptoms of disease. Scientists have found spirochetes in animals after antibiotic treatment - of this there is no argument. It's their significance that is being questioned. In order to secure research on persistence, it cannot be stated enough that the need for it is dire if people have chronic infections with serious complications. Do you think that this need for research in order to get better treatment can be clearly communicated to the scientific community if people have been treated more with alternative treatments than antibiotics? Why or why not?

    I have one more point to bring up, but I'm going to hold off on it for now and perhaps bring it up later... I'd like to hear what you and others have to say on these points.

  6. Hi Camp Other

    I have had a rough week so I am skimming through...

    To clarify, I too was not trying to make an either/or "Case" for CAM or mainstream. Neither am I advocating that anybody choose one or the other modality, it is not my "place" to do that.

    Instead, my message was this: I really think you are *so well researched* BRAVO!!! I truly admire and love the work you are doing here. That said, it is my impression that this one particular article about CAM is based on (What happens to be a rather popular) opinion more than on fact.

    Again this is a popular opinion and the science facts have been held down (see links in my statements above). Thousands of years old though alternative medicine use has been, and safety (with some cautions) proven accordingly, the research also is 35 years new and people simply don't know about it. No fault of your own. Enough about that, onwards ho...

    To answer your last question, I see no reason why there needs to be an either/or with research for holistic or mainstream lyme treatments.

    However, there needs to be clarity in every study, with one thing used at a time. If people are using CAM while being tested for mainstream new treatments, of necessity the information will become unclear. The same goes for the vice versa: If alternatives are being researched, then they too need to be researched solo. Otherwise if too many variables are in the equation, the results of the studies become unclear and they have to be tossed out. Further, one remedy at a time must be tested, not a batch of them, or again the results become unclear.

    Unless, of course, the aim is to prove how one added ingredient (mainstream or alternative) to any cluster of remedies, may increase the effectivness of a baseline formula.

    I hope this answers your question to your satisfaction. I am interested in your thoughts, and other peoples' here too.


  7. Hey Chiquita,

    Sorry to hear you've had a rough week. I hope it's getting better and this next week is an improvement.

    In response to your comments:

    You said,

    "Again this is a popular opinion and the science facts have been held down (see links in my statements above)."

    Can you provide evidence where science facts have been held down - perhaps give me a few examples? If there are studies on PubMed, I can look them up and confirm where research has already been done on a number of herbs and vitamins. If you look at the post I made earlier today, I cited abstracts from different scientific journals about studying the use of artemisinin as a possible cancer treatment. The information is available... so I'm thinking you must have specific examples in mind?

    You said,

    "To answer your last question, I see no reason why there needs to be an either/or with research for holistic or mainstream lyme treatments."

    I agree with that in terms of research - I think research on both is important. I have a preference that it get researched and tested before people try it - as with any drug, though. I consider herbs and supplements drugs if they have a medicinal effect.

    You said,

    "However, there needs to be clarity in every study, with one thing used at a time. If people are using CAM while being tested for mainstream new treatments, of necessity the information will become unclear."


    "Further, one remedy at a time must be tested, not a batch of them, or again the results become unclear."

    I agree with you. One has to reduce and eliminate variables, otherwise one can't be sure what is causing healing or harm.

    You said in closing,

    "I hope this answers your question to your satisfaction. I am interested in your thoughts, and other peoples' here too."

    Well, I agreed with a few things you said, but actually no, your answers didn't address the points I made further upstream, namely points #1-3 in my comment above yours.

    You didn't address the fact that the scientific research community and medical community as a whole puts more stock on antibiotic use to treat long-term infections as there are many more years of controlled study and cases to back their use, and the idea that if long-term treatment of a chronic Lyme infection requires antibiotics, that research that shows the infection can persist past antibiotic treatment in human hosts is required.

    All of that is aligned with a worldview where the use of high doses of antibiotics are required to stop the infection. If you run with the assumption and worldview where that idea is dominant - and there is much evidence to support it - what do you do?

    You told me something informative about your perspective on allopathic and alternative medicine in general - but I'd like to hear what you have to say about these specific points. I haven't heard you address them yet.

  8. Still waiting and looking forward to a response from you, Chiquita...

    Well, if I don't see you here, maybe I'll see you sometime during the month of May at the Daily Kos.

    Best wishes from CO.


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