WEBWIRE – Monday, October 26, 2009
Contact Information
Monique Dubos
Event manager
Minnesota Lyme Action Support Group

Minnesota Film Arts is proud to present the Lyme disease documentary “Under Our Skin,” co-sponsored by the Minnesota Lyme Action Support Group. Show days and times are: November 8, 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm, and November 9 and 10, 7:30 p.m., at the Oak Street Cinema, 309 Oak St in Minneapolis. The Event is Part of an Effort to Pass Legislation to Allow Patients to Choose Long-term Lyme Disease Antibiotic Therapy

The screenings are part of an effort to raise awareness and help pass Minnesota Senate bill SF1631, which will allow patients with Lyme disease other tick-borne diseases and their doctors– not insurance companies – to decide what treatment protocol to follow.

Jordan Fisher Smith, who tells his own harrowing story in the film, will emcee the Nov 8 and 9 showings. State legislators Ray Vandeveer and John Ward will talk briefly about the legislation before the shows on Nov 8. Dr. Elizabeth Maloney, MLASG medical consultant, will be on hand for questions after all screenings. Jordan Fisher Smith and Dr. Maloney will be available to media 45 minutes before show times, or by appointment.

Lyme disease is a complex disease with complicated issues surrounding it. Here are some of the basics:

* Lyme disease is the fastest growing vector-borne disease in the United States. Minnesota ranks 8th, with 1,282 cases reported in 2008.
* The CDC estimates the number to be ten times that, making LD bigger than West Nile and Avian flu combined.
* 1 in 3 deer ticks in Minnesota carry the Lyme bacteria, according to the MN Dept of Health.
* Lyme cases have spiked 450% in Minnesota from 1998 – 2008.
* Tests for LD are highly inaccurate and result in false negatives; insurance companies then use these results to deny care.
* Patients are often denied much-needed antibiotic treatment by doctors who are misinformed about the disease or fear reprisal from state medical boards.
* Each year thousands go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, told that their symptoms are “all in their head.”

“Under Our Skin” follows patients and physicians as they battle for their lives and livelihoods, bringing into focus a haunting picture of our health care system and its inability to cope with a silent terror under our skin.

The Minnesota Lyme Action Support Group is a non-profit organization working toward increased awareness and prevention of Lyme disease, as well as much-needed research into the causes and complications of tick-borne diseases.

The Minnesota Lyme Action Support Group also provides educational opportunities for physicians, advocacy for patients, information on tick-borne diseases, and support to those infected with Lyme disease.

Public release date: 27-Oct-2009
Contact: Randi Triant
Tufts University, Health Sciences

Tufts CTSI and Tufts University receive 4 NIH supplemental grant awards

The Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and Tufts University today announced they are the recipients of four supplemental grant awards from the National Institutes of Health. These new awards, totaling approximately $1.73 million, are supplements to the original Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) grant, UL1 RR025752 that Tufts University received in 2008 from the National Center for Research Resources.

“Community Engagement Research” is a two-year project that will expand the scope of Tufts CTSI’s current community engagement program by enhancing the ability of community partners to participate more effectively in the development of research plans and outcomes. Begun in September 2009, the project has already established an alliance between the Tufts CTSI, the Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center, and two pivotal community partners, the Center for Community Health Education, Research, and Service (CCHERS) and the Immigrant Service Providers Group/Health (ISG/H). This alliance is creating a curriculum and evaluation for a self-study and face-to-face program entitled “Fostering Community Partners in Translational Research (FCPTR)” that will target community agencies and health centers. The Program Director is Laurel Leslie, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine.

“Improving BPD Predictors and Outcomes for Clinical Trials” builds on prior landmark research that identified a constellation of signs and symptoms in high risk newborns to accurately define bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and predict the subsequent development of chronic respiratory morbidity (CRM) later in childhood and adolescence. While treatment with recombinant human superoxide dismutase to premature newborns has been proven to have a 55% reduction in CRM compared to placebo controls, current definitions of BPD may be unreliable predictors of CRM and a more robust reduction in CRM is needed. Superoxide dismutase is an enzyme that converts superoxide radicals (highly reactive oxygen molecules produced during metabolism and capable of damaging body tissues) into less toxic agents. This one-year study is a prospective, longitudinal, observational study in 85 preterm infants 24-29 weeks gestation. The Program Director is Jonathan Davis, MD, Chief of Newborn Medicine, The Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center, Program Director at the Clinical and Translational Research Center, and Professor of Pediatrics, Tufts University School of Medicine. Partners in this study include Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Harvard University), Beth Israel Hospital (Harvard University), Nationwide Children’s Hospital (Ohio State), and King’s College in London.

“Searching for Persistence of Infection in Lyme Disease” is a highly innovative Bench-to- Bedside research project that could have an extraordinarily significant impact on the field of Lyme disease. Although antibiotic therapy is clinically effective in treating the symptoms of Lyme disease for most patients early in the course of disease, a significant number of patients who receive therapy report persistent symptoms. A range of theories have been proposed for why this occurs. Moreover, commonly available tests for human Lyme disease are not able to determine persistent infection after antibiotic therapy. Program Director, Linden Hu, MD (Associate Professor of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine and Associate Professor of Microbiology, Sackler School of Biomedical Graduate Sciences) has begun an unconventional study examining whether xenodiagnosis (the feeding of uninfected Ixodes ticks on infected animals) can be used to determine when persistent infection occurs in humans. Xenodiagnosis has been used for other difficult to diagnose diseases such as Chagas disease and can sometimes definitively identify the presence of an organism in animals where other techniques cannot. Whether xenodiagnosis is effective in humans is unknown. This two-year project seeks to test the utility of xenodiagnosis for identifying persistence of B. burgdorferi, the spirochetal bacteria that cause Lyme disease, after antibiotic treatment of the disease. Dr. Linden’s team will test subjects with elevated C6 antibody levels or persistent symptoms after antibiotic therapy and patients with Lyme arthritis. Evidence that B. burgdorferi can be identified by xenodiagnosis after antibiotic therapy in subjects with continued symptoms would significantly change the current paradigm for potential mechanisms of disease and provide researchers and clinicians with a novel tool for identifying patients with persistent infection.

Tufts CTSI currently has a Pilot Studies Program that funds new interdisciplinary research teams, seeds novel ideas, and provides the means to acquire necessary preliminary data for larger, multi-year grant applications. A new supplemental project, The Pilot Project Mechanism, is led by Susan K. Parsons, MD, MRP, Director, The Health Institute, Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies and Associate Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, Tufts University School of Medicine, and Amy Yee, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry, Sackler School of Biomedical Graduate Sciences. This two-year project expands the current program to influence research not just within the Tufts enterprise, but also throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and into New England via Tufts CTSI’s forty-three collaborating partners by soliciting interinstitutional and multidisciplinary applications. Many of the identified programs will hire and support undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, thereby creating jobs throughout New England and also increasing the pipeline for translational researchers.


About Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI)

Tufts CTSI was established in August 2008 with Grant Number UL1 RR025752 from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), National Institutes of Health (NIH). A collaboration of organizations, founded by Tufts Medical Center and Tufts University, Tufts CTSI accelerates the translation of laboratory research into clinical use, medical practice and health policy. It connects people to research resources, consultation, and education, and fosters collaboration with scholars of all disciplines and with community members, with the ultimate goal of improving the health of the public. Website: www.tuftsctsi.org.

About NCRR and the CTSA Consortium

The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), provides laboratory scientists and clinical researchers with the tools and training they need to understand, detect, treat, and prevent a wide range of diseases. NCRR supports all aspects of clinical and translational research, connecting researchers, patients, and communities across the nation. Through programs such as the Clinical and Translational Science Awards, NCRR brings together innovative research teams and equips them with essential tools and critical resources needed to tackle the nation’s complex health problems.

About the NIH

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary Federal agency for conducting and supporting medical research. Helping to lead the way toward important medical discoveries that improve people’s health and save lives, NIH scientists investigate ways to prevent disease as well as the causes, treatments, and even cures for common and rare diseases. Composed of 27 Institutes and Centers, the NIH provides leadership and financial support to researchers in every state and throughout the world. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.


Advocates’ report links climate change to worsening of diseases
By David A. Fahrenthold
Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Climate change will make Americans more vulnerable to diseases, disasters and heat waves, but governments have done little to plan for the added burden on the health system, according to a new study by a nonprofit group.

The study, released Monday by the Trust for America’s Health, an advocacy group focused on disease prevention, examines the public-health implications of climate change. In addition to pushing up sea levels and shrinking Arctic ice, the report says, a warming planet is likely to leave more people sick, short of breath or underfed.

Experts involved with the study said that these threats might be reduced if the federal government adopts a cap on greenhouse-gas emissions. But no legislation could stop them altogether, they said. Emissions already in the atmosphere are expected to increase warming — and the problems that come with it — for years to come.

“That [a cap on greenhouse gases] really is not enough,” said Phyllis Cuttino of the Pew Environment Group, which funded the study. “We can see all these problems coming, but as a country, we haven’t done enough to prepare for them.”

The idea that climate change will be bad for people as well as polar bears is not new: It was explained in detail by a United Nations panel that won the Nobel Peace Prize for its work on climate in 2007.

Monday’s report summarized some of the biggest worries for Americans in particular. They included:

— Heat waves, which the report says are expected to increase. The danger is expected to be worst, the report said, in concrete-clad cities, where the lack of greenery creates an “urban heat island.” Under climate change, the experts said, summer heat could also sneak up on people in cities where air conditioning hasn’t been needed in the past.

— More “extreme weather events,” such as hurricanes, floods and wildfire-breeding droughts. Drought could also create crop failures, the report said, leading to malnutrition.

— More widespread diseases carried by mosquitoes, ticks and other pests. If warmer temperatures allow these animals to expand their ranges northward, the result could be more cases of West Nile virus, Lyme disease and hantavirus.

— Increased air pollution, caused because heat contributes to the formation of smog. This, the report said, could increase the incidence of severe asthma or pulmonary disease.

The experts who worked on the study said they could not provide a timetable for when and where these effects will appear. But they said it is already time to get ready for them, but many governments are not doing so.

“Some of the most personal effects of climate change are going to be health-related ones,” said Jeff Levi, executive director of the Trust for America’s Health. “We should want the government doing as much as possible now to prevent these effects, or minimize them when they occur.”

Officials involved in the study said that preparations might include planting more trees in cities, to clean and cool urban air. Levi said they might also include laying in supplies of medicine for diseases that might appear in an area for the first time.

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Written by Phillip LaVeque
Sunday, 25 October 2009
Lyme disease is an infection with a corkscrew-shaped bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. It is passed to humans through tick bites.
What is going on in the body?

After an infected tick bites an individual, the Borrelia burgdorferi organism can cause early local Lyme disease. This may cause a mild flu-like illness and a rash at the site of the bite. If the organism spreads through the body by the bloodstream, it can affect many body systems. This widespread infection is known as disseminated Lyme disease.
What are the causes and risks of the infection?

Lyme disease is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria is carried by certain species of ticks, including the following:
– deer ticks in the northeastern and north-central parts of the United States
– sheep ticks in Europe
– Taiga tick in Asia
– western black-legged ticks in other parts of the U.S.

A person in these areas increases his or her risk of acquiring Lyme disease from a tick bite with the following activities:
– camping
– clearing brush
– fishing
– forestry
– landscaping
– hiking
– hunting
– living in a wooded or overgrown environment
– parks management

Lyme disease can also be passed to an unborn child if the baby’s mother has the disease during pregnancy.
What are the treatments for the infection?

Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics, including the following:
– amoxicillin
– ceftriaxone
– doxycycline
– penicillin

Other medications may be used to treat symptoms of Lyme disease. For example, seizures may be treated with anticonvulsant medications. Ibuprofen may be given for fever or joint pain.
What are the side effects of the treatments?

Antibiotics and other medications used to treat Lyme disease may cause stomach upset or allergic reactions. Some of the antibiotics may cause light sensitivity.
What happens after treatment for the infection?

With effective treatment, individuals recover from Lyme disease without further problems. In some individuals, the disease lasts a long time or the infection comes back. These people may need repeated treatment. There is currently controversy about the effectiveness of long term antibiotics for chronic Lyme disease. Research continues in this area.
How is the infection monitored?

Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.

Terry-J.-SedlacekThe 27-year-old was armed with enough bullets to kill 30 people


An Edwardsville man accused of gunning down a pastor during a Sunday sermon on March 8 has been deemed mentally unfit to stand trial, a judge ruled Tuesday. Terry Sedlacek, 27, was found to be schizophrenic by psychologist Robert Heilbronner following a court-ordered mental examination. He will be kept in the custody of the Illinois Department of Human Services to determine in 30 days if his mental capacity is believed to improve within the year. Heilbronner reportedly said that Sedlacek would “have significant difficulty listening to and understanding explanations that are provided to him, and be unable to respond in a relevant manner during pleading or testimony,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

Sedlacek is facing first-degree murder and aggravated battery charges after he shot and killed the Rev. Fred Winters, 45, at the First Baptist Church, armed with a .45-caliber Glock handgun and enough bullets to kill 30 people. He then allegedly stabbed two congregants who tried to subdue him after his gun jammed. The shooting in Maryville was initially believed by the congregation to be a skit, after the first shot clipped the Bible that Winters was holding, spraying pieces of it into the air like confetti. Sedlacek’s family initially attributed the man’s erratic behavior to Lyme disease, but the judge’s ruling makes no reference to that particular ailment, the Tribune reports.

Kim’s Notes:  I am not defending what this man has done.  It is a shame a man had to die, however, Lyme Disease is known to cause mental illness, including  schizophrenia.  I wish this case would bring light to how deeply some suffer.

WKOW_logoJeff Angileri — jangileri@wkowtv.com

MADISON (WKOW) — It starts with a tick bite, but if untreated, Lyme disease can attack the body, and injure it permanently.

“I never thought I would turn around and come out of it. Never thought.”

Tory Gensichen of Madison recalls her health care nightmare.  It started in 1988, when she noticed a rash on her body.

“I ended up with a terrible flu like illness,” she said. “A couple weeks later, very debilitated, and neurological symptoms.”

Tory went to several doctors and endured dozens of exams, for more than a decade. Finally, a blood test revealed she had Lyme disease.

“I never knew about it growing up, and I was an outdoor kid my whole life — loved the fall, rolling in the leaves.”

Lyme disease is an infection caused by tiny deer ticks, which burrow into to the skin with a painless bite.

“Ticks have a anesthetic in their saliva so you don’t feel the tick bite,” said rheumatologist Dr. Steven Maciolek, Dean Health’s Riverview Clinic in Janesville.

Dr. Maciolek says Lyme disease can be treated with oral antibiotics. Catching it early is key.

“Untreated Lyme disease can cause arthritis, neurological symptoms, irritate the nerves along the neck and shoulders,” he said.

Or sometimes, in Tory’s case it can attack the central nervous system, paralyzing the body.

“I spent three years on oxygen, and I was wheelchair-bound from 2003 to 2007,” Tory said. “This can be a chronic, life threatening illness, ruins careers, takes years out of people’s lives.”

Tory needed intravenous antibiotics.

Two years after treatment began, the excruciating pain is gone, she’s off most of her medications, and recovering.

“It’s encouraging and should give hope to others not to give up.”

Doctors say a daily body check in the shower is the best prevention.

If you see any unusual changes in the skin, contact your doctor.

Also, wear protective clothing when outdoors in the woods or tall grass.




Independent film company Andalusian Dogs will host public screenings of their revealing documentary ‘Under the Eightball’ at The Brattle Theater in Boston, Massachusetts on Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 4:30 PM. Another showing for ‘Under the Eightball’ is scheduled at the University of Hartford’s Wilde Auditorium in Hartford, Connecticut on Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 7 PM. The film promises to be a paradigm shifting experience for many as it directs the viewers attention on the ‘true’ source of the suffering associated with Lyme Disease and a host of other illnesses.

Hartford, CT and Boston, MA (PRWEB) October 12, 2009 — The revolutionary, new documentary “Under the Eightball” will hold public screenings on Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 4:30 PM at The Brattle Theater in Boston, Massachusetts and on Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 7 PM at the University of Hartford’s Wilde Auditorium in Hartford, Connecticut.

‘Under the Eightball’ is the only film about Lyme Disease that exposes the true nature of this horrible disease and its roots to the US Bio-warfare Program.

Director Timothy Grey says, “We’re gearing up to give the world an eye opening experience. Our goal, through the revealing footage in this film, is to give the citizens of our country and the world for that matter, a stiff dose of reality with the power to make a difference. There are far too many people dying and suffering needlessly of chronic illnesses primarily Lyme Disease and because this disease remains a ‘politically incorrect’ illness to diagnose, even more people will suffer unless we do something about it.”

Under the Eightball is an independent documentary film that promises to be a paradigm shifting experience for many as it directs the viewers attention to the ‘true’ source of the suffering associated with Lyme Disease and a host of other illnesses. Lyme Disease is frequently misdiagnosed as ALS, Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and over 300 other diseases.

Under The Eightball was produced by Andalusian Dogs and was written, directed and edited by Timothy Grey and Breanne Russell. Executive producers are Justin Blake and Rasheed Ali.

— For more information about the screenings please contact Roxanne — 727-365-4428



Kim’s Notes:  I have yet to see this film.  Therefore, I have no recommendation on it yet.  I have heard mixed reviews, both good and bad, so…I would like the opportunity to screen it then give a recommendation…or not. //Kim


We’re reaching into the MBF Mailbag to get a field report from northern Minnesota today. Seems recently one of our readers, Matthew Miltich, has had good luck with ruffed grouse and worse luck with ticks.

I got out yesterday with my young Welsh springer spaniel, Cosmo, and we put up five birds, missed a Hail Mary shot in heavy foliage, but knocked down a bird when we were presented the one half-decent shot of the day. The woods were in summer mode, dense foliage and heat.

Here’s my reason for writing: You should be aware that we’ve had a real epidemic of lyme disease here. My vet, from Bigfork, Minn., says that he’s seeing many cases of ehrlichiosis (carried by deer ticks), as well as Lyme in dogs. I get my own dogs vaccinated for Lyme, and if you hunt in this country, it’s a good idea to have your dog vaccinated and treated with a tick preventive, such as Frontline or Advantix.

New deer ticks hatch in October, and they’re very active during late fall, even after many heavy frosts. I’ve come out of grouse cover in October with 10 or more deer ticks (very tiny and hard to see) on each trouser leg. If you’re in this country, take precautions for you and your dog against deer ticks. Three local friends of ours were diagnosed with Lyme just in the past few weeks. Fall is a great time in the woods, but you need to take care not to fall victim to Lyme.

Those are sage words of advice. Down in South Carolina ticks are a constant problem, though Lyme disease isn’t as prevalent as it is up North. So far it’s been an ordinary year as far as ticks go. I’ve pulled a few off of my own hide, but Advantix seems to be keeping the little buggers from latching onto Pritch.

I’m curious if anyone else has seen an up tick in ticks and the problems they cause for both hunters and dogs this season.

*Oct 02 - 00:05*BY Katie Charles

Wednesday, October 7th 2009, 4:48 AM

The specialist: Dr. Douglas Jabs on uveitis

A professor and the chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at Mount Sinai, Jabs has specialized in treating uveitis for 25 years.

Who’s at risk

Uveitis is an inflammatory process that affects the interior of the eye and can cause blindness. “The first thing to understand is that uveitis is about 30 different diseases, all characterized by inflammation inside the eye,” says Jabs. “Uveitis falls into the uncommon-disease category – it affects a fraction of 1% of the population,” he adds, but it is still among the leading causes of blindness in this country.

The 30 forms of uveitis can have different origins, but most cases are due to autoimmune or autoinflammatory responses. “In those diseases, the body’s infection-fighting system, the immune system, after some environmental insult, begins to attack the body, and in this case the eye,” says Jabs. “We actually don’t know what triggers most autoimmune diseases, but in those cases where we do know, it’s often an infection, not in the eye, but elsewhere in the body.” The autoimmune disease develops after the body clears the infection. Some autoimmune diseases attack the whole body, and others attack a particular region. In a minority of cases, uveitis is caused by an infection of the eye, or by systemic infections like Lyme disease.

TIDA logo 09-19-09 BloggerHere is a blog I stumbled across about invisible Illnesses.  FYI-Dr. Bransfield is on the advisory board.  Check it out!