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Challenges and Opportunities in Lyme Disease

Challenges and Opportunities in Lyme Disease

Cory Tichauer
Bear Creek Naturopathic Clinic, Medford, OR 97504 USA.

Jamie Corroon
Helfgott Research Institute, National University of Natural Medicine, Portland, OR 97102 USA.

Rachele Fain
Bear Creek Naturopathic Clinic, Medford, OR 97504 USA.

Andrew Erlandsen
Helfgott Research Institute, National University of Natural Medicine, Portland, OR 97102 USA.

Ryan Bradley
Helfgott Research Institute, National University of Natural Medicine, Portland, OR 97102 USA.


Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States with an estimated 476,000 new cases per year. Delays in diagnosis and treatment are common and there is a lack of consensus on the antibiotic therapy protocols to ensure successful outcomes. Much of this discord is due to the observation that more than 50 percent of people treated with conventional antibiotic protocols, which have changed little in the last 30 years, report persistent and/or recurring symptoms within 6 months of completing treatment. Labeled as chronic Lyme or post-treatment Lyme disease, it is a syndrome that afflicts more than 2 million people in the United States and can have a devastating impact on both quality of life and socioeconomic capacity. Despite these known treatment failures, the research community has lacked the funding necessary to advance our understanding of this syndrome or to explore innovative options to improve success. In this regard, complementary and alternative therapies, which are generally not patentable and have little potential for producing large economic gain, are generally disregarded in favor of new designer drugs or old reworked protocols. Intravenous vitamin C is one such example that has research validated effectiveness for a wide range of clinical conditions ranging from infection to cancer care. Achieving serum levels much higher than could be obtained orally, high dose intravenous vitamin C has the capacity to generate a concentration of intracellular peroxide that exerts both cytotoxic and immune stimulating effects. Unfortunately, these high doses of intravenous vitamin C have never been evaluated to establish safety and tolerability in Lyme positive patients. This study’s primary aim is to examine this question with the unique additions of DMSO and calcium EDTA into the formula to enhance tissue penetration and address biofilm formation respectively, both of which are known barriers to antibiotic success. The secondary aim of the study is to determine whether subjects gain relief from Lyme-associated symptoms by tracking changes in both the PROMIS-29 and the Horowitz-Lyme-MSIDS questionnaires. The exploratory objective is to assess changes in Lyme specific labs including the standard immunoblot and the T-cell based Elispot as well as the CD57+ lymphocyte immune marker. Administered at a 75-gram dose twice weekly over 12 weeks, high dose intravenous vitamin C was shown to be both well tolerated and safe. The secondary and exploratory aims of the study provide insight into the potential efficacy of this protocol, as both subjective measures of symptom severity and objective assessment of Lyme biomarkers showed marked improvement. Ultimately, this study paves the way for future research using high dose intravenous vitamin C in Lyme patents either as a stand-alone treatment or in synergy with other therapies. It is this author’s hope that employing an integrative medical approach such as this will eventually see chronic Lyme disease as a rare rather than common occurrence.

Ying Jia
Department of Genetics and Genome Biology, University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom

Tatjana Mijatovic
R.E.D. Laboratories, Zellik, Belgium

Louis Teulières
PhelixRD Charity 230 Rue du Faubourg St Honoré, Paris, 75017, France

Martha Clokie
Department of Genetics and Genome Biology, University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom

Jinyu Shan
Department of Genetics and Genome Biology, University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom


Tick-borne diseases are a growing concern worldwide, affecting both human and animal populations. Ticks are known to harbour a wide range of pathogens and are considered one of the most important vectors of diseases. Lyme disease, caused by Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, is the most common tick-borne disease in the US and Europe. However, accurate diagnosis of Lyme disease can be challenging due to the complex immune evasion strategies employed by Borrelia species and the limitations of existing diagnostic tests. To address this issue, researchers are exploring novel approaches, including the use of bacteriophages as diagnostic tools. Bacteriophages are highly specific and offer advantages over traditional methods for detecting bacteria, including Borrelia. In particular, the use of multicopy bacteriophages as molecular markers for Borrelia detection is a promising approach that may provide greater sensitivity than targeting single-copy bacterial genes. Nonetheless, the task of identifying trace amounts of bacteriophages in blood samples necessitates attention, and scientists are devising innovative techniques to surmount this hurdle. In summary, employing bacteriophages as a diagnostic tool for Lyme disease, by specifically targeting free circulating bacteriophages in blood samples, offers significant potential for enhancing patient outcomes and public health. However, additional rigorous scientific validation is required to definitively ascertain the efficacy and accuracy of using a phage-based methodology for detecting Borrelia in blood samples.

Vardayani Ratti


A current model for Ixodes scapularis was revised and extended to represent the temperature dependent life cycle and host structure for Ixodes pacificus, the vector of the Lyme disease pathogen Borrelia burgdorferi in the Western United States. Parameters were adjusted to reflect data collected in Mendocino, CA. The hosts for I. pacificus include the Western Fence Lizard, which is not only an incompetent host for B. burgdorferi, but some studies claim that it eliminates it in ticks that feed on this lizard. The lizard host has been proposed as a reason for lower prevalence of Lyme disease in the West. This hypothesis was tested quantitatively by varying the number of lizard hosts. Model results suggest that the presence of refractory hosts produces a dilution effect for B. burgdorferi infection and is likely to be the reason for observed lower prevalence of Lyme disease in the Western United States.

George Georgiou


Lyme disease, which is caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi is the most prevalent tick-borne illness in the world today and has grown into a major public health problem during the last decade, irrelevant to decades of efforts from various health professionals.

The conventional treatment for Lyme disease is the use of a variety of antibiotics, but relapse often occurs when antibiotics are discontinued. There are several reasons why this relapse may occur, given that B. burgdorferi is a pleomorphic microorganism that can convert from vegetative spirochetes to a variety of different round bodies and biofilm colonies. Therefore, there is an urgent need for novel approaches that can eliminate all these different morphologies.

This has challenged many health practitioners around the world, not to mention the suffering of many afflicted people. In this study, Chlorine dioxide (CD) at different concentrations was tested for its effectiveness in vitro against B. burgdorferi using combined fluorescent and darkfield microscopy with Live-or-Dye staining methods. Our experiments demonstrated that it is possible to completely eradicate all forms of B. burgdorferi at specific concentrations of Chlorine dioxide. Our extensive research has shown that Chlorine dioxide can be used for the eradication of B. burgdorferi morphologies.

At certain concentrations of chlorine dioxide above 2 ppm the Borrelia morphologies appear to be eradicated as there is no motility of either spirochetes or round bodies, only biofilms visible. However, incubating again for another 7 days resulted in the Borrelia being motile again as they come out of the biofilms.

We, therefore, decided to conduct each experiment with what we termed the Regrowth Kill Test (RKT) by incubating the initial sample with the CD in an incubator at 37 degrees centigrade in the Campypack for 7-days. It appeared that the biofilms that are quickly formed as soon as the CD is added in the initial experiment, broke up and released small spirochetes and round bodies of different morphologies.

After numerous RKT experiments, it was determined that the concentration that resulted in a near complete disinfection of the spirochetes as well as round bodies was 30 ppm CD.

Ryan Shoemaker
ProgeneDx LLC, Bedford, Mass

A Heyman
School of Medicine and Health Sciences, George Washington School of Medicine

D Lark
NSJ EnviroSciences Pty Ltd, Newcastle, NSW, Australia


Beginning with Possible Estuarine Associated Syndrome (PEAS) in 1998 and followed by numerous studies on similar types of exposures, patients with illness associated with biotoxin exposure routinely have had symptom rosters dominated by executive cognitive dysfunction, including recent memory deficits, difficulty in concentration, difficulty with word finding, decreased assimilation of new knowledge, confusion and disorientation, tremors, headaches, vertigo, and unusual pains. In addition, tremors, headaches, vertigo, unusual pains and metallic taste. Toxins involved variously have included those found in toxin-forming dinoflagellates, including Pfiesteria and ciguatera; cyanobacteria, including Microcystis, Cylindrospermopsis and Lyngbya wollei; post Lyme syndrome and Babesia; as well as organisms found in damp buildings, including Aspergillus versicolor and A. penicillioides, Stachybotrys chartarum, Chaetomium globosum, Wallemia sebi, Actinobacteria species, especially Corynebacteria tuberculostearicum and Propionibacterium acnes; as well as bacterial endotoxins and beta-glucans. These illnesses have been called chronic inflammatory response syndromes (CIRS).

The mechanism of neurologic findings has remained elusive despite studies showing successful treatment with intranasal vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP). Neurocognitive testing has only been performed in PEAS patients, showing profound deficits in learning and higher cognitive functioning. These CIRS patients have had brain imaging without consistent findings, including MRI, EEG, and CT of the brain. NeuroQuant has shown findings that fit a “fingerprint” found in patients with specific causation and confirmed exposure to Actinobacteria and endotoxins. Fungal exposure shows disproportionate enlargement due to interstitial edema in the forebrain parenchyma and cortical grey, with a diminished caudate nucleus size. These findings have not been found in controls. The recent inclusion of transcriptomic studies using GENIE has confirmed that specific causation can be identified for Actinobacteria (48% of total confirmed cases), bacterial endotoxins (28%) and fungi (7%) in CIRS patients. The combination of NeuroQuant and GENIE has implicated excessive production of cytoskeletal tubulin genes TUBA4A and TUBB1 as risk factors for specific fingerprints for die-back degenerative central nervous system (CNS) injury in patients with illnesses associated variously with exposure to Actinobacteria, fungi and endotoxins.

This study seeks to implicate a causal abnormality of excessive expression of tubulin genes TUBA4A and TUBB1. Given the role of these genes in die-back CNS degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, and anecdotal successful treatment of CIRS patients with elevated TUBA4A and TUBB1, we suggest the possibility of treatment of tubulin excess may have a role in clinical improvement seen in die-back CNS degenerative diseases. Elevated levels of MAPK are also risk factors when combined with elevated levels of TUBA4A and TUBBI.

Herbert B. Allen, MD
Professor and Chair Emeritus Drexel University, College of Medicine Adjunct Professor of Dermatology Eastern Virginia Medical School Clinical Professor Geriatrics and Gerontology Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine

Rachel A. Allen, BA
Jefferson Medical School

Kiertana Kannan, BS
Drexel Medical School

Lucy Fransko


This will be an overview of our studies on biofilms and the diseases with which they are associated. Where possible, it will include the microbes that create these biofilms, their locations in the body, and their impact on the innate and adaptive immune systems. It will include all the diseases which we have recently classified as eczema in addition to those previously considered as such. It will also include psoriasis, tinea versicolor, leprosy, tertiary Lyme disease and Alzheimer’s disease, the deposition diseases (arteriosclerosis, gout pretibial myxedema), the necrobiotic granulomas (granuloma annulare, rheumatoid nodules, and necrobiosis lipoidica), molluscum contagiosum and squamous cell carcinoma in situ in pigmented transplant patients. Consequently, many chronic skin and systemic diseases have been shown to be biofilm diseases. This implies that these disorders have a large, often determinative microbiological component. Where known, the mechanism whereby these biofilms interact with the immune system will be discussed.

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