Summary Of the October 11th Lyme Seminar
On October 11th, Professor Holly Ahern enlightened a captivated crowd of more than 80 Club members and guests.  She started the evening with a Lyme quiz, which was no match for our Lyme savvy crowd.  Test your own Lyme literacy by visiting the Lyme Action Network website:
While there, you can find a reprint of Dr. Richard Horowitz’s MSIDS questionnaire. This questionnaire has been validated for accuracy and is a good preliminary screening tool if you suspect that you might have a tick borne-illness.
In addition to the important factual information (that you can glean from the website), those present were treated to an impassioned first-hand account of a microbiologist in her fight to save her daughter from Lyme.  We also had a glimpse of the sad history as to why we are currently experiencing this underestimated medical plague.
Some poignant details included a discussion of the top four infectious diseases: 1) chlamydia, 2) Lyme, 3) gonorrhea, and 4) syphilis. 
Professor Ahern noted that three of the four are sexually transmitted.  When pressed about the sexual transmission of Lyme, she stated that Borrelia bacteria (the causative agent of Lyme disease) is transmitted sexually. There is little research and much controversy, however, as to the extent of sexually transmitted Lyme disease.  One has to question why Lyme ranks second in a group of infectious diseases if it is as hard to contract and as easy to cure as some Lyme literature claims.  She did however have sufficient scientific proof to claim without hesitation that Lyme is gestational.  This means the infected mother can pass the disease to the unborn child at conception and through breast milk.
A discussion ensued as to the life cycle of “deer” ticks.  Using the word deer in the name is misleading. In the nymph stage these poppy seed-size parasites feed twice and usually on mice and other small rodents.  Before you begin a campaign to eradicate all mice from the food chain, here is an interesting preventative tip for homeowners.  Tubes of permethrin laced cotton balls can be purchased on-line (Damminix Tick Tubes).  In the spring these tubes scattered around your yard provide nesting material for mice and chipmunks. The treated cotton kills the ticks but doesn’t harm the small mammals.  A win, win for all parties (except the ticks).
Another topic of great interest was alternative treatments.  These might fall into two categories.  Standard and prevalent practices like acupuncture, therapeutic massage, nutrition counseling, meditation, and physical therapy,  help suffering Lyme patients to feel better, facilitate healing, and get their lives back to some degree.  The Spaulding Rehabilitation Center in Boston has opened the Dean Center for Tick-borne Illnesses,  a center devoted to patients afflicted with Lyme disease and other tick-borne ailments. That center has been attracting world-wide attention and after a very short time they had to expand to accommodate the growing demand. The scarcity of professionals and facilities dedicated to addressing this epidemic is a huge problem for Lyme patients around the world.
Also available are some alternatives which are less well known but Professor Ahern has been impressed with how well they work. Among these is a class of device that uses oscillating pulsed frequencies to generate unique resonant frequencies that attack and kill the bacteria in the body.  Often referred to as a Rife machine or rife-like machine, there are many iterations floating around online, but these machines are not approved by the FDA, and very few brands (manufacturers) are recommended by people who are experts in this arena. While caution is advised for people investigating this technology, there is optimism among many regarding the potentials for this type of therapy.  More information can be found in this TED talk:
The Lyme Action Network hopes to hold a special forum on this technology in the near future.
Naturopathic physicians are also a favored resource among many Lyme patients.  Although not licensed to prescribe antibiotics in New York State, naturopaths focus on the patient as a whole and work through natural means to balance all the body’s systems so that the body’s own immune system is maximized to do battle with whatever pathogens are causing problems.  Due to the multi-systemic nature of Lyme disease, this approach can be very effective.  
Infrared saunas and hot tubs also work well as therapies since tick-borne pathogens do not like heat.
Many attendees asked why the standard recommended medical treatment of taking two doxycycline pills at the time of a tick bite persists despite the evidence that this is reckless and incorrect medical advice.  The answer is more complicated than it should be, and entrenched powers are not only resistant to change but are critical of any evidence that doesn’t support their antiquated research and the status quo.  We need to arm ourselves with information so we can advocate for our own care should we find ourselves bitten by a tick.
There were several take-aways from this event:
1. There is no season when you are 100% safe from ticks. You are possibly safe if it is very cold and you are walking on snow, but the ticks do not freeze, and become active when the temperature is above freezing.
2.  Lyme is often misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, depression, mental illness, lupus, multiple sclerosis, autism, Alzheimers, and many other ailments. The frequency of misdiagnosis is extremely high. BE aware of this for yourself and your family members.
3.  The diagnostic tests for Lyme disease are very unreliable.  The likelihood for a false negative result is about 50%.  The chances of a false positive are miniscule.
4. Ticks are ingenious at hiding on our bodies. Most people never see the tick that bit them.  They inject their prey with an anesthetic so you never feel them bite.  
5.  Ticks can hitch a ride into the house on pets.  Think twice before you let your pets sleep in bed with you.
6.  Prevention is paramount.  Treat your clothing with permethrin and use bug repellent. Do tick checks when you come in, take a hot shower, and throw your clothing in the dryer on hot for 10 minutes to kill any ticks.
Additionally: Drexel University has issued a call for ticks!  Researchers developing means by which diseases can be more readily identified need ticks for their research.  If you find an unattached tick anywhere please place tick(s) in a small ZiplocTM bag with a moist cotton ball, paper towel or blade of grass and send to:
Carol Hope
Center for Advanced Microbial Processing Drexel University
New College Building
245 N. 15th St, Rm 17113
Philadelphia, PA 19101 
or call  Nancy Wilson
If you remove an attached tick from your skin, go to for instructions about submitting a tick to determine which pathogens it was carrying.
A leaflet entitled Learn the Facts was available at the seminar and copies are now available in the lobby of the Club House.  If you have more questions or concerns regarding Lyme, please feel free to contact Nancy at Wilson Sewartzy@gmail