The New Great Imitator: Lyme Disease

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MS in Wellington


Jo Anne Whitaker, M.D.; Eleanor G. Fort, B.G., M.T.; Minter H. Dopson; Lida H. Mattman, Ph.D.; and Sally M. Marlowe, N.P.

Bowen Research and Training, Tarpon Springs, FL, USA,
Chisolm Biological Laboratory, Aiken, SC, USA
Nelson Medical Research, Warren, MI, USA
Arthritis Pain Treatment Center, Clearwater, FL, USA


Health is a state of balance. Because humans and microbes are often competitors, interactive co-evolution has resulted in multiple and varied defense mechanisms on the part of both. The body must juggle and perform delicate balancing acts to maintain adaptive successes in spite of constantly changing life situations.

Lyme Disease (LD), Fibromyalgia (FMS), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Gulf War Syndrome (CWS), and many similar chronic conditions affect multiple body systems often accompanied by extreme morbidity. Laboratory diagnostic methods presently in use are often undependable. We believe The Gold Standard Culture method developed by Lida Mattman, Ph.D. is the only consistently dependable procedure for the demonstration of the spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb), the causative agent of LD.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that the plethora of multiple clinical signs and symptoms associated with LD are also common to patients with FMS, CFS, GWS, and other commonly referred to as immune diseases. Most physicians do not consider LD to be a cause of these syndromes, thus, allowing untold numbers of direly ill patients to suffer without the antibiotic treatments which will improve their clinical situation, and, in some cases, cure their disease (acute LD).

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103 subjects exhibiting clinical evidence of multiple body system involvement were studied. The Mattman Blood Culture was positive for Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) in 94 subjects. 37 subjects were tested by LUAT for Bb antigen and 19 of the 37 tested positive.

Smears were done on blood taken from the subjects. There was evidence of bone marrow stimulation characterized by hypochromia, red blood cells (RBCs) inclusions (stippling or parasites) and large polychromatic RBCs Platelets and white blood cells appeared normal. Extreme fragility of RBCs was detected in many (nonspherocytic). Live Cell Analysis was also performed on the blood of the subjects and followed over 4 days ( same preparation).

Upon standing, most striking was parasitization of RBCs by ring forms, and in many cases spirochetes emerging from RBCs. There existed extreme degradation of red blood cell membranes. Cystic and large L-Body forms were frequent.


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When Fleming discovered the miracle drug, penicillin by mistake, he observed that it worked by altering the cell wall, thus, preventing replication. The Mattman Culture Method induces positive growth by supporting the cell-wall deficient forms. These forms are extremely stealthy in their proclivity for pleomorphism, suggesting other genera. The ambiance of their surrounding medium is probably responsible for these changes and migration to all part of the body in the interest of self-preservation. Without intact cell walls their receptors are disadvantaged.

It is essential that the "medical world" question the validity of present laboratory methods in detecting Bb and recognizes that Lyme disease, sometimes a killer but almost always a disabler, is a disease just as fearsome as "The Great Imitator", syphilis, and about to become just as widespread.

Success in treating LD can best be achieved with early clinical diagnosis and the initiation of proper long-term antibiotic and antigen-specific Transfer Factor therapies. Until this is achieved, there will continue to be great cost not only to patients progressing to chronic neuroborreliosis, but also to the public health community.

One of the most crucial diagnostic tools, the initiation of a trial antibiotic regimen and antigen-specific Transfer Factor therapies, and the resulting Herxheimer reaction (believed by may "Lyme Savvy" practitioners to be the best indicator of LD response) must be embraced and practiced. It is paramount to accept the fact that Lyme disease is the most common and rampant vector-borne infectious disease in the US.

For more information: The New Great Imitator

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NEWS ARTICLE from TICK TALK - May/June 1997, by Kim Weber

"Researcher Reveals Possible Lyme & Multiple Sclerosis Connection

Known for her work in pathology and her extensive research in cell wall deficient bacteria, Lida H. Mattman, Ph.D., is rocking the medical community with her discoveries in Lyme disease and Multiple Sclerosis. On May 6th [1997] in Saginaw, Michigan, Mattman spoke to Lyme patients and medical professionals who were captivated by her slides and research findings on spirochetes.

Behind her self-deprecating humor is a dedicated researcher and pioneer in her field. Mattman, Professor Emeritus, Dept.of Biology, at Wayne State University (Detroit, MI) is also a mother motivated by a daughter who was diagnosed with Lyme Disease (LD) a few years ago.

Since then, Mattman has focused her attention on how to find a more reliable and reproducible way of finding the infection -- in culturing the spirochete from blood samples. In the last year, she has found such a method; and in the process, has also identified another spirochete that could be the causative agent in Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

When asked at the meeting if MS is a spirochetal disease like LD, Mattman replied with an unequivocal "yes". She went on to show slides of the various diseases caused by different spirochetes - including MS. Each disease was characterized by a variety of disfiguring and debilitating symptoms - all of which, Mattman pointed out, were treatable with appropriate antibiotics.

Dr. Mattman's new method of culturing the spirochete was featured at this year's 10th Annual International Conference at the NIH in Bethesda, MD. Viewed as one of the most important discoveries presented at the Poster Session, Mattman's technique may be a new Gold Standard for determining spirochetal infections and persistent disease.

Although her findings are compelling, Mattman feels she is up against skepticism in the medical community. Mattman feels this harkens back to other big breakthroughs, such as developing the vaccine for Whooping Cough and discovering the H. Pylori bacteria in ulcers. Because these discoveries challenged previous medical doctrine, the doctors were originally shunned for breaking away from "accepted facts".

Mattman is confident that it is only a matter of time before her research will be given credibility. In explaining why current testing for Lyme disease is unreliable, Mattman referred to the blood test using immuno-fluorescence assay (IFA). Here, she explains, the lab is looking for the antibody. It won't always be detected, because the spirochete can "masquerade" in other forms that delude the immune response.

Mattman explained that the spirochete, like other bacteria, is not always in its classic form - there is much diversity in its appearance. This "diversity" in appearance is what is known as the "L Form" of the bacteria (named after this research at Lister Institute). In learning to recognize the "L Form" bacteria, Mattman has been able to culture spirochetes abundantly and profusely.

For now, Dr. Mattman hopes the doctors will use a more reliable test other than IFA. She suggests using the POLYMERASE CHAIN REACTION (PCR) test. This test picks up on the actual DNA of the spirochete. Mattman's lab has also worked for the University of Michigan, where she came face to face with L-forms of Meningitis and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). She emphasized that these also can be easily missed in the lab, because they are not always in the classic form with a "suit and bow tie".

Pointing to the screen, Mattman announced that we were the first audience to see a remarkable photo of Multiple Sclerosis spinal fluid mixed with red blood cells. The red blood cells on the screen were filled with many spirochetes that were also seen emerging from the red blood cells....

The spirochetes weren't only in the red blood cells, they PREFER the red blood cells. With this observation, Mattman feels that persistent infection could be attributed to the fact that antibiotics do not easily penetrate the red blood cell to target the spirochete.

Now that Dr. Mattman has been able to culture the spirochete, she is focusing on specific treatment. In recognizing that the spirochete can have numerous strains, she hopes to use cultured spirochetes for antibiotic sensitivity testing.

This is already widely used for other bacterial infections. With this procedure, Mattman could find which antibiotic would work best for the individual patient. From a clinical perspective, this knowledge would give the treating physician an important edge in prescribing an appropriate antibiotic.

Mattman concluded that Lyme disease is as endemic here as Malaria is in the Tropics. She is convinced that, with the introduction of more reliable testing for LD, the figures will more accurately reflect the prevalence."

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"Officials to seek funding to study MS in Wellington

State health officials plan to seek federal funding to continue a study of an unusually high number of multiple sclerosis [MS] cases in Wellington.

Robert Indian, chief of community health assessment for the Ohio Department of Health, said yesterday that he needed to design a plan to proceed before applying for a grant to pay for medical experts who would participate.

Indian said one source of funding might be the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. The agency announced two weeks ago that $140,000 in funding would be available this year to study two communities with high rates of MS among residents living near hazardous substances.

MS is a debilitating illness of the central nervous system that can lead to vision loss, paralysis, slurred speech, confusion and depression.

The state and the Lorain County Health Department began a study of MS cases in Wellington after The Plain Dealer reported last year that the community of 4,200 had more than five times the national average. Many of the 33 people who are sick live near a foundry and eight-acre landfill that is under investigation by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA is trying to determine exactly what the landfill contains and whether any of it is escaping from the site. Officials are concerned about the landfill's proximity to the town's reservoir, although tests have shown the water to be clean. The EPA has said the landfill should be sealed or removed.

Sally Giar, a Wellington resident with MS, said she would ask City Council next week to send a letter of support for the continued study.

Giar was pleased that funding might be available. "All we can keep doing is to be the squeaky wheel and hope we can get the grease," she said.

Giar has fought to focus attention on the plight of Wellington residents with MS. Last November, she was a speaker on a panel in Chicago sponsored by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry that discussed a possible link between MS and exposure to heavy metals.

The panel speakers talked about clusters of the disease found in Wellington and in El Paso, Texas. The El Paso cases occurred in people who attended the same schools and lived near a smelting facility that exposed them to lead, zinc, cadmium and copper.

Curtis Noonan, an epidemiologist with the agency, said the individual funding awards would range from $50,000 to $90,000.

"I'm pleased they are interested in applying," Noonan said. A letter of intent to apply for the funding must be submitted by June 15 and the completed application must be in by July 14, Noonan said. The money would become available in September.

Lorain County Health Commissioner Kenneth Pearce said he planned to meet with Indian next week to discuss the study and funding.

Indian said the money would be used to hire medical experts, particularly neurologists specializing in MS.

Some have expressed an interest in participating in the study, but Indian said they probably would want to be paid. He said the health department did not have the money in its budget.

"Either they do it out of the goodness of their hearts or the funding could be used for this," Indian said ..."


See Morning Journal MS series by Sarah Fenske

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Lida Mattman, Ph.D.
Nelson Medical Research Institute
11664 Martin Rd.
Warren, MI 48093
Tel: 810-755-6430
Fax: 810-755-4511

JoAnn Whitaker, M.D.
Bowen Research and Training Institute, Inc.
P.O. Box 627
Palm Harbor, Florida 34682
Tel: 727-937-9077
Fax: 727-942-9687
Bowen Research & Training Institute

Nick S. Harris, Ph.D., President
IGeneX, Inc., Reference Laboratory
797 San Antonio Rd.
Palo Alto, CA 94303
IGeneX, Inc.

IGeneX, Inc. is Proud to Announce the New Generation of Lyme Disease Tests Available Monday, April 16, 2001


IgeneX has developed a new Lyme Immuno-Dot Assay (LDA) that detects B.burgdorferi antigen in urine.

The assay looks for the most highly qualified B.burgdorferi antigens: 23-25kDa (OspC), 31kDa (Osp A), 34 kDa (OspB), 39 kDa, and 93 kDa. [kDa = kiloDalton; for convenience 1 Dalton may be expressed as 1 gram per mole.]

The assay has an analytical sensitivity of 12.5 ng/ml, but will be performed as a qualitative screening test.

There is evidence that the antibiotic protocols used for prior antigen testing are useful for the LDA. There is less interference with leukocytes, red blood cells, and other urinary bacteria.

The gray vacutainer tubes will be used, but freezing is not required. The urine is stable for over a week at standard refrigerator temperature and the sample can safely be sent to the laboratory at ambient temperature.

Also available will be our newly developed Reverse Western Blot (RWB) which will be strongly recommended as confirmatory test for the positive LDA test. The RWB reports any Lyme specific antigen, including OspA and OspB.

In a preliminary study of 121 patients and controls, the combination of LDA, RWB, and Multiplex PCR on urine had a sensitivity of 88% and a specificity of 95%.

The combination of the new LDA, RWB and our Multiplex PCR for Lyme Disease should provide a higher level of confirmable positives than any assays previously developed.

Our Lyme Urine Antigen Test (LUAT) will not be available after April 16, 2001 ...

Sincerely, Nick S. Harris, Ph.D., President

Lyme Dot Blot Assay (LDA):

The LDA is an immunoassay for the direct detection of Lyme antigen in urine that reacts specifically to rabbit anti-B. burgdorferi antibodies.

The rabbit antibodies are specifically targeted to the following B. burgdorferi antigens: 23 kDa - 25 kDa (Osp C), 31 kDa (Osp A), 34 kDa (Osp B), 39 kDa and/or 93 kDa.

If the Borrelia specific antigen(s) are present in the urine sample, a dot with a bluish-purple precipitate forms on the membrane. The limit of detection in urine spiked with sonicated B. burgdorferi is 12.5 ng/ml of urine.

Reverse Western Blot (RWB) for Antigen:

The RWB is an immunoassay for direct detection and identification of Lyme antigen in urine which specifically react with rabbit anti-B. burgdorferi antibodies.

The rabbit antibodies are specifically targeted to the following B. burgdorferi antigens: 18 kDa, 23 kDa - 25 kDa (Osp C), 28 kDa, 30 kDa, 31 kDa (Osp A), 34 kDa (Osp B), 39 kDa, 45 kDa, 58 kDa, 66 kDa and 93 kDa.

If any of the Borrelia specific antigen(s) are present in the urine sample, bluish-purple bands are visualized on a membrane.

The RWB can be performed as a confirmation test on any presumptive positive LDA sample.

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