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``In Debate About Lyme Treatments, Some Patients Feel Lost

HYDE PARK, N.Y. -- Sandy Samelson could barely lift her head from her husband's shoulder when it was her turn to speak at a Lyme disease support group here in Dutchess County, where per capita incidence of the tick-borne infection is among the highest in the world.

"I used to be. . . . " Ms. Samelson began, dazed and stammering. Her husband, Ron Sigal, gave her time to regroup. When no words came, he took over. "My wife," Mr. Sigal said, "used to be a tenured professor of mathematics at SUNY New Paltz. Now she can't leave the house because she won't be able to find her way back."

Ms. Samelson believes she has chronic Lyme disease. She also believes that long-term intravenous antibiotic treatment, offered by a shrinking cadre of doctors, is her only hope for recovery.

A study [article by Dr. Mark Klempner and others] in the ... [6-12-01] issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, however, says that most patients with symptoms like Ms. Samelson's are not suffering from chronic lyme disease. And the antibiotics they are taking, the study says, are no more helpful than a placebo ... ''

The 6-12-01 (premature) publication of the above-mentioned article by Dr. Mark Klempner coincided with a nation-wide media blitz publicizing the Klempner article, and with an article titled "Stalking Dr. Steere."

Further Lyme Disease coincidences were:

Lyme patients responded to the media blitz with letters, most of which remain unpublished. The following is a sampling of these letters:

Benjamin Rush, M.D., Physician to George Washington and signer of the Declaration of Independence wrote:

"Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize into an undercover dictatorship ...

The Constitution of this republic should make special privilege for medical freedom as well as religious freedom."

Source: "The Autobiography of Benjamin Rush"

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