Biofilms

Lyme bacteria are known to form biofilms in order to protect themselves from attack. This is a great easy-to-understand video explaining how these biofilms work.

 

 

It is important to treat with a doctor who understands biofilms and knows how to prevent the bacteria from evading treatment by forming these clusters of biofilms. The more you can do to understand how Lyme bacteria works, the better equipped you will be to find a knowledgable doctor to treat you. One of the first questions you want to ask is, “Have you been ILADS trained?”

If your doctor does not know what this means, then make sure to ask him some follow-up questions before deciding to treat with him. Ask him whether or not he believes that there can be a more chronic form of Lyme disease and whether he thinks he is skilled in treating this form.

In addition, ask him if he is familiar with the different forms of the Lyme bacteria and if he uses the different antibiotics that kill each of these forms, including the biofilms. Busting open these biofilms is key to getting and staying well!

 

Lyme 101: History of Lyme Borrelia

Courtesy of Living Lyme

Lyme disease has been around for centuries. The first case of Lyme disease was recorded in 1883 in Germany. In 1909 Arvid Afzelius presented his research on the ring like rash (erythema migrans) which would later become known as the tell-tale rash of Lyme disease. He published his work in 1921 speculating the origin of the disease was from ticks and connected it to joint problems. Throughout the 20’s and 30’s evidence was found to link the disease to joint, neurological, heart, and psychiatric problems.

It wasn’t until 1975, thanks to a group of concerned mothers in Lyme Connecticut, that the first cases of Lyme disease were recorded in the United States. There was an extraordinary amount of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis diagnosed in this small community. This would later become ground zero for the epidemic we now know as Lyme disease.

In the 1980’s, William Burgdorfer helped Jorge Benach investigate an outbreak of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever which led to his discoveries linking Lyme disease and its many co-infections to ticks. Dr. Burgdorfer had been studying tick-borne diseases for 30 years. He was the first to show that Lyme spirochetes could be found in ticks throughout this country. It was due to his discoveries of the Lyme spirochetes that they were named after him, now known as Borrelia Burdorferi. Although several new strains of the Borrelia species have since been discovered, this strain is still the most common spirochete to cause Lyme disease.

There is much controversy surrounding the diagnosis and treatment of this disease, and there is still a need for more research to learn more about how this disease works and the best way to prevent it and treat it.

Source: Living Lyme

Lyme 101: Forms of Lyme Borrelia

From Living Lyme

“The spirochete that causes Lyme disease has three times more useful genes than Syphilis, and uses its evolutionary advantage to evade detection and survive destruction by both the immune system and antibiotics. It is both stealthy and insidious.” -Tom Grier.

The paragraphs that follow are an attempt to explain in simple terms the basic functions of how this infection works and why standard treatments fail.

Although Lyme disease can be transferred in many ways, ticks are a prime host for transfer to humans due to the amount of time they feed (typically for 1-3 days although infection can occur immediately). Tick feeding practices are also designed to counteract host immune responses. This gives the Lyme bacterium time to familiarize itself with the host’s DNA and immune system; allowing it to travel within the bloodstream undetected.

The Lyme spirochete (Borrelia species) is a uniquely opportunistic bacterium with an unusual ability to self-preserve. It acts more like an exceptionally intelligent protozoan parasite than a common bacterium. It is highly motile, and can penetrate blood vessels easily. It uses the bloodstream to quickly find opportune sites to hide from immune responses and prefers to colonize in collagenous tissue such as the brain and central nervous system, joints, organs, etc….

Once initial infection occurs, the spirochete takes the opportunity to activate genes that will ensure its ability to survive and thrive within the new host. One way in which it does this is by altering the expression of surface proteins further confusing the host immune system. These surface proteins are what kick-starts the immune system into creating antibodies. Essentially, the host immune system can’t keep up. Once isolated within the brain it can divide and change many times into an undetectable strain that the peripheral immune system will simply ignore. The result is an infection that can quietly inhabit the brain and other tissues for years or decades.

This is why blood tests are unreliable. If our immune system cannot detect the infection to create antibodies, or if the infection is in a non-active state, there is no way of finding a positive result in a blood sample. Therefore, it is especially difficult to find a positive test result in someone who is in late stage Lyme infection. Clinical diagnosis remains the most important way of determining if someone is infected with the Lyme spirochete. It is crucial once diagnosed with Lyme disease and treatment has begun, that treatment is not stopped prematurely. Relapses can be much more dangerous and difficult to eradicate than the initial treatment.

The division time and life cycle of Borrelia spirochetes is longer than typical bacteria, which is why standard treatments fail. The Lyme bacterium can become metabolically inactive for long periods of time making antibiotics ineffective as they can only kill bacteria when they divide. No antibiotic can kill a bacterium that is metabolically inactive and spirochetes are well known to have mastered this form of survival. Many naturally occurring simple bacteria, such as the bacteria that cause acne, successfully survive antibiotic treatment. Simultaneously killing all the surviving bacteria in late infection with short courses of antibiotics is impossible and may not even be possible with extended courses of antibiotics.

In its basic form, the Lyme Spirochete is spiral shaped and can literally bore deep into tissues, hide, and colonize. When it senses “danger”, such as an immune response or antibiotics, it has the ability to change its structural identity into two different forms to ensure survival.

The L-form occurs when it discards its cell wall and integrated surface proteins. This form often evades the immune system and many antibiotic treatments, and is capable of intracellular infection. In some cases, it can trigger an auto-immune response which then attacks our own tissues.

The cystic form creates new challenges for the immune system which can be ineffective against all various defense mechanisms of this bacterium. It mimics good cells in the host body so it can remain invisible, similar to putting on a costume. This form is resistant to antibiotics, does not present antigens to the immune system, and can shift into a reproductive state while encysted. Quite simply, the Lyme spirochete is a survivor at all costs.

Once conditions improve, the Lyme bacterium can change back into the spirochete form and “re-infect” the host. It can change forms within 1 minute of expression and survive up to 10 months before reconversion. The preferred form of the Lyme spirochete is dependent on its physical surroundings and environmental cues. It can also survive both freezing and thawing and successfully infect the host 12 months of the year.

This unique ability to shift forms and hide from our natural immune responses and antibiotics makes it difficult, if not impossible, for some to achieve full recovery. This is why relapse rates are so high in Lyme patients. It also explains why some people do not show symptoms right away, and may not show symptoms for weeks, months, or years after the initial infection. The Lyme spirochete is a highly evolved pathogen with many mechanisms of evasion and survival. Believing this disease can be easily eradicated and cured is unfounded and dangerous.

Courtesy of Living Lyme