This is part one (focusing on the science) of a response to a recent article which questioned Real Housewives star Yolanda Foster’s Chronic Lyme Disease diagnosis and claimed that there is “no good evidence” that Chronic Lyme Disease exists.
The author’s inflammatory title, “Real Housewife, Fake Disease” is fairly ironic, given that the doctor writes under a fake name and neglects to disclose any affiliations that would clearly bias his objectivity on the matter of Lyme Disease.
He admitted that Lyme is real, but he went on to infuriate Lyme patients and Foster’s fans by implying that Yolanda Foster likely doesn’t have it and that Chronic Lyme does not exist.
As a ‘physician’ he is entitled to his opinion, but in identifying himself as one, he invited readers to expect a certain degree of professionalism, knowledge, and/or research before implying any degree of certainty about an illness inflicting hundreds of thousands of new patients per year in the U.S. alone.
He technically dodges his responsibilities to this expectation by carefully veiling his statements in grey speculative preambles, no doubt avoiding culpability by implying he is only conveying his ‘grave’ concerns.
Why Lyme Science Is On Yolanda’s Side
He most disappointingly dodges the expectation (and responsibility) noted above by opting not to research even his most basic statements.
Primary among them is the fist sentence of the following paragraph, but every sentence therein is riddled with erroneous, misleading, and outdated information, as well as statements the author is clearly aware are nowhere near as simple as he implies, thus illuminating a great deal of bias:
However, there simply is no good evidence that chronic Lyme disease is an actual medical condition. As I have written before, while some patients may experience symptoms after appropriate treatment for Lyme, treatment for persistent or recurrent infection has no grounding in legitimate medical science. On this pointthe Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health, and the Infectious Diseases Society of America are all agreed.
Since alternate information is so very readily available on all of these points, I’m offering some better information on each point. Some of this took some time to compile (previously), but even in those cases, even a very basic review of medical journals produces an enormous body of contrary information.
“…there simply is no good evidence that chronic Lyme disease is an actual medical condition.”
There are hundreds of peer reviewed studies and articles (at least 293 of them so far) that provide evidence of Chronic Lyme and that draw on and add to existing evidence. The author should be ashamed of this medically, scientifically, and professionally irresponsible statement, but it is also illuminating because it doesn’t come from him directly.
This is the often-repeated argument of the entities he names as ‘being in agreement’. In many cases, it is the entire argument provided, and it is weak at best, negligent and arbitrary at worst. He opts to point to their agreement, rather than demonstrating in any way, that this body of medical research was all mistakenly published. Doctor and patient accounts are also part of the body of evidence in support of Chronic Lyme, which are appropriate to consider for this illness in a consistent manner with other illnesses (which is not occurring based on protocols mandated by the entities he names as ‘agreeing’).
“…treatment for persistent or recurrent infection has no grounding in legitimate medical science.”
This is a very hefty statement to pull out of thin air. Hundreds of the peer reviewed articles that address Chronic, late stage, advanced, or persistent Lyme also provide direct and indirect evidence of the need for and effectiveness of treatment. Is the author suggesting it goes away on it’s own? This is an absurd statement, which would require refuting hundreds of peer reviewed articles, which neither this author nor the entities whose ‘agreement’ seem to be the bulk of his argument, have ever attempted to do.
On this point the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health, and the Infectious Diseases Society of America are all agreed.
These entities agree that there is no evidence of persistent Lyme, despite there being hundreds of studies and peer reviewed articles. The lack of due diligence to best available science is negligent, if not criminal, based on their federal agency or chartered mandates. Other science based agencies are required to evaluate relevant science on a topic and address why related sources are found to be irrelevant, if and when that occurs, before claiming to base a decision on available science. Other agencies routinely are sued and lose based on their failure to do so. The same should be demanded of NIH and CDC, but in the mean time, no credible medical professional can soundly rest his ‘hat’ on the fact that they have not done so as ‘evidence’ of their position.
In the following paragraphs of the article, the author relies on the 2006 IDSA review panel’s findings that short course antibiotics are the best course for Lyme treatment to make some sort of point. But that review board was not convened for that purpose, used one study to support that statement (a study that did not evaluate that question appropriately and was the work of one of the members), and did not properly evaluate the remaining hundreds of related studies.
When they reconvened in 2008 to reconsider the 2006 guidelines (as required by a settlement agreement following a Congressional investigation), there were 3,000 pages of evidence (rather than no evidence) challenging their guidelines.
The idea that the occurrence of a related IDSA meeting in 2006 proves anything this author asserts relies entirely on the reader having no awareness of IDSA’s role in Lyme Disease diagnosis and treatment to date and no awareness of the multiple congressional subcommittees convened so far to investigate their impropriety and lack of objectivity.
The idea relies on readers not taking the time to look it up.
There are copious resources available painting a very clear picture of the ridiculousness of such overly simplified, inaccurate statements as the ones made by this author. As one point of value, however, the author points to (and therefore indirectly helps expose) a number of faulty claims that are currently serving as a very weak foundation for a very weak overall argument against Chronic Lyme.
These types of statements have an enormous emotional impact on us “Lymies” because, although easily refuted, they keep us sick by guiding treatment protocols that are outdated and inadequate.
Related Posts and Pages on this Blog:
- Long-Term Lyme: Where You Diagnosed With Lyme First, Or Something Else?
- Lyme Persistence: Adapted List of 293 Peer Reviewed Articles and Studies
- Proof That Chronic Lyme Disease Exists by Dr. Daniel Cameron
- Mission Confusion: CDC Article Link
More Related Science Resources:
- LYMEPOLICYWONK: New York Times blew this Lyme story big time
- New Study Shows Lyme Persistence In Monkeys
- Evidence Assessments…clinical management…persistent Lyme
- LYMEPOLICYWONK: The IDSA Guidelines And Embers At a Glance Table
- Blog: Hard Science On Lyme
Related Lyme Politics Resources–Role of IDSA/CDC:
- CNN Lyme Coverage ~ CDC says 3 weeks treatment is enough
- TOUCHED BY LYME: CDC fires another salvo against “chronic Lyme”
- MEDICAL PANEL KEEPS LYME GUIDELINES “AS IS”
- History of Congressional Investigation of IDSA Lyme Guidelines
- Why Are Lyme Patients Still Waiting Years for Treatment?
- Consequences of Long Term Lyme Disease Infection
More Aspects of this Response to Come (On The Emotional Side of Things):
- Lyme Patients’ Emotional Responses to Misinformation
- Yolanda’s Story and the Lyme Community
- Human Decency (Professionally Appropriate vs. Inflammatory Scrutiny)
- Additional Response Articles I’ve Seen So Far
- Responses and Comments Across the Web