Hopeful Rehab Facility for Chronic Lyme Disease Patients
Most people who are bitten by a tick and diagnosed with Lyme Disease take the course of antibiotics and recover quickly with no lingering symptoms. However, there are many patients whose symptoms linger after treatment or become worse over time.
The symptoms can vary from joint pain to foggy thinking, dizziness or depression. The variety of symptoms is wide and the severity also varies but for all of these patients, the symptoms are real and intrusive in their lives.
Treatment options are not good since most doctors don’t take Chronic Lyme Disease seriously. Today we look at a new rehab facility that is doing cutting edge work to improve the lives of patients with Chronic Lyme Disease symptoms.
“To my knowledge, there is no other place in the country that is focused on rehabilitation of these patients,” said Dr. Brian Fallon, director of the Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center at Columbia University Medical Center in New York.
While the science behind chronic Lyme illness continues to splinter the medical community, Spaulding, known for its care of 2013 Boston Marathon bombing patients, quietly opened its doors in June to the new Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness. Already, 52 people have been treated, and the center’s leaders say the patients, and not the politics, will remain their focus.
The center draws on an array of specialists, including brain researchers, physical and occupational therapists, infectious disease experts, and mental health counselors, to treat patients whose illness persists long after the typical course of antibiotics.
“So many doctors don’t want to acknowledge the chronic form of this disease,” said Ambrosino, who estimates she visited 30 specialists and underwent 150 blood tests searching for answers before coming to Spaulding. “I live 24/7 in this varying state of unwellness.”…
Health insurance companies have covered most services at Spaulding for the first batch of post-treatment Lyme patients, the doctors said. But there is one service that will be offered free of charge — mental health counseling. That was the wish of Brandi and Chris Dean, whose donation allowed Spaulding to launch the center bearing their name.
Brandi Dean, a 38-year-old Wellesley mother, was diagnosed with Lyme in 2011. But Dean said she was treated horribly by many doctors who dismissed her vertigo, confusion, strange weakness, and heart palpitations as anxiety because she had just given birth to her second son.
“My experience was so traumatic, having been told by so many doctors there was nothing wrong with me, I needed to talk to someone about what I was going through,” Dean said.
The Dean Center will also support research, including a pilot study enrolling 20 people to test whether use of a mild electrical current in the brain might improve the thinking problems, fatigue, and pain experienced by so many post-treatment Lyme patients. Spaulding already uses this treatment for some patients recovering from strokes and brain injuries.
Spaulding’s focus on rehabilitation is sorely needed, said Fallon of Columbia University. Johns Hopkins Medicine in May also opened a center to study post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, but it concentrates on research, not treatments. – via BostonGlobe.com
This Doctor Treats Patients With Chronic Lyme Disease
Chronic Lyme Disease is a topic full of controversy in the medical community. Most doctors believe it is not a condition associated with Lyme Disease at all.
Other doctors like Dr. Daniel Cameron, MD featured in the second half of today’s post understands the severity and reality of the symptoms patients suffer with after being treated with the standard course of antibiotics for Lyme Disease.
His approach and discussion of the position of most of the medical community is enlightened and refreshing. Let’s hope more doctors pay attention to this very serious and real condition.
Minds are like parachutes. They only function when open.” This particular quote by Thomas Dewar came to mind after reading an article, Chronic Lyme Disease in the June issue of Infectious Disease Clinics of North America.
In it, the author writes, “the scientific community has largely rejected chronic, treatment-refractory Borrelia burgdorferi infection.” This is based on “the failure to detect cultivatable, clinically relevant organisms after standard treatment.”
The intention of the Chronic Lyme Disease article is evident — convince readers that chronic Lyme disease does not exist, and that antibiotics prescribed for more than 14- to 28-days are of no benefit and most patients have no lingering symptoms.
It is particularly troublesome that the author, Paul Lantos, MD, a Duke University Medical Center researcher, is co-chair on a panel responsible for updating the Infectious Disease Society of America’s (IDSA) treatment guidelines for Lyme disease. Dr. Lantos holds a position not to be taken lightly. The IDSA recommendations will determine, for the most part, the types of treatment patients diagnosed with Lyme disease will receive.
When dealing with complex, chronic illnesses, physicians need to develop a trusting and understanding relationship with their patients. It is impossible for a clinician to provide the highest level of care to their patients, which includes a thorough evaluation, if they enter into the doctor-patient relationship with preconceived notions, not only about an extremely complex disease but about the patient who is reporting the symptoms, which are often subjective.
Should the patient not have any of the three objective signs of Lyme disease — the bulls-eye rash, swollen knee and/or Bell’s Palsy, identifying the infection is dependent on a strong evaluation. Patients want physicians to provide effective treatments. They don’t want to be ‘managed.’ – via Daniel Cameron MD
Do you know anyone suffering from symptoms of lingering Lyme Disease?