Tag Archives: Lyme disease

Lyme Disease Awareness Month

The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore has recently opened a new 16,000 square-foot $24 million facility, exclusively for the treatment of patients with chronic infectious diseases.

Named for the former director of the Hopkins’ division of infectious diseases, the John G. Bartlett Specialty Practice is expected to see approximately 170 patients each day. David Thomas, MD, director of the infectious diseases division at Johns Hopkins, explains that the geographic region of East Baltimore “has a greater burden of infectious diseases than most other regions of the country.”

The timing is particularly significant this month, as May represents Lyme Disease Awareness Month. Researchers and scientists across the country have consistently warned that the numbers of those afflicted with Lyme are expected to rise, calling the disease “a major U.S. public health problem.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are seeking to combat the rising epidemic, collaborating with local lawmakers and public health officials to raise awareness about Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses. Lawmakers in New York have recently spoken out in order to educate the public and medical community, in addition to fundraising money for further research.

There are approximately 329,000 new cases of Lyme disease each year, and the number of those infected is expected to increase. According to Rick Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, the illness is on track to produce its worst numbers in 2017. Moreover, many experts believe the true number of Lyme cases is higher than reported, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention require ‘objective measures’ like positive blood tests or rashes; therefore, estimates indicate that CDC surveillance only captures approximately 10% of reportable Lyme cases. There is currently no vaccine for Lyme disease, and many physicians have noted that the FDA-approved blood tests are often inaccurate.

In order to learn more about the complex, multi-faceted nature of chronic infectious diseases, sign up for our upcoming Chronic Infections, Inflammation, and Biotoxins Symposium in Las Vegas, on August 12th. Experts will review the epidemiology of chronic infections from a global public health perspective, while discussing the application of advanced diagnostic techniques, including nanotechnology and genomic sequencing.

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Acorns Signify Spike in Lyme Disease

Experts warn that a bumper crop of acorns could be the catalyst for an unprecedented outbreak of Lyme Disease in the United States. Dr. Andrew Heyman, Program Director of Integrative and Metabolic Medicine at George Washington University, and an expert on chronic infections and Lyme, confirms: “New Lyme cases correlate with acorn bumper crops. Not to say there IS an outbreak—but the conditions are right for one.”

According to Rick Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, the illness is on track to produce its worst numbers in 2017. An estimated 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year; yet the illness is a global phenomenon, and diagnoses could soon soar to historically unprecedented levels. Researchers in Poland discovered similar acorn trends last year, and are expecting 2018 to pose a high risk of Lyme disease infections.

The acorn surge indicates that mouse populations will climb, which in turn gives rise to more disease-carrying ticks. Mice population predictions are based on the acorns, and infected nymph ticks correspond with the mice numbers. One mouse alone has the potential to carry hundreds of immature ticks. The tick population is further spiking due to the country’s warmer winters and earlier springs.

The rodents’ blood contains the bacteria that causes Lyme—Borrelia burgdorferi—which is transferred to the stomach of the tick as it feeds. The bacteria can subsequently be passed on to whatever new host the tick ultimately latches onto: including humans.

There are few preventive measure to take, as there is currently no vaccine available for Lyme disease. Moreover, ticks are tiny—some as small as poppy seeds—and the flu-like symptoms that occur after being infected are often easy to misdiagnose, as some people infected with Lyme may not exhibit the telltale bulls-eye rash. The later stage is generally when people get untreated, highly problematic Lyme disease.

While a French-based biotech group Valneva has produced a new Lyme vaccine, it is currently in early human trials, and at least six years away from being publicly released.

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Physician of the Month: Susan Marra, MS, ND

Susan Marra, MS, ND

A4M valued member Susan Marra, MS, ND, shares great insight from her professional experience in this Physician of the Month feature.

Based in Seattle, WA, Dr. Marra has more than 15 years of experience successfully diagnosing and treating Borreliosis/tick-borne illness, and has helped over 10,000 patients return to health. Additionally, Dr. Marra has been completely successful in overcoming her own battle with Borreliosis/Lyme disease, and has been symptom-free for more than seven years. Her personal road to recovery aids her in understanding the difficulties patients experience on the healing journey, and heightens her compassion for patients in search of a proper diagnosis and subsequent treatment.

Q: Before becoming a member of A4M, what was your medical background?

I have a Masters of Science in Psychology, and a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine. I largely practice Integrative Medicine, but I needed a well-organized, thoughtful, comprehensive refresher course after nearly 20 years of practicing medicine.

Q: What anti-aging techniques have you incorporated into your practice and how did you do so?

I use more natural hormonal therapy in my practice as the result of my anti-aging training. Balancing hormones is an art that requires significant study and practice, but I believe as the result of using them, my patients are happier and healthier than ever. Understanding how the hormones influence each other was something that I took away from this course in much greater depth than I had known previously. For that, I am grateful. The teaching was phenomenal.

Q: What are the benefits of practicing Anti-Aging Medicine?

The greatest benefit by far is to witness the increase overall sense of wellbeing that I see in my patients. They are happier and enjoy life more, and are better able to handle stress in their lives because they have underlying endocrine and organ support. For me, this is the greatest accomplishment that I could achieve as a professional.

Q: Why would you recommend Anti-Aging Medicine to your peers?

There are many reasons for learning Anti-Aging Medicine but mostly to service the continuous increase in the population of aging people. Anti-Aging Medicine allows for people to live healthier, longer lives, and enjoy their golden years with fewer ailments. This is also “common sense” medicine. In my opinion, A4M and the Metabolic Medical Institute have THE most comprehensive education program in the country with the most qualified teachers. The seminars are fantastic and you can do a lot of coursework online, so that you don’t have to miss much clinic time. I found that if you listen and study the material well, you will be well prepared to apply the newly learned material in your practice. Clearly, there was a lot of thought put into the development of this curriculum. It was outstanding.

Q: Where do you see the future of Anti-Aging Medicine 20 years from now?

I believe that Anti-Aging Medicine is and will be at the forefront of progressive medicine in this country for many decades to come. Also, with the rise in genomic research and available diagnostic testing, the marriage of Anti-Aging Medicine and genomic medicine is extremely exciting. This will allow for true personalized medicine to be delivered in the office setting. I am excited about the developments in both fields, and will continue my education to reflect the ever-changing landscape of 21st century Integrative Medicine.

Open to all A4M Members: If you would like to be featured as A4M’s Physician of Month, please write us at info@a4m.com.

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