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The New Yorker: A New Front in the Lyme Wars [a very balanced well written article]

By Michael Specter

On December 15th, without much ceremony or public comment, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law that has the potential to change the way medicine in New York is practiced. Frequently referred to as the Lyme Doctor Protection Act, the law prohibits the state board of medicine from investigating complaints of substandard care “based solely on their recommendation or provision of treatment modality that is currently not universally accepted by the medical profession.”

The act, an attempt by legislators to respond to the constantly increasing burden of illness caused by Lyme disease, is nearly without precedent in its breadth. The impetus and advocacy came from Lyme activists, who have for years argued that conventional medical definitions of the disease are inadequate. But the odd wording—“including but not limited to, varying modalities used in the treatment of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases” (emphasis added)—reaches far beyond one issue. There are people who dispense what can only charitably be described as “unconventional treatments’’ for nearly every disease,including cancer. This law seems as if it was written, perhaps accidentally, for them. (The governor has reportedly said that he will attach a memo to the bill that will eliminate the confusion, but so far he has not.)

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