Montreal Gazette newspaper trashes Lyme Disease victims and then refuses to allow evidence based rebuttal – they prefer scientific “opinion” over scientific fact..

Recently, the Montreal Gazette newspaper published this article …  According to the Montreal Gazette we are scaring people by telling them we have a serious and growing problem, a problem echoed by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

We asked for equal print space to write a rebuttal.  We were refused because the editor says the weight of the evidence is against us!!

Here is their response to us asking for equal space (on such an important issue they say we can write a letter to the editor less than 250 words)  The editor prefers scientific “opinion” to scientific fact when guiding their readers on such important health matters.  Very poor journalism and dangerous for their subscribers.

“Dear Mr. Wilson,
We do not plan to publish your oped piece. While we strive for balance on our oped page on most issues, this is not true concerning issues where the weight of scientific opinion is strongly on one side.

However, we would be happy to receive a letter to the editor from you on the subject, of less than 250 words.

Sincerely,
Edie Austin

eaustin@montrealgazette.com

This was our rebuttle……

Regarding the July 11th issue of the Montreal Gazette titled, “Lyme disease is very real, but it’s no epidemic” by Dr. Christopher Labos.  Some of the content is troubling and may cause your readers to lower their guard.

There is no evidence that 2 to 4 weeks of antibiotics is a cure for Lyme disease as indicated. In fact, several animal model studies support the opposite.  Lyme disease can persist as an active infection, even beyond 3 months of antibiotics.

The term Post Lyme Disease Syndrome is only a hypothesis. Why?  No one to date has been able to establish when it becomes “Post” Lyme Disease.

Dr. Labos indicates that because the infection cannot be found in the blood, it somehow indicates a lack of infection. In reality, it has been known for years that the organism disseminates quickly and easily out of the blood into other tissue.

Lyme Disease bacteria are showing up in the brain tissue of dementia patients in significant percentages along with other spirochaetal bacteria.  Lyme Disease is a spiral shaped bacteria called Borrelia, a spirochaete, and is a cousin of syphilis.  Lyme Disease is a borreliosis, caused by many genotypes of the bacteria, not only that which the too narrow Canadian tests detect.

Older clinical trials, which were referred to in Dr. Labos’ article, have long since been debated and shown to have serious design and methodology problems.  They should not be used to support any health care policy as they do not meet the quality requirements for strength of evidence. 

In testimony to federal government committees last year, Public Health Agency of Canada executives acknowledged that cases were seriously “under-diagnosed” in Canada, not “over-diagnosed” as Dr. Labos stated. Those senior executives are on record stating the 682 cases that were confirmed in 2013 are likely under-reported three fold, and that in 4.5 years from now we will have between 10 and 20 thousand cases per year. The United States, in 2013, upped their estimate from 30,000 to 300,000 cases per year, mostly in states that border Canada. Lyme Disease is pandemic and Canadians must arm themselves with knowledge of prevention.

Our ticks in Canada, especially in Quebec, come in on migratory birds such as your friendly robins, wrens finches, and sparrows in the tens of millions per season from the very highly endemic states below us.  Ticks carrying Lyme Disease are becoming established in regions throughout Canada randomly.

Tens of thousands of people have benefited from longer-term antibiotics.  Simply because mainstream medicine to date has refused to fund transparent clinical trials in collaboration with patient’s medical experts, it does not mean those tens of thousands of people’s stories are simply anecdotal. A few hundred people with a similar story could be anecdotal, tens of thousands of people are no longer anecdotal and aggressive study is required.  Taxpayers deserve better in Canada on the Lyme Disease research file.

The Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation through its Venture Grants program is funding research in Canada.  We are working in conjunction with the G. Magnotta Foundation for Vector Borne Diseases to establish a research program using today’s most sophisticated science and technology to study human tissue to identify Lyme Disease and other diseases in all forms of human tissue.

Knowledge leads to prevention, and we all have the right to make ‘informed consent’ decisions with our doctor derived from accurate information. A negative Canadian test for Lyme absolutely cannot confirm you do not have Lyme Disease and you may not be cured with 4 weeks of antibiotics. Lyme Disease remains a clinical diagnosis based upon symptoms and history.”

 

  1. bettyg on said:

    jim, well-written rebuttal back to your newspaper on the trashy article they wrote that you showed the link for.

    i can’t wait to read a little later all 72 comments on newspaper’s site; then i’ll add my own comments.

    best wishes to all my canadian lyme/co-infection peers; hugs/prayers to each of you,

    bettyg, iowa/usa lyme activist
    46.5 yrs. chronic lyme
    35 yrs. MISDIAGNOSED by 40-50 usa drs.
    UNACCEPTABLE! grrr.

  2. lesley fein MD MPH on said:

    The author of the article on Lyme disease published in the Montreal Gazette made some factual errors. he stated ” but when you perform double-blind randomized placebo controlled clinical trials, antibiotics do no better than placebos”. This is factually incorrect. the only prospective double blind study was performed at Columbia University. The results showed a statistically significant improvement in all criteria, pain, SPECT scans and cognitive testing, after the IV arm vs. placebo. The problem was that they relapsed on placebo. There is a huge difference between “lack of response” and “response with relapse”. Many recent microbiological studies now show why patients relapse: 1. Development of cell wall deficient forms published by Dr. Sapi 2. Development of “persister” colonies published by two independent groups one at John Hopkins UNiversity and the other at Northeastern University. Now that his statement is known to be false, the research is explaining why patients relapse. The misuse of data to prove a point is notorious in medicine, and something that brings shame to the author. If you wish to dispel a point, use valid examples! In this case, he misrepresented the results without offering real data to support his biased persepective.

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