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Flunk the Lyme test? Just wait and get sicker

January, 2017, Huffington Post

Sin Lee, a pathologist and scientist, believes the deck is stacked in the quest to air new ideas on Lyme disease.

Too many science journals telling him to take his research elsewhere. Too many deftly worded rejections. Too little inclination to engage in a fair fight over the facts and fiction of Lyme disease.

Dr. Lee’s experience is shared by many researchers I have interviewed, in the U.S. and Europe, in five years of writing about a disease on which scientific debate is limited and tightly controlled. Some 380,000 Americans were infected with the tick-borne spirochete in 2015, leaving 20,000, by conservative estimates, with unresolved joint pain, cognitive lapses, fatigue and other problems. Another 232,000 are estimated to be infected annually in Western Europe. Many suffer because of a poor test and delayed diagnoses, issues that have been largely dismissed in mainstream journals.

The 850-word comment argues that Lyme infections have been allowed, even encouraged, to fester. How? Under long-established guidance, repeated in the article, that physicians wait for a positive test before treating patients without the Lyme rash. Lacking a good early test, doctors thus tell non-rash patients who have wrongly tested negative — as 50 to 80 percent of early cases do, the paper admits — to return in awhile, giving the insidious Lyme pathogen time to grow. By then, in what is called the convalescent phase, many patients feel better and do not return, only to be sickened later. [and then denied health care]

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