May Awareness LDA Guest Blogger
Dr. Richard I. Horowitz, MD, PLLC, is a board-certified internist and medical director of the Hudson Valley Healing Arts Center, where he has treated over 13,000 Lyme and tick-borne disease patients during the past 30 years. He is the author of two best-selling books, Why Can’t I Get Better? & How Can I Get Better? An Action Plan for Treating Resistant Lyme and Chronic Disease. Dr Horowitz was also a member of the HHS Tick-borne Disease Working Group and Co-chair of the “Other Tick-borne Diseases and Co-infections” subcommittee which provided recommendations to Congress to improve the care of those suffering with tick-borne disorders.
Why Patients with Chronic Lyme-MSIDS Should Have Hope
I just got back from the inaugural conference of ISEAI (International Society For Environmental Illness) at the CIVANA spa in Carefree, Arizona. I was surrounded by group of approximately 300 integrative health care providers from across the US who all met in the desert with one primary focus. These doctors all wanted to know how to treat their sickest and most resistant patients with chronic Lyme symptoms who were also being adversely affected by environmental illness. People were showing up in their practice with Lyme and co-infections like Babesia and Bartonella, as well as testing positive for environmental toxins including mold, heavy metals, pesticides and persistent organic pollutants. These infections and toxins were making their patients extremely ill. They oftentimes complained of chronic fatigue, insomnia, migratory muscle, joint and nerve pain, along with neuropsychiatric symptoms and cognitive difficulties. To make matters worse, the inflammatory response driven by the infections and toxins was oftentimes complicated by poor detoxification pathways, gastrointestinal dysfunction (leaky gut, food allergies, imbalances in the microbiome), autoimmune manifestations, hormonal and mitochondrial dysfunction, mast cell activation, as well as POTS/ dysautonomia and PTSD. This picture of patients with complicated illness is unfortunately becoming the norm, not the exception.
Health statistics have shown that half of American adults suffer from one chronic disease, and one third of all childhood diseases have now been linked to environmental exposures (i.e., ADD, Autism Spectrum disorder, cancer). Lyme is spreading in epidemic proportions across the US. That’s the bad news. The good news? There are answers. Let me share a few of them to give you hope.
I went to the ISEAI conference to discuss my two recent published papers for the treatment of chronic Lyme disease/PTLDS. The first was: Precision Medicine: retrospective chart review and data analysis of 200 patients on dapsone combination therapy for chronic Lyme disease/post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome: part 1 (Horowitz, R., Freeman P. International Journal of General Medicine 2019:12 101–119) as well as part 2 of our paper titled: Precision Medicine: The Role of the MSIDS Model in Defining, Diagnosing, and Treating Chronic Lyme Disease/Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome and Other Chronic Illness. (Horowitz, R.I.; Freeman, P.R., Healthcare 2018, 6, 129).
These two articles give an overview of how the recent scientific discoveries by Dr Y. Zhang, Dr Eva Sapi and Dr. Kim Lewis can be taken from the laboratory bench and effectively moved into the clinical setting (translational medicine). I devised treatment protocols for the biofilms and stationary borrelia “persister” cells discussed by these researchers based on my prior experience of working with mycobacterium drugs. Fortunately, it worked. And keeps on working for many. Doxycycline, rifampin, dapsone with 3 different biofilm agents (Stevia, Biocidin and oregano oil) has now kept my wife in remission for almost 2 years. She was a classic “MSIDS” gal. She suffered from Lyme, Babesia, Bartonella, Mycoplasma, food allergies, Candida, leaky gut, mast cell activation disorder, POTS, adrenal dysfunction, hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, metabolic syndrome, sleep apnea, PTSD, heavy metals and mold exposure with mitochondrial dysfunction. Now, after addressing every abnormality on the MSIDS map, and treating her with dapsone combination therapy, she has her life back. There is hope for the ones we love, and many others in my practice who kept relapsing are also now in remission.
So what are the next steps? Trying novel Bartonella ‘persister’ regimens (based on Dr Zhang’s recent published research) for resistant Bartonella, and new antimalarial regimens for resistant Babesia. I also learned at ISEIA that Annie Hopper’s limbic retraining may be the answer for some of my sickest, most sensitive patients with POTS, mold, chemical sensitivity and resistant tick-borne disease. We now have even more tools in our toolbox, and I have even more hope. So should you.