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Typical Lyme Story, Atypical Victim

Discussion in 'Infections: Lyme, Candida, EBV ...' started by duncan, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    The question I find interesting is, did it disappear because of its history, or because of its potential?

    It is fascinating how all these agents seem to be at the edge of formal classification. Brucella, Coxiella and Yersinia as coccobacilli, Rickettsia having originally regarded as a virus.

    I was reading, yesterday (but have lost it temporarily- the reference, that is all), of the woman researcher at Madison Wisconsin who classified Brucella as coccobacterium, because of its apparent diversity of form. One suspects that there is twenty or thirty years of unpublished knowledge on these forms. A crash course in microbiology is called for.

    EDIT the researcher was Alice C Evans who identified that the causative agents of brucellosis and Bang's disease in cattle were the same
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
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  2. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Right? The $10,000 question.

    Newby isn't the only one to have mused about this chimeric thing. I seem to recall Dr. Alan McDonald discussing the same theory, but that was like a decade ago.

    Relative to Burgdorfer hoarding the rickettsia research until his death, and the cryptic warnings he'd written - I think it puzzling that his would be the only copy. Wouldn't the EIS officials that tethered Steere demand a copy? Wouldn't Willy's bosses in Montana or Fort Detrick?

    Edit to add: I'm not wondering about the records to suggest there is a weakness in this chain of events. I'm just betting that there are more records of this, and more people that knew/know.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2019
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  3. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    People clearly must know, and there will be records, unless they have been shredded and burned. In the book it is suggested that co-workers thought opinion to be that Swiss Agent was merely a symbiont with Lyme. A good scientist, as Burgdorfer surely was, would not merely cease discussing this. Would he not record and describe it, if only to assist future researchers who came across it, and thus preventing them from wasting their time, or who thought there to be something relevant in the symbiotic relationship?

    Can there be any reason for non disclosure of information on the subject other than potential breach of laws relating to state secrecy? Perhaps.
     
  4. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I would think. She really doesn't go there, does she?

    Sure. He had kids. Eh, now we get into a higher degree of speculation. Our take-aways are that he was a spirochetal expert, a rickettsial expert, worked decades in this capacity in one shape or another, and was part of the Cold War bioweapons apparatus. And evidently he felt what we called Lyme was in fact caused by a unique Rickettsia, but maybe changed his mind - but his notes may indicate otherwise.
     
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  5. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Re-readings have given rise to a number of thoughts.

    Some doubt has been cast on Burgdorfer's mental capacity at the time of making various statements recorded in the book. I'm not altogether sure about this. As portrayed in the book, he seems well able to understand that there are matters which he is constrained from revealing, and able to distinguish between what he may say, and what he may not. By way of comparison with "testamentary capacity", it is recognised that even if often confused, there may be lucid intervals, and one must establish a recognition of the dispositions which might reasonably be expected to be made, and an ability to justify the reasons for not making them. On that sort of test he may very well have been competent.

    One wonders about the name "the Swiss agent". Would it be normal to refer to a microbe in such terms? It seems a somewhat unusual use of language. It might suggest that certain matters were occupying his thoughts. Or, there again, it might not.

    One hopes someone is now working on Burgdorfer's biography. The presence of unexplained wealth in a Swiss bank account is interesting. But then why should not a Swiss have money in a Swiss bank account? His presence at conferences in Bratislava and Saalfelden is presented as potentially sinister. But he probably attended conferences in all sorts of places. The imagery used by the author to introduce the
    Saalfelden conference (p182) is strongly suggestive of some sort honey trap. If this be intended one wonders if there is further evidence. The imagery seems unlikely to be accidental.

    It is difficult to know the attitude to be taken. Since Salisbury there has been little criticism in the west of the Soviet scientist who revealed the secret of Novichok. It is interesting in some respects how prescient this book and Lab 274 are. Bitten has a description of a delivery system for biochemical weapons almost identical to those apparently used in Salisbury, and Lab 274 describes the method of smearing them on door handles.

    Even if one were absolutely certain about the spirochete being the cause of Lyme, would one not cross check wit the Swiss agent, having previously obtained those positive results. Should there not be lab notes to that effect? In the well rehearsed words, further research is required.
     
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  6. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Maybe. To be sure, we'd need to have him reference the same sometime or some place other than what we have so far.

    Perhaps he was having some fun. There's a couple double entendres, and they would both double back to him and to the novel rickettsia.

    It was the size of the bank account that people wondered at.

    It is interesting that the chair of the new US Federal Tick-Borne Working Group is a rickettsial expert. And yes, I'll wager there are more notes closeted away someplace. Pretty sure the author suggests what we colloquially refer to as Lyme is actually a chimera, part Bb, part rickettsia. As far as I know, though, she doen't have anything firm to back up that conjecture.
     
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  7. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Certainly; but one has to look at benign interpretations of the evidence as well as malign ones
     
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  8. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It looks as though the name "the Swiss agent" was shared in December 1979, and more widely in 1980. How many of those with whom it was shared might be expected to have picked up on the double entendre? It becomes a question of what did they know, and when did they know it.
     
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  9. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    My gut tells me, few if any knew. They would have assumed he was simply referring to rickettsia helvetica. He'd been part of the Montana landscape for decades.
     
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  10. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  11. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    @duncan you mentioned in an earlier post that the book contained a number of double-entendres. The intention or significance is hard to estimate. What do you make of the statement on p200 that WB referred to "Swiss agent USA" as an "R montana-like rickettsia organism" or the "East side agent". That "east side agent" strongly suggests that he held suspicions by 1980, or are there innocent, less obvious, American references?
     
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  12. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    @chrisb, he suspected that in 1979 even, I think. In Benach's ticks he found spirochetes - later labeled the causative agent of Lyme - and rickettsia and babesia and a type of worm. I think that he used Swiss Agent and East side agent interchangeably, with perhaps east side referring to east of NYC, ie, Long Island? I'm not sure, sorry.

    I get mixed signals about the Swiss Agent. WB clearly thought a rickettsial actor was involved in what we call Lyme by 1980, but he later told Benach he felt the Swiss Agent might have been harmless afterall, yes? I don't know if that is accurate or not, or if it is, what he told Benach was true.
     
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  13. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I think that what I am trying to get at is whether the term "East Side" would normally be applied to Long Island and Shelter Island, to distinguish them from the Connecticut cases. It seems incongruous. Could it be applied to cases from the east side of Long Island Sound, rather than the west? One does get the feeling that there was deliberate word-play involved, and wonder why. It is a

    I thought this paragraph from the Swiss Agent article revealing

    How might the Swiss Agent add fuel to this conflict? Steere, a Massachusetts General Hospital researcher and among the world's leading Lyme experts, said some patients who believe they have Lyme, but who test negative for the infection, might be suffering from an illness caused by one of several other microbes. Rickettsia helvetica could be among them, he said.

    Surely the name Lyme Disease preceded the discovery of Bb. It would be interesting to know whether there were patients in the initial cohort identified as having Lyme who failed to prove positive for Bb. It seems quite a common practice to identify some of the cases, appropriate the whole of the name, and ignore the obvious problem this causes.
     
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  14. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    People were getting sick in that area - around Lyme - as early as the late 60's, if I'm not mistaken. It's not like they even had a handle on babesia back then. But relative to Bb, I'm trying to recall if it were strain B31 or not (B31 being the strain most people are tested for in the US). As to whether who tested positive or not back in 1982/1983, I'm curious by what standards they would have concluded a positive. It would not have been the 2T because that didn't exist. My guess is that if one of those kids had one or two bands/proteins that were Bb-specific, that would have been a positive. I'm not sure about that, though; I'm merely speculating.

    As for whether any kids tested negative, that is a very, very interesting question. I suppose I can see if I can track down any of Steere's early reports to find out. I will try. Wouldn't it be curious if the ratio of positives/negatives tied back to the ratio of rickettsia/spirochetes in Benach's tick cohort?

    As for the appropriation of the name and applying it to some patients, Pam Weintraub had an interesting observation about this. I am paraphrasing, but I think the gist of what she said was Lyme may be the only disease that is not defined by patients' symptoms, but rather by a small group of researchers declaring what those symptoms should be. I know I mangled that, but I think that's the essence.
     
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  15. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I was trying, for accuracy's sake, to find that quote from Weintraub. I could not find it - her book is long - but I did find an interesting corollary that strikes at the heart of many of the Lyme studies emerging in the last 35 years. It's on pg 345 of "Cure Unknown":

    "Because their studies flow from the disease definition, rather than the other way around, they have generated information about a 'disease model', but not the disease itself."
     
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  16. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    (EDIT Icompleted this post some time and thought that I ad posted it but find it still loitering, so I will post it somewhat out of sequence as it seems interesting, if not for those who will obviously know it, at least for those, like me, who didn't.)

    It is interesting to compare the apparent dismissal, by the collaborators as quoted in Bitten, of the Swiss Agent as a mere symbiont of Bb, with the importance which WB apparently attached to symbionts as expressed in this paper.

    Clinics in Dermatology

    Volume 11, Issue 3, July–September 1993, Pages 335-338
    [​IMG]
    How the discovery of Borrelia burgdorferi came about WillyBurgdorferPhD
    https://sci-hub.se/10.1016/0738-081x(93)90087-s

    I emphasized that every tick, regardless of species, carries its own endocytobiotic bacteria, and that a thorough knowledge of the morphology and distribution of these symbiotes is essential before secondarily acquired pathogens can be evaluated.

    This paper seems to fill in some of the holes left in Bitten by the missing files, but fails to fill in other bits which might require an answer.
     
  17. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    @chrisb, I cannot seem to access it. I'm sure I am doing something wrong. Abstract reads oddly personal. Looking forward to reading the entire thing.
     
  18. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I find it interesting how the course of Lyme and ME have travelled in precisely opposite directions, both seemingly at the behest of the CDC.

    With ME we started with a clearly post infectious illness from which was extracted a single symptom to include a hodge podge of conditions.

    With Lyme there seems to have been an obscure range of symptoms of unknown aetiology boiled down to a single constituent part to which the name of the whole group had applied.

    It seems inconsistent. I may be wrong. I usually am.
     
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  19. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I have just rechecked and it seems to work OK for me. Is there something different about sci-hub where you are? I am not the person to offer advice on matters technical.
     
  20. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    This is 100% spot-on! They are so similar in symptoms, but how you get from point a to b is reversed. They broadened the route to ME/CFS and narrowed it to Lyme. And they mischaracterized both in the process.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2019
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