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Typical Lyme Story, Atypical Victim

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

  1. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I'm sure it's me. :(

    I don't remember this WB piece either. I will keep trying. I'm in the US, and I've seen sciihub stuff before. I don't know. My brain is misfiring,
     
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  2. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  3. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Yeah, it brings me to the abstract, then gives me the option to pay for access. Im sorry.
     
  4. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Some random thoughts on the book.

    It would be interesting to do a handwriting comparison of that note -"I wondered why somebody didn't do something. Then I realised that I was somebody"- to get an approximate date. That is not the handwriting of an eighty year old Parkinson's sufferer. It must have been written at least ten, and probably more, years before he died. He was carrying these ideas around for a long while before he died.

    That finding of the details of the Swiss Bank account is not down to happenstance. You don't leave documents like that loose amongst general papers. That was almost certainly specifically placed with the intention that it be found.

    The disappearance from history of the Swiss agent is said to be related to the "cryptic note" from Steere to WB in April 1980 (p201)with attached decoded results. One wonders whether these results were found and are presented in some other context. The telephone conversation seems to me to have been initiated by Steere to inform WB of the results. It is incomprehensible that Steere would have no memory of it.

    As WB said we should look for clues in his papers, what is to be made of this

    4. Finally, in view of the unusual behavior (limited distribution, loss of infection intensity) of the spirochetes in ticks, the possibility that other hematophagous arthropods, such as biting flies, gnats, and mosquitoes, may play a role as mechanical vectors of ECM and Lyme disease cannot be ruled out.

    THE YALE JOURNAL OF BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE 57 (1984), 515-520

    Discovery of the Lyme Disease Spirochete and Its Relation to Tick Vectors
    WILLY BURGDORFER, Ph.D.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2590008/


    This appears to be an area of expertise for WB. We are told that he worked on the weaponization of mosquitoes as a vector whilst in Egypt. There is reference in the book to various trials of distribution of mosquitoes, but I am somewhat surprised that it omits reference to Project Bellwether at Dugway. This seems to have been a well resourced trial from 1961.
     
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  5. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    The stated conventional opinion is that mosquitoes are not competent vectors. I know there were published studies on this way back circa 1984 or so. The thing is, there weren't a lot. One, though, if I recall correctly, suggested mosquitoes could transmit Bb to at least mice. Sorry, doing this from memory.

    The vector angle is intriguing, and of course, this was WB's expertise.

    I wish someone would write specifically to the embedded resistance to developing accurate and timely direct diagnostics for both early and late stages.

    Of course, this may in fact tie back directly to what WB was involved in.
     
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  6. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It is difficult trying to second guess someone who probably knew more on the subject than anyone, before or since. One would expect him to be aware of transmissibility of Borrelia, which is what gives pause for thought.

    On trying to catch up on 30 years of reading there is clearly much to be learned. Is it clear at what point the apparently mutual antipathy developed between WB and Steere and co? WB appears to have a disregard for commercial aspects of the enterprise.
     
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  7. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    This varies by species. Disease intensity can vary by strain. WB knew a lot. But I'm not sure he knew everything that was needed, assuming he did not have a hand in a chimera.

    For instance, now we know to add borrelia myamotoi to the list. It's categorized as relapsing-remitting. Many think Lyme should be, too. But Bb purportedly is not passed on from ticks to their offspring, whereas b myamotoi is. This obviously impacts the rate of spread.

    Add to that the tick vector changes the equation, too. Deer ticks are fairly nonaggressive in their questing. Lonestar ticks are downright aggressive and will hunt you down.

    Borrelia is wickedly weird, and its vectors are just as.

    Steere had a job. WB had his. Each brought to bear their own bias and knowledge. The thing is, when it came to borrelia and rickettsia, there was no comparison on who had the deeper well of experience and insight. I don't think there was much of a chance of that ending well.
     
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  8. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    A question I have: Was Steere made aware of what WB purportedly had been working on for all those years in Montana?
     
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  9. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    That is a good point, but he would have to be incredibly naïve not have been aware. He had done time at the CDC. One would expect there to have been some awareness. Its hard to see how The CDC could assess the risks of new and emerging diseases if its investigators were unaware of the antics at RML and Fort Detrick
     
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  10. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    He was EIS, from Yale, I think. He early on suggested, reportedly, Lyme was cause by a virus because antibiotics left too many people still sick.

    You can't make this stuff up. :)

    Now of course he's still beating the bushes looking for Bb flotsam and jetsam to point at accusingly.
     
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  11. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It is interesting the effect that ascribing a name to something has. It gives the appearance of bringing order out of chaos. We forget that someone attributed the name and determined the characteristics.

    We know that Lyme is caused by Bb and some other species of Borrelia. WB was an expert on Borrelia. Yet, in his first paper, in 1982, describing the spirochete he had discovered, he called it a "treponema -like spirochete" (the type that causes syphilis).

    Lyme Disease--A Tick-Borne Spirochetosis?
    Abstract. A treponema-like spirochete was detected in and isolated from adult Ixodes dammini, the incriminated tick vector of Lyme disease. Causally related to the spirochetes may be long-lasting cutaneous lesions that appeared on New Zealand White rabbits 10 to 12 weeks after infected ticks fed on them. Samples of serum from patients with Lyme disease were shown by indirect immunofluorescence to contain antibodies to this agent. It is suggested that the newly discovered spirochete is involved in the etiology of Lyme disease.

    https://sci-hub.se/10.1126/science.7043737

    He must by then have been looking at samples of this for a year. I have not yet found the paper with the original description of Bb, but it will be interesting to see how and why they distinguished Bb from treponemas. Nature is not as tidy as classification systems would have us believe.

    Similar problems arise over the Swiss agent/ R montana (now montanensis) issue. The two papers from 19984 and 1993 refer to the discovery of R montana in ticks examined in 1979. It is hard to be entirely certain but these appear to be the samples referred to in Bitten at p114 where WB stated "It looked like R montana... under a microscope.... but it was a different species". R Helvetica was known by 1994. If it was that he might have mentioned it. Should it not have been described as Sp nov aff R montana, or however they describe things in microbiology?

    There is something odd going on. It is anybody's guess what. It may not be what we think.

    The disappearance of the file relating to the discovery of Bb does seem significant. It could be that it is retained in some archive of documents of particular historical interest; it could be that it was liberated for financial gain; it could be that it failed to corroborate the historical records which have been presented and was suppressed.

    I may be rediscovering the wheel and boring everyone to death.
     
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  12. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    You're certainly not boring me.

    I have difficulty many days keeping up with all the dark coincidences and gaping holes in TBD history. Nevertheless, I firmly believe that it is combing through its history that we will unravel this thing.

    It's nice to think Science will get us there first. But Science has a history of being suppressed, or at list given the cold shoulder when it comes to Lyme & Company. Just look at all paucity of $'s for late stage Lyme direct testing research - the exact place where all the controversy for the last 20+ years has swirled.

    Everything is indirect. When you look at CSF testing for Lyme, it is growing even more convoluted and further away from a direct metric.

    Each time we take a step forward with a solution from the free market - a direct culture, or a urine antigen test or a stellar PCR - there is official or behind-the-scenes pushback.

    If Science is the way forward, I fear it will be a long and serpentine and decades-consuming affair.
     
  13. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I found the part of the book which prompted the posts above, dealing with the comparison with Treponema. It is difficult to form a view as to whether this goes to the crux of the issues at the centre of the book, or whether it is simply an error committed for "artistic impression", but, at page 12, Newby writes of the time on November 5, 1981, when WB first observed the spirochete:

    Through the microscope, he saw something else unusual: faintly stained spirochetes (threadlike bacteria) some slightly coiled and some in messy clumps. He recognized them as a Borrelia, the same bacterial genus as the African relapsing fever spirochetes he'd studied as a student in Switzerland.

    If he has written, or stated publicly, that this was so the source needs to be located. The statement seems at variance with the facts as stated in the above 1982 paper that it was a treponema- like spirochete. This view was restated in
    Steere, A. C., Grodzicki, R. L., Kornblatt, A. N., Craft, J. E., Barbour, A. G., Burgdorfer, W., … Malawista, S. E. (1983). The Spirochetal Etiology of Lyme Disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 308(13), 733–740. doi:10.1056/nejm198303313081301
    https://sci-hub.se/10.1056/NEJM198303313081301

    upload_2019-8-2_9-23-54.png
    upload_2019-8-2_9-25-57.png upload_2019-8-2_9-23-54.png upload_2019-8-2_9-25-57.png upload_2019-8-2_9-23-54.png upload_2019-8-2_9-25-57.png

    If he knew that they were Borrelia, it seems that he was the only one who did, and he didn't tell his collaborators. The taxonomy only seems to have been established in 1984 with this paper

    THE YALE JOURNAL OF BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE 57 (1984), 529-537 Taxonomy of the Lyme Disease Spirochetes
    RUSSELL C. JOHNSON, Ph.D., FRED W. HYDE, B.S., AND CATHERINE M. RUMPEL, B.S.
    Department of Microbiology, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Received January 23, 1984
    europepmc.org/backend/ptpmcrender.fcgi?accid=PMC2590029&blobtype=pdf

    It seems that there is currently ongoing debate about the classification of the Lyme Disease family of Borreliae. You probably know more of that than I do. It would however seem that mere visual comparison with the African relapsing fever varieties of Borrelia would have been unlikely to be conclusive.
     
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  14. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I wonder if his paths ever crossed with Erich Traub. Writings and musings of WB seem to suggest he was a little taken aback at seeing the spirochete, and there is an argument that he shouldn't have been.

    I also have trouble reconciling his fervent belief in the Swiss Agent until late 1980 or so, and then his conversion to full supporter of this funky Borrelia species that seemed to come from nowhere.

    He sure became a believer in the lasting toxicity of Bb. According to Newby on pg 203, in one paper (The Brain Involvement in Lyme Disease) he wrote, "It is now clear that Bb can persist within the nervous system for years, causing progressive illness, and increasing evidence also suggests that the spirochete can remain latent there for years before producing clinical symptoms." (@richie )

    So even WB spoke to asymptomatic latent Lyme. He also believed in persistence and felt investigators need to start over and approach Lyme from a new and different perspective.

    As for the debate on Borrelia - yeah, you see it stretching all the way from the Midwest(STARI) to the NorthEast (B Miyamotoi) to Australia(Lyme? what Lyme?).

    People have been writing about the overlap and difference between Borrelia and Treponema for years. My hands-down favorite researcher that repeatedly speaks to this in detailed publications is Dr. Judith Miklossy.

    A curious side bar: Wasn't the the i dammini species of tick later proven not even to be a true species? I may be getting this wrong as it is from memory, but one of the cornerstones to the theory that Lyme had a limited spread is that it was confined to this i dammini species. But that theory and, I think, that tick, were later both disproven. Maybe. My memory....
     
  15. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    @duncan sorry for the delay responding. There are so many issues here that it is, at least in my case, mind blowing.

    I was struck by the similarity of the words you quote from p203 about brain involvement with the comments WB made to Grey in June 2013.
    "If the organism stays within the system, you won't even recognise what it is. In your lifetime it can explode...We evaluated it. You never deal with that [as a scientist]. You can sleep better." It sounded something much more like syphilis that he was describing.

    Some of his early ventures do sound as though they were Traub inspired. It is surprising what a small interconnected world it seems to be. Seeing the name Shope on the Steere papers reminded me that I had seen the name Shope in connection with Traub's first visit to the USA. It seems that this was the father of the Steere collaborator. He, the Steere collaborator, had also spent three years at Fort Detrick in the 1950s. That does not, of course, mean that he had any knowledge of what WB was up to at the time; presumably knowledge would only be imparted on a "need to know" basis, and he would probably have had no need to know. It does seem surprising that foreign nationals (Traub and WB) were inducted into highly secret operations, and one wonders about the security clearance.

    Coming at this from a different perspective it seems somewhat surprising that there does not appear to have been much follow up on certain lines . There may have been, but, if so, the results are not reported.

    What was the material alleged to have been stolen from the lab, when was it reported missing and was WB interviewed as a potential witness or suspect? Loss of such material and investigation by the FBI, or whoever, must have been reported up to the highest levels of the Army Chemical Corps and their political masters. It must have been recorded, though the information may well be classified.The approximate date of the "loss" could be highly significant.

    The unexplained payments into the Swiss bank accounts seem to have been made between 1974 and 1986. The ledger seems to have been deliberately disclosed as evidence of something. There really is a need to know whether payments were made regularly or sporadically. Do they suggest a retainer fee or ad hoc payments. It seems unusual to choose to make this information publicly available. These issues have to be taken seriously and not dismissed as the product of conspiracy theorists. Even if the material was not stolen, this would show that bio-security measures were inadequate, and that claims to the contrary cannot be relied upon.

    There seems to be a discrepancy between Newby's account and that of Pillar on the documents made available after WB's death. According to Bitten the box collected after his death contained only the financial records. According to the "Swiss Agent" article more boxes including evidence of the swiss Agent papers were collected. The timing of the release of papers could be significant. They were not to be made available whilst WB was able to answer questions.The financial records would normally be a matter only for the executors

    I know that it could be said that this isn't science. I reject the contention. This indicates the circumstances in which the "science" was undertaken.

    On the point about I dammini, there does seem to be debate. These classifications are rarely definitive, at least in one meaning of the term.
     
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  16. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    That point about Ixodes dammini is a fascinating one - as I suppose all Lyme followers will know. As far as I can see it was described as a new species in 1979 in connection with research on Babesia. I seem to have read somewhere that WB's investigations started in 1975 with trips to Nantucket, Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard, so it is entirely possible that he was involved with this work. Given that much seems to have been made of the issue of host specificity it seems surprising that WB wrote, in 1982, about I dammini without further comment on the subject. More discussion of the vector might reasonably have been expected.

    Ixodes dammini then seems to have been subsumed, according to some, into Ixodes scapularis in 1993.

    There seems to be plenty of material for a novel in all this.

    On a subject of little significance, but passing interest, there seem to be two versions of the events which took WB to RML. Newby has it that there were two available post-doctoral posts and WB got the second choice. Wikipedia has it that as a student he was interested in Q fever research and wished to further this interest. It may just be that one can hardly put on a job application in the box marked "reasons for interest in the post" that a coin had been tossed and that he had lost. Still, it is worth bearing in mind.
     
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  17. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Or a nonfiction expose. The i dammini screw-up was just, imo, emblematic of the obscene nexus of missteps and outright mistakes that characterize the investigation into the causative agent(s) behind that ever-expanding circle of very, very sick people whose epicenter was Lyme, CT.

    If it were a comedy, I'd make it a keystone cops episode.

    Nothing funny about it, though. The "mistakes" never stopped. There has actually been an uptick in propaganda in recent months due likely to the release of the new Lyme Guidelines whose main takeaway, once again, might be interpreted by some like me as being "Nothing much to see here folks, move along", or perhaps more appropriately "Stop trying to look behind the curtain that isn't even there!".

    I wish Newby would speak to the chimera prospect and clarify why she is inclined this way, ie, is this merely a hunch accrued from all the interviews and old boxes of documents filed in WB's home, or does she have something more. I seem to recall Dr. Alan MacDonald publishing on findings suggestive of a chimera a few years back. MacDonald was a pathologist, now retired, who has done more than his share of post-mortem exams of Lyme victims. He published famously about finding Borrelia in brains, and what he believed were links to some Alzheimer patients, if I remember correctly. But I seem to recall him addressing the prospect of a chimera.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
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  18. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I may be wrong, I often am, as my wife and children are only too happy to let me know, but I get the impression that Newby makes clear her views.

    It seems significant that there is emphasis on the presence of roundworms in the samples that led to the discovery of the spirochetes, in 1981, and earlier in relation to the Swiss agent samples. These were points that WB himself seemed to stress. Upon first reading, this seemed confusing, as there was no elaboration or explanation of the significance. We then have WB's "steering" us in the direction of haematophagous insects, although I take note of the comments about difficulty of transmission of Borrelia by this means.

    What potentially brings these elements together is page 221:

    They were similar to the deer worms he'd found in ticks on his 1978 trip to Switzerland, and similar to the ticks that he, Sonenshine, and the Naval Research Unit in Cairo had worked with for a project exploring the "relatively new field of endo-parasitic transmission of disease agents". In these experiments, multiple disease agents were put inside mosquito-borne roundworms, according to an NIH research project from 1961.

    This might also account for the Project Bellwether trials at Dugway. On this basis there might not have been an escape of ticks. It might have been mosquitoes and their roundworms that were the problem.

    I presume, though I do not know, that there is no suggestion that roundworms could still be a source of the spirochetes many generations later, and assume that WB's mention of them is merely a pointer as to the original source. But I might be overinterpreting the evidence.
     
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  19. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Nemotodes.

    Over the years, investigators other than the EIS and their disciples tried to independently nail down what was making people sick. This would be especially true in the latter 80's when it became strikingly clear that a tactic being embraced was to minimize the patient experience. So, in an effort to accept mainstream characterizations of Borrelia as hard to get, easy to cure, some researchers independently explored other possible culprits. The nemotode was one, I think chiefly as a Trojan horse of sorts.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
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  20. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Was there , at that time, any awareness amongst the researchers of the bio-warfare experiments? My guess is that there was not and that they came to their views on the basis of WBs reports of the presence of roundworms.

    But not of this would explain WBs "unexplained wealth", about which he wanted the world to know.

    One would hope that those with greater power than we might seek explanations regarding the files missing from the national archives.
     
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