I’ve been a bit busy lately and haven’t been able to update you on some important developments in the field of imaginary diseases.
Update 1: Chronic Lyme Disease
So-called “chronic Lyme disease” (CLD) is a diverse constellation of symptoms which are often attributed to Lyme disease, but without objective evidence of infection with the organism that causes Lyme disease. Patient advocacy have been very active in insisting that reality conform to their beliefs, going so far as convincing the Connecticut Attorney General to investigate the Infectious Disease Society of America. As part of an agreement to get the AG to stop this foolishness, the IDSA agreed to review its guidelines, without any guarantee of changing them.
Their review is now complete, and they have decided against any changes. The heart of the AG’s investigation was an allegation that the IDSA had too many conflicts of interest. In order to allay some of these concerns (foolishly, in my opinion, as that is akin to trying to tell the Pope not to believe in God), an outside ethicist was brought in who reviewed the panel for conflicts of interest, and found none. According to the IDSA statement:
The Review Panel concurred that all of the recommendations from the 2006 guidelines are medically and scientifically justified in light of the evidence and information provided, including the recommendations that are most contentious: that there is no convincing evidence for the existence of chronic Lyme infection; and that long-term antibiotic treatment of “chronic Lyme disease” is unproven and unwarranted. Inappropriate use of antibiotics (especially given intravenously) has been shown to lead to deadly blood infections, serious drug reactions and C. difficile diarrhea, as well as the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria or “superbugs.”
And that settles that, right?
Update 2: “Morgellons” syndrome
So-called morgellons syndrome is a term coined by someone who felt she had unexplained skin rashes and strange fibers in her skin. Over the last couple of years, a loose group of people and one or two scientists have come together to try to find the cause of their suffering. They have managed to enlist the CDC in an investigation in an investigation which is still ongoing, but given the history of similar claims, if the CDC does not find an explanation to their liking, the conspiracy theories will make chem-trails and UFOs look rational.
So that’s your update. Enjoy the discussion which is sure to erupt.