Lyme Disease Treatment

bri·o - the quality of being active, alive, spirited, and vigorous

Lyme Disease Treatment Center in Scottsdale, Arizona

Brio Medical’s therapeutic approach for the treatment of Lyme Disease synergizes innovative, non-toxic protocols supported by the latest research with natural healing modalities from around the world to restore your enthusiasm and vigor — your brio — for the good fight against Lyme disease.

Our expert team of Lyme literate doctors and medical staff specialize in methodical diagnostic and treatment procedures that trace your symptoms to the root cause, target the Lyme spirochetes, coinfections, and toxins from your cells while tending to your most troublesome symptoms so you can live without fear of a flare and with faith, you'll get your life back.

At Brio Medical, HOPE is our most important and practiced core value. It leaves an opening in the heart and mind that the journey through and beyond illness is possible.

We invite you to lift your spirit in optimism and join the Brio Lyme disease treatment team here in Scottsdale, Arizona for comprehensive Lyme disease care that doesn’t quit until you achieve results.

If you’re like most of our patients, you already know a lot about Lyme disease. You might even be more informed than many medical doctors. Not only are you living with Lyme Disease, but you’ve spent countless hours poring over the latest Lyme disease treatment research in hopes of a breakthrough test that will validate your suffering or a novel therapy that’ll bring you relief.

Perhaps you were only recently diagnosed after months or years of debilitating pain, fatigue, weakness, or frightening neurological symptoms. You wouldn’t be alone. Over 70% of Lyme Disease patients see four or more doctors before receiving a correct Lyme diagnosis. Many are accused of exaggerating their symptoms or are referred to a mental health specialist.

Even with a confirmed case of Lyme disease, you may have been excused. Unfortunately, to the mainstream medical community, Lyme disease is simply an illness that’s successfully cured with a couple of weeks of antibiotics. It’s an open-and-shut case in the minds of most physicians.

The Brio Lyme team knows it’s not that simple for those living with chronic Lyme disease. We know Lyme means your quality of life, your relationships, your career, your health and well-being, your whole world suffers.

Serving as the last chance Lyme treatment center in Arizona, our practitioners recognize no two Lyme disease patients are the same. We respect every aspect of the journey you've taken to arrive at our doors and acknowledge you as an equal partner in care. We’re dedicated to unraveling the complexity of the most progressive Lyme disease cases, providing personalized care that takes your whole self into consideration...body, mind, and spirit.

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease was first discovered about 30 years ago in Lyme, Connecticut. Unfortunately, since then, Lyme disease has become the most undiagnosed and untreated epidemic in the world. Many people often attribute Lyme disease to tick bites; however, recent studies have indicated that there are other ways people can get Lyme diseases such as mosquito bites, blood transfusions, and even gestationally (transmitted from mother to child).

Furthermore, Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the spirochete (Borrelia burgdorferi) Lyme is consistently being misdiagnosed as a variety of ailments including but not limited to chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, ms, depression, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer's, and ALS. Lyme disease is a severe condition where the disease can affect multiple areas of the body with symptoms appearing as early as 1 to 2 weeks after being bitten. After being bitten, a telltale sign begins with a red rash or a bulls-eye red ring not necessarily exclusive to the surrounding area of the bite.

Since Lyme infections can vary, and Lyme can manifest over 100 different symptoms with no two people being the same, many physicians do not even consider Lyme disease as the problem. Even when testing is performed, standard testing misses over 90% of chronic Lyme disease cases. The reason for this is because the conventional methods of testing are designed to test for acute Lyme disease and not chronic Lyme disease.

Lyme Disease is an infection caused by bacteria from the genus Borrelia. Also known as Lyme Borreliosis (LB), it’s the most common tick-borne illness in North America, Europe, and Asia.1 Early diagnosis and treatment lead to a recovery in many patients, but a complex multi-symptom, multi-system chronic condition can develop when Lyme is left untreated or treatment fails. 

Although it wouldn’t have a name or known causative agent for nearly one hundred years, Lyme disease research dates back to 1883 when a German physician, Alfred Buchwald, recorded serious deterioration of skin tissue called acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans (ACA). We now recognize ACA as a classic symptom of late stage European Lyme disease. 

In 1908, when Swedish dermatologist Arvid Afzelius first described the classic Lyme-related bullseye rash, erythema migrans (EM), he suspected it may have resulted from a tick bite but couldn’t prove it.Just over a decade later, the  first case of neurologic Lyme (Lyme neuroborreliosis) was reported by Garin and Bujadoux. Then, in 1940, similar cases of nerve pain radiating from the spine after tick bites were reported in Germany by Bannwarth, and the condition was recognized as Garin–Bujadoux–Bannwarth syndrome.

The name “Lyme disease” comes from the town of Lyme, Connecticut, where it was first described as a separate illness in 1975 when a group of 51 children and adults reported arthritis-like symptoms, including pain and swelling in large joints, headaches, fever, weakness, skin rash, and fatigue. They coined the condition Lyme but didn’t know the cause. 

Several years later in 1981, scientist Willy Burgdorfer discovered a new corkscrew-shaped bacterium, a spirochete, in the gut of deer ticks while studying rocky mountain spotted fever. This new spirochete, which was called Borrelia burgdorferi after Burgdorfer, was determined to be the causative agent in Lyme disease. 

While emerging research suggests Lyme could be transmitted sexually or gestationally, via blood transfusion, or by mosquitoes, we’re certain humans get Lyme disease from tick bites infected with one of 18 known species of Borrelia that cause Lyme. Borrelia burgdorferi, spread by the black-legged tick, commonly called a deer tick, causes nearly all cases of Lyme disease in North America. Borrelia mayonii represents fewer cases, as it’s found only in the upper Midwest. In Europe and Asia, Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii are primarily responsible. 

While ticks of any age can transmit Lyme, the danger lies in tiny, immature ticks called nymphs that are barely visible to the naked eye. The size of a poppy seed or pinhead, they often feed in hard-to-see areas like the groin or scalp. Since most tick bites are painless, they remain undetected while they suck the host’s blood for several days before becoming engorged and detaching to continue their life cycle. 

If a human or animal host has Lyme (or another tick-borne disease), the tick could contract and carry it to future hosts, including you. Typically, ticks must feed for 36 hours to transmit Lyme while other infections can be transmitted in a matter of minutes or seconds. The longer a tick is attached, the greater your chance of contracting a tick-borne illness. 

In the United States, Lyme disease is most commonly reported in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, North-Central, and Pacific Coast regions. You’re more likely to get Lyme if you live in one of these areas and spend a lot of time outdoors. If you’re bitten by a tick, you should get tested for Lyme as soon as possible, no matter where you live. Just reach out to one of our patient care coordinators to set up testing today.

Lyme disease is caused by a gram-negative, spiral-shaped bacterium, a spirochete, so the obvious first-line treatment is antibiotics. One round of generally-accepted antibiotic therapy, which is 10-21 days of doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime, doesn’t always cure Lyme disease.

In the early stages of Lyme disease, antibiotics are more effective. In 10-20% of cases, however, antibiotics fail, and symptoms continue or recur for weeks, months, or years. We call this chronic Lyme disease, although it’s called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS) by the mainstream medical establishment.

If you still have symptoms after taking antibiotics, your initial antibiotic treatment may have been too short. The International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS) recommends a minimum course of 20 days of doxycycline for any confirmed black-legged tick bite and four to six weeks of doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime when an erythema migrans (EM) rash is present.

Alternatively, you could be dealing with one of Lyme’s common associated diseases, or coinfections, such as anaplasmosis, babesiosis, bartonellosis, Ehrlichia, or rickettsia. Lyme disease is often much more than a Borrelia burgdorferi infection. Multiple tick-borne pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites can be transmitted in a single tick bite.

The net effect of multiple simultaneous infections can wreak havoc on your body, causing an overactive immune response and constant inflammation that’s actually exacerbated by antibiotics. At Brio Medical Center, we specialize in treating complex chronic Lyme disease cases with natural, nontoxic treatments that equalize inflammation, optimize the immune system, and eradicate infection so you can be Lyme disease-free once and for all.

Yes, you can contract Lyme disease at any time of the year in all 50 states. Although most infections are transmitted during the summer months in the Northeast and Midwest, you should be aware of Lyme disease symptoms and get tested no matter where you live if you’re bitten by a tick. Young ticks, called nymphs, are most active from May to August while adult tick bites are most frequent from March to May and August to November.

 

Contrary to popular belief, ticks do not die in the winter unless temperatures drop beneath 10 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended time. Even in the coldest parts of the country, heavy snows provide insulation for ticks, keeping them alive and ready to feed in the spring. They wait out the freezing temperatures amongst sticks and leaves, latching to animal hosts like rodents, mice, deer, and even your pets.

 

You don’t need to visit the woods to come into contact with either of the ticks that carry Lyme in the United States. Deforestation has contributed to the arrival of ticks in urban areas. Both the blacklegged tick, commonly called the deer tick and found in the eastern part of the country, and the western blacklegged tick, found in the Pacific northwest, occupy backyards, parks, and trails.

 

And ticks aren’t the only means of transmission. It’s possible to contract Lyme disease both sexually and gestationally as well as through blood transfusion, although they’re much less common. Even if you received a tick bite in the summer or fall, Borrelia spirochetes can remain dormant in your tissues until conditions are favorable for their survival. Symptoms may develop or recur at any time after infection, especially when your immune system is compromised.

If a tick has bitten you, don’t panic. You should attempt to remove the tick immediately with fine-tipped tweezers, grasping it as close to your skin as possible. Use the tweezers to steadily pull the tick up and out with even pressure. Do not squeeze or pop the tick body. If a piece of the tick breaks off and remains in your skin, repeat the process using the same method. If you’re unable to pull the piece out, you can leave it.

 

Don’t use matches, lighters, cigarettes, petroleum jelly, salt, or any other folk remedy to make the tick let go on its own. It could agitate the tick, causing it to release bodily fluids potentially contaminated with tick-borne illness. Wash the tick bite site with soap and water. Call your doctor to report the bite and request the ILADS recommended 20-day course of antibiotics.

There is so much controversy surrounding Lyme disease that it’s been dubbed “The Lyme War.” The controversy primarily involves two camps with opposing views on the existence of chronic Lyme disease as well as how to diagnose and treat the disease.

The Infectious Disease Society of America denies chronic Lyme, refusing to accept that the bacteria that cause Lyme disease are able to persist post-treatment by going dormant or hiding deep within the tissue to evade antibiotics. They believe Lyme is hard to get and easy to cure with a few weeks of oral antibiotics.

The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), on the other hand, recognizes the growing body of evidence that confirms the presence of persistent Borrelia bacteria in the body after treatment. They affirm that Borrelia is difficult to treat with only the CDC-recommended short-course of antibiotics and advocate for long-term or repeated use of antibiotics when symptoms persist.

This controversy harms patients who need prompt diagnosis and treatment. Insurance companies deny requests for longer courses of antibiotics while some patients are told by doctors they’re making up their symptoms or trying to get attention. At Brio Medical, we put the patient first.

We know your chronic Lyme disease symptoms are not all in your head. We’ve built our treatment protocol around supporting your body’s natural ability to heal itself with non-toxic therapies that include detoxification, supplementation, mind-body medicine techniques, correct diet and exercise choices, and proper sleep.

Permethrin is a non-toxic insecticide that’s registered for use by the Environmental Protection Agency. It’s a synthetic version of pyrethrum, a natural insecticide produced from the chrysanthemum flower.

Permethrin is applied to your clothing and gear only, never to your skin. Clothing should be light-colored with a fairly tight weave so you can easily spot ticks. You can also line the perimeter of your property with permethrin, making it a less hospitable habitat.

It lasts for six weeks or six washings and repels or kills ticks and mosquitos on contact. Treat all of your outdoor clothing and gear with Permethrin as the first step in Lyme disease prevention.

Unfortunately, yes, you probably have Lyme disease and should go to the emergency room or local urgent care immediately for assessment and antibiotics. Testing is not required before treatment if you have an erythema migrans (EM) rash and a history that suggests a Lyme infection such as a recent camping trip or a visit to a Lyme-endemic area.

 

If there are no contradictions, you’ll receive a prescription for doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime. The CDC-recommended treatment is 10-21 days of one of these medications. But we encourage you to advocate for a four- to six-week course of antibiotic therapy as recommended by the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) for cases in which an EM rash is present.

 

You’ll probably still have blood drawn for a serological test that will check for antibodies to the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, as well as B. mayonii if you’re in the upper midwest. It can take your body up to two months to make these antibodies, however, so chances for a false negative are quite high since your infection is still in the early stages. Your tick bite likely occurred in the last three to 30 days if you have an EM rash now.

 

It’s important to understand ticks carry other infections such as babesiosis, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, bartonellosis, and many more, which can all be transmitted through a single tick bite. It’s critical you get tested for these coinfections as well. Treating Lyme disease alone is insufficient if you’ve contracted one or more viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites that’ll weaken your immune system and potentially cause the antibiotics to fail.

At Brio Medical Center, we only use trusted laboratories that specialize in advanced testing for tick-borne illness. Reach out to a patient care coordinator right now to find out how to get the proper laboratory panels ordered through our clinic. We’re sorry you’re in this position, but you don’t need to panic. At least you know you’ve been infected and can take the proper steps to address it early.

Yes, you can still have Lyme disease without the classic bullseye rash, erythema migrans (EM). Doctors are trained to diagnose Lyme based on the appearance of a slowly-expanding, circular, red rash with a clear center. But just because you don’t have the signature mark, doesn’t mean your symptoms aren’t caused by Lyme, especially if you remember a tick bite.

 

The Global Lyme Alliance reports that less than half of Lyme patients develop the EM rash while the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 70-80% of people get the EM rash. Some people get a rash, but it doesn’t look like a bullseye while others never get a rash. You may have had a Lyme-related rash in a hard-to-see area of your body or a rash that lasted a few days and disappeared.

 

Ticks often feed in warm, moist areas of the body such as the groin, ear, hairline, or armpit. You may have had an EM rash and never known it. If you pulled a tick from your skin and have achy joints, swollen lymph nodes, unexplained exhaustion, fever, pain, chills, or headaches, you should get tested for Lyme disease and start antibiotics.

 

If you have these symptoms as well as cognitive difficulties, facial paralysis, heart palpitations, dizziness, arthritis, and sleep disturbances but don’t recall a tick bite, you could have chronic Lyme disease, a complex multi-system condition that develops when Lyme disease is untreated or undertreated in the acute stages.

Finally, if you do have an expanding bullseye rash, you can be almost certain you have Lyme disease and should see a doctor immediately. Brio Medical’s Lyme disease treatment team specializes in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease and its coinfections with natural, nontoxic medicine. Contact a care coordinator to set up a consultation with a physician today.

Yes, you can receive a negative blood test and still have Lyme disease. Even with confirmed tick exposure and objective symptoms of a Lyme disease infection, like an EM rash, you can test negative for Lyme disease. This is called a false negative and happens more often than you’d expect.

 

Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose. The final determination should not be based on laboratory tests alone, which may be falsely negative up to 50% of the time. Standard Lyme disease testing consists of a two-step, indirect test, meaning it tests for the presence of antibodies created by your body after infection, not the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto.

 

The first test is the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The second test, a Western Blot, is most often ordered only if the ELISA is positive. For a confirmed Lyme diagnosis, both tests must be positive. The high incidence of false negatives is a likely result of the fact that it may take up to two months for the body to produce enough antibodies for a positive ELISA.

 

If you have symptoms of Lyme disease or a confirmed tick bite, ask your doctor to order both the ELISA and the Western blot test from two or more independent labs, as an interpretation of blood tests vary depending on the lab and technician. Your insurance might only pay for one test at one lab, but you should consider paying for the others out of pocket. It’s possible and quite common to get a positive from one lab and a negative from another.

Brio Medical Center’s Lyme disease physicians use cutting-edge laboratories that specialize in tick-borne illness and offer tests far superior than the standard ELISA and Western Blot. Our Lyme disease treatment team guides you through collecting your samples and interpreting your results, formulating a personalized treatment plan based on your unique biochemistry. 

No, technically you do not have Lyme disease if you don’t have symptoms, even if you tested positive on a blood test. Lyme disease is the complex of symptoms that develops when a Borrelia bacteria infection and other factors such as inflammation, lack of detoxification, or immune system dysfunction combine to produce illness.

 

A positive result indicates Borrelia antibodies were found in your blood, although a false positive can occur, meaning the test says you have the disease, but you don’t. False-positives are known to result from HIV, lupus, syphilis, Helicobacter pylori bacteria, or Epstein-Barr virus.

 

Another reason for a positive test in the absence of symptoms is that you were previously infected by Borrelia bacteria and didn’t know because your immune system was successful against the infection, creating antibodies to defend against future infection. These antibodies are still present months or years later, even without an active infection.

A positive test can also indicate small numbers of persistent bacteria that continually stimulate your immune system so that antibodies are always measurable. These persister bacteria may be dormant and, therefore, not causing any symptoms. If this is the case and you never have recurrent flares, you’re a carrier but don’t have active Lyme disease.

Yes, you should hold on to hope that you can heal from Lyme disease. The prerequisite for healing is the belief that it’s possible. If caught early enough, in the acute stage of infection, Lyme disease can be cured with antibiotic therapy.

However, evidence continues to point to the persistence of at least some Borrelia in the body after treatment. This means you may carry it with you forever, even if antibiotic therapy has put the bacteria into a dormant state and eliminated your symptoms. The concern lies with mutated and antibiotic-resistant bacteria that could resurface later in a state of weakened immunity.

Even if you’re dealing with chronic Lyme disease, you can get better. Our physicians have helped countless people reach total remission of Lyme disease symptoms, even after years or decades without relief. This is best accomplished by optimizing your immune system, equalizing inflammation, restoring the microbiome, and suppressing the infection with natural, non-toxic therapies that support your body’s inherent power to heal itself.

If you’ve been undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, untreated or undertreated, and you’re still suffering from relentless symptoms that impair your quality of life, your best course of action is a consultation with an experienced Lyme disease physician as well as precision laboratory testing that reveals the exact pathogens in your body. Brio Medical can help in both regards. We welcome you to speak to our knowledgeable care coordinators to take the next step.

Here at Brio Medical Center, we’re more than familiar with your situation. Most of our patients have seen four or more doctors before arriving at our doors. If you feel like you have nowhere to turn, please know you are not alone. The problem is not with you or, most likely, even your physician. The medical system has failed you.

Physicians are trained to treat acute illness with drugs or surgery. Open-and-shut cases are usually handled quite nicely. In the minds of many physicians, Lyme disease falls into this category. A patient presents with a confirmed tick bite and erythema migrans (EM) rash. They get 10-21 days of antibiotics and are cured. As you probably know, that can be true, but it’s often not that simple.

Many people who contract Lyme don’t even know they’ve been infected until they start to experience chronic symptoms. They show up at their doctor’s office without a rash or recollection of a tick bite, feeling miserable. Because the system doesn’t allow adequate time for assessment or access to therapies that bring relief, twenty minutes, and a prescription later, you’ve got a diagnosis of anxiety, chronic fatigue, or some other general condition.

Even if your physician is aware enough of Lyme to order labs, standard testing is unreliable. A false negative places you in an even worse position, as first-line treatment with antibiotics, is not even considered. If your test is positive, the generally-accepted 10-21 days of antibiotics are probably not enough now that the infection is disseminated, so you end up with post-treatment symptoms. This is the point when many physicians scratch their heads and either dismiss you from care or suggest a psychological cause for what you’re reporting.

If this is where you currently find yourself, we welcome you to explore our groundbreaking program. Even if Brio Medical is not for you, you don’t have to do this alone. There are many experienced Lyme-literate physicians across the world who specialize in treating Lyme disease and its coinfections. You can also seek support from chiropractors, acupuncturists, nutritionists, energy medicine practitioners, Chinese medicine doctors, and other healthcare professionals willing to join your care team. If you’d like to talk through your options, contact one of our patient care coordinators today.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

Lyme symptoms are characterized by three progressive stages of the disease: early localized, early disseminated and late disseminated (chronic). Symptoms generally include rash, swelling, headache, fever, and fatigue, but Lyme is called “The Great Imitator” because its symptoms are virtually indistinguishable from over 350 other conditions. Without confirmation of a tick bite or the presence of a skin rash, Lyme Disease is commonly misdiagnosed, delaying critical treatment.

Early localized or acute Lyme disease is the first stage with symptoms usually beginning a few hours to a few weeks after the tick bite. It’s possible for you to not notice symptoms during stage one, remaining unaware of the infection until more serious symptoms arise during later stages. 

One of the first signs of infection during stage one is the bullseye-shaped rash erythema migrans (EM), but reports indicate it only appears in approximately 30-70% of people. The rash may be a solid red rash or a ring and is caused by the spirochete bacteria spreading away from the bite location through the skin. It measures anywhere from two to 12 inches across. Flu-like symptoms are also typical and include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Neck stiffness
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Lyme treatment is most effective during stage one. If untreated, symptoms get worse as the infection spreads.

Stage two is called early disseminated Lyme disease, as the infection is no longer localized to the tick bite site but has started to spread or disseminate to different areas of the body, potentially affecting the heart, nervous system, joints, and skin. 

As the infection spreads, the EM rash may continue to expand with rashes potentially appearing on other parts of the body. Flu-like symptoms worsen, and these additional symptoms are often reported:

  • Sweating
  • Loss of breath
  • Recurrent fainting
  • Conjunctivitis (pinkeye) 
  • Bell’s palsy (facial paralysis)
  • Heart palpitations (rapid heartbeat)
  • Impaired concentration and memory
  • Pain, weakness, tingling, or numbness in the limbs
  • Inflammation (pain, redness, and swelling) in knees or other large joints

 

Early disseminated Lyme is most often diagnosed from one month after infection to four months after infection and results from a missed diagnoses, a misdiagnoses, or ineffective treatment.  

Late disseminated Lyme disease is typically diagnosed from three months after infection to 36 months after infection but onset may be years later. In this stage, the spirochetes have spread throughout the body, producing severe symptoms such as arthritis and advanced neurological or cardiac symptoms that may include:

 

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Dizziness that causes falls
  • Heart rhythm disturbances 
  • Constant stiff or aching neck
  • Frequent headaches or migraines
  • Brain fog or inability to concentrate 
  • Insomnia or frequent sleep disturbances
  • Tingling and numbness in limbs that makes movement difficult 
  • Trouble recalling words, conversing, and processing information
  • Severe arthritis or migrating pains that come and go in multiple joints

Late disseminated Lyme disease may become a chronic condition. In 10-20% of cases, treatment fails and symptoms persist. Even if Lyme Disease treatment is initially effective, some patients continue to have recurrent flares.

You could go months or years without signs of Lyme only to have all your symptoms suddenly return. Then there are people who suffer from symptoms for years before ever receiving confirmation of and treatment for a Lyme diagnosis. 

Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS) is a term the medical community uses for a specific subset of patients with symptoms that persist after treatment, even in the absence of a clinically detectable infection.

A diagnosis of Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS) is made when a confirmed case of Lyme has resolved after generally-accepted treatment but is followed with the onset of subjective symptoms such as fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, or cognitive difficulties within six months of the original diagnosis and continue for at least six months after treatment, causing a serious decline in quality of life. Scientists estimate that as many as 2 million people in the United States may suffer from Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS) today. 

The line between Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS) and chronic Lyme disease is blurry. The mainstream medical establishment doesn’t even recognize chronic Lyme as a real condition. Because of this, many medical doctors simply don’t know what to do with the onset of Lyme-related symptoms after treatment. They might tell you they can’t help you or even suggest you have psychological issues.

If you’re struggling with the burden of Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS) or chronic Lyme disease, we are here to help hold you up...literally if we have to. We’ve worked with enough late-stage Lyme sufferers to know you’re not inventing your pain and suffering, even if you’re experiencing symptoms no other patient has reported. 

If you’re in this position, you probably already know that antibiotics alone are ineffective in late-stage Lyme disease. That’s why our team has created a holistic Lyme disease protocol that relies on natural, non-toxic personalized medicine to optimize your immune system’s ability to take back your body and put Lyme into permanent remission.

Early localized or acute Lyme disease is the first stage with symptoms usually beginning a few hours to a few weeks after the tick bite. It’s possible for you to not notice symptoms during stage one, remaining unaware of the infection until more serious symptoms arise during later stages. 

One of the first signs of infection during stage one is the bullseye-shaped rash erythema migrans (EM), but reports indicate it only appears in approximately 30-70% of people. The rash may be a solid red rash or a ring and is caused by the spirochete bacteria spreading away from the bite location through the skin. It measures anywhere from two to 12 inches across. Flu-like symptoms are also typical and include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Neck stiffness
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Lyme treatment is most effective during stage one. If untreated, symptoms get worse as the infection spreads.

Neurocognitive tests objectively measure cognitive function at a specific point in time, pretreatment and posttreatment, for example. Since difficulties with concentration, memory, communication, and other neurological and psychological symptoms are often reported but don’t always match up with objective data, neurocognitive tests provide quantitative results that are used to monitor changes. There are many available test options that measure general intellectual function, attention, concentration, verbal fluency, virtual learning, fine and gross motor function, even depression and anxiety.

 

In adults with Lyme disease, verbal fluency, verbal memory, and mental processing speed are the most common neurocognitive deficits. The Controlled Oral Word Association Test is used to assess verbal fluency while the Buschke Selective Reminding Test and California Verbal Learning Test are often used for verbal memory. Processing speed is measured through a variety of timed tests, such as the Digit Symbol Substitution Test.

 

Unfortunately, many chronic Lyme patients have been accused of fabricating neurocognitive symptoms, or they’ve been brushed off as purely psychological. PET and SPECT brain function scans challenge those accusations by demonstrating physiological dysfunction.

Several brain imaging techniques are used to help diagnose Lyme disease, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), and single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT). In addition to their diagnostic utility, these tests, which show brain structure or function, have benefits for patients and families. Observing real-time biological dysfunction increases understanding that Lyme disease is not, in fact, a psychological issue. These scans can also show treatment effectiveness, as improvement or resolution of abnormalities are visible post-treatment.

 

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides a picture of the physical structure of the brain. For nearly 40% of adults with Lyme disease, MRI captures hyperintensities on the white matter that point to inflammation and areas of demyelination.[1] These white matter hyperintensities are referred to as unidentified bright objects (UBOs), which may disappear or diminish after treatment.

 

Positron emission tomography (PET) is a brain imaging technique that uses radiopharmaceuticals to measure brain function. PET scans are able to detect widespread inflammation in the brain in those with Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome,[2]making it valuable in chronic cases of Lyme. 

Single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) measures the healthy activity in the brain by capturing blood flow, revealing how the brain is functioning. SPECT scans are abnormal in most people with chronic Lyme disease. In one study, 75% of patients had abnormal perfusion to the frontal, temporal, and parietal lobes as well as other parts of the brain.[3]

[1] https://www.columbia-lyme.org/diagnosis

[2] https://www.radiologybusiness.com/topics/care-delivery/pet-imaging-technique-brain-inflammation-after-lyme-disease

[3]https://journals.lww.com/nuclearmed/Fulltext/2012/09000/SPECT_Brain_Imaging_in_Chronic_Lyme_Disease.33.aspx#:~:text=Brain%20SPECT

 

 

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Muscle weakness, spasms, and paralysis are common symptoms in Lyme disease as is tingling or numbness in the face and extremities. Lyme-related peripheral neuropathy is confirmed with peripheral nerve testing. Nerve conduction studies and electromyography (EMG) are tests that measure the electrical activity of nerves and muscle function. Electrical signals sent out by nerves cause your muscles to respond in specific ways. Muscle response is then measured to determine proper function. The EMG test measures muscle signals at rest and while in use. A nerve conduction study tests how fast and appropriately the body’s electrical signals travel through your nerves, assessing damage or disease.

Lyme Disease Lab Testing

Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. Sadly, recent data shows more than 85% of Lyme disease patients were not diagnosed until after four months of illness and over 70% saw four or more doctors before receiving a diagnosis. There are several reasons for this difficulty, including the fact that many people don’t remember a tick bite, EM rash isn’t always present, Lyme symptoms mimic so many other conditions, and current FDA-approved/CDC-recommended testing fails to accurately diagnose in 60-70% of cases.

When an expanding EM rash is present, however, especially if you’re from or have traveled to a Lyme-endemic area, a diagnosis is given without laboratory testing, and treatment is started immediately. In all other suspected cases of Lyme disease, your physician will assess your symptoms, medical history, any past diagnostic tests, and run new laboratory tests.

There are several leading laboratories that specialize in the research and development of tests that detect Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. We work with you to determine the best tests at the best lab for your situation, taking into consideration your current condition, medical history, insurance coverage, and copays. Our goal is to diagnose and treat as efficiently and affordably as possible.

If you have every sign and symptom of Lyme disease, but your lab tests are negative, you are not alone. Unfortunately, many doctors still rely on one or two lab tests to give a Lyme diagnosis.

Since early diagnosis and treatment are critical in Lyme disease, a delay resulting from a false-negative lab test can have detrimental, long-term consequences on your health.

At Brio Medical, we make use of more than the standard testing discussed here. We rely on cutting-edge diagnostics from labs who specialize in Lyme and its coinfections.

Standard testing for Lyme disease involves indirect, two-tiered serological testing that helps rule out or confirm a Lyme diagnosis. These tests are indirect because they detect the immune system’s response to certain Borrelia species through the presence of antibodies rather than testing for the bacteria directly.

Traditionally, an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA or EIA) test is run first. Since the ELISA is quite sensitive, you may receive a positive result even if you don’t have Lyme disease. That’s why all positive or inconclusive ELISA tests are followed up with a second test called a Western Blot. If your ELISA test was negative, you can be fairly sure you don’t have Lyme.

The Western Blot test is very specific and is usually only positive if you’re truly infected with Lyme. If you receive a negative, it’s likely that your positive ELISA result was a false positive. If you’ve had symptoms for less than 30 days, you’ll have an IgM and IgG Western Blot, which tests for two different types of antibodies. For symptoms over 30 days, only an IgG is necessary.

IgM antibodies are produced before IgG antibodies and usually indicate a recent or active infection. The body makes IgG antibodies later. They can be found even when there’s no longer an active infection.

Typically, if you test positive for IgM antibodies but not IgG antibodies, the test will be run again a few weeks later. If you’ve been sick longer than 30 days and have a positive IgM but a negative IgG, you most likely do not have Lyme disease. On the other hand, if you received a positive IgG but a negative IgM, you were exposed to Borrelia at some point in the past and have antibodies, but your infection is not new or active.

Both tests must be positive for a Lyme disease diagnosis. Results usually take one to two weeks, which can delay treatment in the early stages of Lyme. In 2019, the FDA approved a modified two-tiered test that uses only concurrent or sequential EIA tests instead of the Western blot, which significantly speeds up diagnosis.[1]

[1]https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-clears-new-indications-existing-lyme-disease-tests-may-help-streamline-diagnoses

There are several problems with the standard two-tiered protocol. To begin, it can take the immune system up to two months after initial infection to develop enough Borrelia antibodies for a positive test. Tick saliva, which is able to suppress the immune response, is thought to be the cause of this delay,[1] leading to false negatives in early Lyme cases 50-65% of the time.[2] Some tests may not be sensitive enough to detect antibodies, especially if you’ve already started antibiotics. Or you may even be seronegative, meaning you don’t produce antibodies at all.

Additionally, once you carry Borrelia antibodies, they can remain in your body for years, even if you were successfully treated. It's impossible to know if a positive test means you have a recent, active infection or were infected at some point in the past. Add to that the fact that these blood tests aren’t able to identify antibodies of every Borrelia species that cause Lyme. Finally, the test may come back positive even if you don’t have Lyme, as it may not be specific enough to distinguish Borrelia antibodies from other antibodies.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4938952/

[2] https://www.columbia-lyme.org/diagnosis

The C6 Lyme Enzyme Immunoassay (EIA) is a single-tier FDA-approved serologic test that measures IgG antibodies to a specific protein of Borrelia burgdorferi, the C6 peptide of the variable major protein-like sequence-expressed (VlsE).

The VlsE lipoprotein creates a strong immune response throughout all stages of  Lyme disease. Since it’s unique to B. burgdorferi, the presence of antibodies to C6 indicates infection. The debate remains as to whether the C6 ELISA is superior to the standard ELISA. One study did indicate using the C6 Elisa resulted in 82 fewer false positives out of 2208 control sera, which produced a 77% reduction in immunoblot testing, a possible cost-saving benefit.[1]

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4052829/

The Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) test for Lyme disease is similar to serological testing, but it looks for Borrelia antibodies in your cerebrospinal fluid rather than your blood. If your physician suspects the bacteria that causes Lyme disease has spread to your central nervous system, you may have a spinal tap or lumbar puncture to confirm.

Lyme disease affects the central nervous system in nearly 15% of cases. It’s called Lyme neuroborreliosis (LNB), and evidence suggests its cause is the inflammatory response that occurs when Borrelia contacts nerve cells,[1]  leading to symptoms that may include:

  • Headache
  • Deafness
  • Bladder dysfunction
  • Painful nerve inflammation
  • Facial paralysis (Bell’s Palsy)
  • Infection of the brain and spinal cord tissues (Meningitis)
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis)
  • Chronic skin disorder (Acrodermatitis Chronica Atrophicans) - European Lyme

If test results for Borrelia antibodies in the CSF are higher than in your blood, your CSF white blood cell count is high, and the protein concentration in your CSF is between 200 and 300 milligrams per deciliter, you’ll probably be diagnosed with Lyme disease of the central nervous system.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7025284/

The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test for Lyme disease is a direct test that detects the presence of certain Borrelia DNA. By amplifying the cloning of targeted sections of a DNA sequence, creating billions of copies, technicians are able to better study your sample to see if Borrelia DNA is present. Urine, blood, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, or other tissue can be used for the PCR test.[1]

For early or acute infection, direct testing with PCR can confirm Lyme disease before antibodies are developed. PCR testing is very specific, which is especially helpful in confirming chronic Lyme disease. Because there are few Borrelia bacteria present in infected tissues, however, there’s a greater chance of a false negative, especially if antibiotic treatment has already started.

PCR tests require expensive equipment and advanced technical skills, so there are very few trusted labs able to run PCR tests. For that reason, in most clinical settings, PCR is used only to confirm Lyme after serologic testing is completed. Brio Medical Center is one of the few alternative medical treatment centers that regularly order PCR tests, providing you with a definitive diagnosis of Lyme or coinfections.

[1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23745373/

Immunofluorescence assay (IFA) is an indirect serology test. It was the first serology test used to confirm Lyme disease in the early 1980s.

Many laboratories still use it, but it requires skilled technicians to interpret results. It works by indirectly detecting Borrelia burgdorferi antibodies attached to spirochetes that are incubated with human serum on a glass microscope slide.

The antibodies are confirmed when nonhuman antibodies labeled with fluorescein isothiocyanate are added to the slide and incubated. A fluorescence microscope is used to visualize the binding of these second antibodies, which indirectly confirms Borrelia is present.[1]

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3327992/

The Urine Antigen Test is a direct test, meaning it detects the Lyme antigen, B. burgdorferi, directly rather than detecting the presence of Borrelia antibodies.

The test detects the shedding of outer surface protein A (OspA), a protein expressed on Borrelia burgdorferi spirochete surfaces in a tick before it feeds.

With only a urine sample, it’s able to measure OspA in urine at all stages of infection. Urine antigen tests are especially accurate in patients with an EM rash, making them helpful in detecting early-stage Lyme disease. Urine antigen testing is also beneficial when assessing treatment effectiveness, as it measures how much treatment has changed OsPA levels.

A live culture test is a direct test derived from samples of tissue, blood, or cerebrospinal fluid, and is the gold standard for confirmation of Lyme or any infection. Culturing spirochetes is difficult, however, as they require a host to survive, so special media and technical expertise is required for incubation. B. burgdorferi replicates slowly, so a long incubation period is necessary. Specimens are kept up to 12 weeks before considered negative.[1]

Due to its difficulty, a live culture test is best reserved for certain cases, including seronegative patients, a newborn with Lyme antibodies possibly received from the mother, the immunosuppressed, those with concurrent infections, past Lyme patients with a new tick bite, and post-treatment patients who remain symptomatic. Post-treatment, a positive culture means there’s an ongoing infection.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4441761/

Direct observation testing uses a microscope to search for Lyme spirochetes. It’s not a very efficient method, as there are so few Borrelia spirochetes in fluid and tissue samples. There are a few ways to see spirochetes in the microscope. The use of silver stain is traditionally most common.

Nucleic acids in the spirochete’s membrane absorb the stain, making the spirochete appear black under a light microscope.

Fluorescent stain is now also used and stains the antibodies that attach to the spirochete. The bacteria are easily seen as brightly-colored spirals under a fluorescence microscope. Labs can also ultracentrifuge a bodily fluid, add a drop of orange dye, and view the sample under a light microscope.

 

Direct observation is timely and therefore costly. It’s also not possible to find out what species of Borrelia bacteria is present based on this method alone. Most experts agree, direct observation is best reserved for post-mortem biopsies.

There are several leading laboratories that specialize in the research and development of tests that detect Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. We work with you to determine the best tests at the best lab for your situation, taking into consideration your current condition, medical history, insurance coverage, and copays. Our goal is to diagnose and treat as efficiently and affordably as possible.

IGeneX is a lab that’s been on the forefront of comprehensive testing for tick-borne illnesses for 25 years. IGeneX has developed several tests that are more sensitive and specific than others on the market. They were the first to identify Borrelia burgdorferi in ticks in California and Babesia microti in New York, Switzerland, and Australia with their patented Fluorescent In-Situ Hybridization (FISH) assay.

 

They were also first to produce a Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever (TBRF) Western Blot test. Relapsing Fever mimics many Lyme disease symptoms. IGeneX is the only lab that accurately provides the correct diagnosis by distinguishing Borrelia that causes Lyme disease from Borrelia that causes TBRF.

 

Other cutting-edge IGeneX tests include the Lyme ImmunoBlot IgM and IgG , which is one of the best tests available for Lyme disease with 98% specificity for IgM and 98.7% for IgG. The sensitivity of the Lyme ImmunoBlot is 90.9% with well-defined samples. It’s able to detect antibodies to major Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato specific antigens from North America and Europe, specifically B. burgdorferi B31, B. burgdorferi 297, B. californiensis, B. mayonii, B. afzelii, B. garinii, B. spielmanii, and B. valaisiana.[1]

 

When the ImmunoBlot is paired with the IGeneX PCR assay, immunofluorescence (IFA) assay, and enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT), the full spectrum of a patient’s immune response to infection as well as the disease stage is determined. We work with you to order the proper collection kits from IGeneX and determine which tests IGeneX will conduct with your sample. Unfortunately, IGenex doesn’t bill insurance except Medicare Part B, so you will probably have to pay out of pocket.

[1]https://igenex.com/press-release/igenex-inc-introduces-new-diagnostic-tests-for-lyme-disease-and-tick-borne-relapsing-fever/

Armin Labs offers laboratory testing for chronic infections caused by tick-borne diseases. Armin specializes  in T-cellular tests (EliSpot), B-cellular tests (IgA, IgM and IgG-antibodies), and NK cell tests (CD57, CD56).

 

The Elispot is designed to eliminate the problems associated with monitoring the effectiveness of treatment. By measuring the activation of T-lymphocytes, the cellular immune response to Borrelia infections, the test provides current activity of both chronic and recent infections.

 

The test is so sensitive that it’s able to detect a single Borrelia burgdorferi-reactive T-cell. It’s 20 to 200 times more sensitive than a standard ELISA with detection levels as low as one cell in 100,000. This level of sensitivity is similar to PCR, but it detects a secreted protein and not the messenger RNA (mRNA). For those reasons, EliSpot should become negative four to eight weeks after successful therapy.

 

Armin Labs also offers the TickPlex assay, which contains a new antigen for round bodies, known persister forms of Borrelia. With a high sensitivity of around 95% and a 98% specificity, TickPlex is superior to comparable immunofluorescence assay (IFA) tests and can be used at all stages of the disease. TickPlex Plus allows for testing of IgG and IgM antibodies for Lyme and several coinfections at the same time while TickPlex Basic only tests for Borrelia burgdorferi.

Vibrant Wellness is a leading science and technology company providing laboratory services through its proprietary silicon microarray platform that enables multiplex testing at an affordable cost. Vibrant’s Tickborne Diseases panel includes direct (DNA) and indirect (antibody) testing for Lyme and its coinfections. The panel includes two tests.

The Vibrant Immunochip test is a qualitative and semiquantitative assay that tests human serum for IgG and IgM antibodies to Anaplasma, Babesia, Bartonella, Borrelia, Ehrlichia, and Rickettsia species. The Immunochip is made from proteins of several Borrelia burgdorferi species, not only B31, which is used by most other Western Blot tests. The second is a real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test that qualitatively detects infectious bacterial DNA of Borrelia and the other coinfections.

Clinical support for both patients and practitioners is included with vibrant testing. You can connect with their team of functionally-trained registered dieticians to help interpret your labs, set health and wellness goals, and make the diet and lifestyle changes recommended by Brio’s Lyme team that are necessary for your healing. Vibrant provides the opportunity for ongoing screening of the microbiome with their Vibrant Gut Zoomer and Pathogens test, which is helpful if you’re taking antibiotics for Lyme disease.

Lyme Disease Treatment

One of the most unfortunate controversies surrounding the growing Lyme disease epidemic is the insistence by the mainstream medical establishment that antibiotics are the only course of effective treatment. Yes, in the early stages of Lyme disease, you can fully recover when treated with antibiotics alone. But for as many as 20% of people, antibiotics don’t work, and the infection becomes chronic.

This is where Brio Medical’s Lyme treatment team stands ready to take your hand, restore your hope that healing is possible, and help you get well. Most people who turn to Brio Medical for natural, non-toxic treatment have failed to respond to one or more courses of antibiotic therapy. If this is you, we welcome you to a natural, non-toxic path to healing.

Brio Medical Center’s treatment philosophy forms the foundation of our mission, values, and service to life — your life. Our guiding principle? The prerequisite to healing is believing you can be healed. At Brio, HOPE is the beginning of successful Lyme disease treatment.

From that place of hope, our Lyme disease treatment strategy is designed to restore your body’s inherent ability to heal itself. We apply a methodical approach that focuses on equalizing inflammation, optimizing immune response, and eradicating infection. We pride our success on the evidence-based application of natural, non-toxic therapies that treat your whole being — body, mind, and spirit —  to achieve holistic healing.

Your treatment outcome is enhanced by our attention to detail in assessing and addressing environmental and genetic factors that affect your health and wellbeing. Genetic predispositions, personal experiences, trauma, attitude, spiritual influences, sleep, exercise, nutrition, stress factors, relationships, community, exposure to pollutants and microorganisms, and the strength or vulnerability of your immune system are all considered essential elements of your personalized treatment plan.

You don’t have to continue to suffer from unrelenting symptoms when antibiotics fail to treat tick-borne illness. Our Lyme disease treatment team has advanced knowledge and clinical expertise to administer powerful detoxification, supplementation, and technological therapies that suppress Lyme and its coinfections, reduce inflammation, restore the microbiome, and regulate immune system dysfunction.

We’ve researched and tested safe, effective therapies that are time tested or stand on the cutting edge of evolutionary healing, elevating Brio Medical as a world leader in Lyme disease treatment. When you make the life-changing decision to enter our program, your personalized treatment plan will include a strategic blend of holistic therapies:

Borrelia bacteria and the use of antibiotics damage the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, which inhibits adequate absorption of vital nutrients from food and oral supplements. Proper nutrition is critical to cellular function, most especially when your immune system is working overtime to heal your body. Intravenous (IV) nutrient therapy revitalizes your body at the cellular level, bypassing the digestive system and delivering vitamins directly into your bloodstream. When administered in high doses only possible with IV therapy, some of these nutrients have proven pharmacological benefits.

 

Intravenous vitamins and minerals were first used by Dr. John Myers in the 1960s for a variety of ailments. The “Myer’s Cocktail,” a blend of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and B vitamins is often used as the base for our nutrient IV treatments, with additives or modifications depending on your unique biochemistry. As a Brio Medical patient, you receive daily IV nutrient therapy to boost your immune system, build your strength, and supply your cells with the deep nourishment needed to correct deficits and restore optimum function.

 

Intravenous nutrient therapy may produce immediate benefits such as increased energy, mental clarity, and feelings of well-being, but it may also cause a detox reaction that leaves you feeling tired or ill. As nutrients flood your cells, toxins are pulled out of tissues and flood your system. This detoxification process is temporary and is accelerated with other detoxification therapies.

Oxygen therapy for the treatment of Lyme disease works by increasing the amount of oxygen your blood carries to damaged tissues. Borrelia is an anaerobic bacteria, meaning it can’t exist in an oxygenated environment, so treatment with oxygen can be quite effective. Our patients report increased mobility with less joint pain, better cognitive function, increased energy, and more restful sleep. Oxygen therapy is primarily available through hyperbaric oxygen therapy and ozone therapy.

 

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is exposure to 100% oxygen using a pressurized chamber that hyper-oxygenates your blood. By breathing air that’s two to three times more pressurized than normal air, oxygen moves through your lungs and into your body, increasing blood oxygen and returning blood gases to normal levels. This helps fight the Borrelia bacteria and stimulates the release of stem cells and growth factors that encourage healing. Typical hyperbaric oxygen therapy sessions are 45 minutes to two hours long and vary based on your condition, response, and tolerance. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is used to support your personalized treatment plan and is administered along with other therapies for maximum benefit.

 

Ozone is a colorless gas made of three atoms of oxygen (O3). This form of oxygen breaks down free radicals, killing microbes and stimulating the immune system. When ozone contacts your blood, it produces more red blood cells and proteins, increasing your body’s oxygen supply. It can also deactivate bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses to disrupt infection.[1] Ozone is administered a few ways. These include intravenous (IV) administration of ozone into your bloodstream, circulation of your blood through a machine that infuses it with ozone and returns it to your body, or the ingestion or application of ozonated water or oils.

[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352003516300260

One of the most unfortunate controversies surrounding the growing Lyme disease epidemic is the insistence by the mainstream medical establishment that antibiotics are the only course of effective treatment. Yes, in the early stages of Lyme disease, you can fully recover when treated with antibiotics alone. But for as many as 20% of people, antibiotics don’t work, and the infection becomes chronic.

This is where Brio Medical’s Lyme treatment team stands ready to take your hand, restore your hope that healing is possible, and help you get well. Most people who turn to Brio Medical for natural, non-toxic treatment have failed to respond to one or more courses of antibiotic therapy. If this is you, we welcome you to a natural, non-toxic path to healing.

Research suggests that antibiotic therapy fails in the treatment of Lyme disease in 10-50% of cases,[1] while patient surveying has reported antibiotic failure from over 90% of respondents.[2] Another study with primates showed Lyme bacteria survived a 28-day course of antibiotics that was given four months after infection,[3] which is when humans are most often treated.

 

There’s little consensus in the medical community about how or why Lyme disease persists after treatment. Because of this, many medical doctors simply don’t know what to do with the continuation or onset of Lyme disease symptoms after treatment. They might tell you there’s nothing more they can do and terminate your care or even suggest a psychological cause for your symptoms.

 

If you find yourself in this position, it might be helpful to know why antibiotics work for some people but not you. When we logically understand what seems puzzling or even unfair, the question turns from “Why me?” to “What now?” To that question, we always answer...alternative, natural, and non-toxic therapies. For more information, learn how Lyme disease is treated at Brio Medical.

[1] https://www.ilads.org/patient-care/ilads-treatment-guidelines/

[2] https://www.lymedisease.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/lymedisease.org-patient-survey-20151.pdf

[3] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171213143613.htm

Glutathione is probably the most important antioxidant your body needs to stay healthy. It plays a role in neutralizing free radicals, removing oxidation agents, eliminating toxins, transporting heavy metals out of the body, boosting other antioxidants, repairing cellular damage, and more.

While your body produces glutathione naturally, it’s rarely sufficient during an infection. Because it’s pivotal to peak metabolic function, glutathione therapy is a staple in almost every Lyme disease treatment plan and is especially helpful to offset the Herxheimer reaction caused when Lyme bacteria is killed.

Glutathione is administered orally, intravenously, or with a nebulizer. Oral glutathione is often mixed with fats called phospholipids in a solution called liposomal glutathione. This mixture increases absorption by preventing the gut from destroying glutathione during digestion and also makes glutathione more palatable.

Intravenous and nebulizer glutathione therapies are significantly more effective because they send glutathione directly into the bloodstream, either with a needle in the vein or through a nebulizer that produces a mist that’s inhaled into the lungs.

Chelation therapy is a standard therapy for metal poisoning and is often used as a complementary detoxification therapy in a Lyme disease treatment protocol if testing reveals metal toxicity or there’s a history of environmental exposure. Heavy metals such as mercury, lead, aluminum, arsenic, and nickel are widely used in industry, agriculture, and technology. They contaminate the air, soil, and water and build up in our body after inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact.

Heavy metal toxicity can lead to inflammation, accumulation of plaque in the blood vessels, immune system dysregulation, mitochondrial and endothelial cell dysfunction, and inability of the body to fight infection. While the exact path of injury is unknown, metals may cause serious system-wide health problems through altered gene expression.[1] 

Chelation binds and removes toxic metals that have accumulated in the tissues with chemical or herbal chelators. Like nutrient and glutathione therapy, chelators can be orally or intravenously administered. Intravenous calcium EDTA is one of the most effective. DMSA, cilantro, and chlorella are common oral chelating agents but are rarely as effective as IV chelation therapy.

Once a chelator is injected into the bloodstream, it circulates and binds to heavy metals. The toxic metals are compiled into a compound that your body filters through your kidneys and releases with urine or a bowel movement. With proper oversight and diagnostics, chelation is incredibly effective at reversing certain functional changes caused by Lyme disease infection.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6160949/

Research suggests that antibiotic therapy fails in the treatment of Lyme disease in 10-50% of cases,[1] while patient surveying has reported antibiotic failure from over 90% of respondents.[2] Another study with primates showed Lyme bacteria survived a 28-day course of antibiotics that was given four months after infection,[3] which is when humans are most often treated.

 

There’s little consensus in the medical community about how or why Lyme disease persists after treatment. Because of this, many medical doctors simply don’t know what to do with the continuation or onset of Lyme disease symptoms after treatment. They might tell you there’s nothing more they can do and terminate your care or even suggest a psychological cause for your symptoms.

 

If you find yourself in this position, it might be helpful to know why antibiotics work for some people but not you. When we logically understand what seems puzzling or even unfair, the question turns from “Why me?” to “What now?” To that question, we always answer...alternative, natural, and non-toxic therapies. For more information, learn how Lyme disease is treated at Brio Medical.

[1] https://www.ilads.org/patient-care/ilads-treatment-guidelines/

[2] https://www.lymedisease.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/lymedisease.org-patient-survey-20151.pdf

[3] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171213143613.htm

In the case of chronic or recurrent Lyme disease, long-term or repeated use of antibiotics is sometimes the only way a person gets relief from burdensome symptoms, even when they fail to eliminate the infection. There are no studies that prove the effectiveness of long-term or repeated antibiotic use in chronic Lyme disease,[1] but some patients contribute remission of their Lyme symptoms to antibiotics. Still, using antibiotics this way is not without dangerous consequences. Long-term or repeated use of antibiotics disrupts the microbiome, the immune system, the beneficial biofilm in the colon, and damages cellular mitochondria, wreaking havoc on your holistic health and well-being.

Borrelia is able to hide amongst other microbes in the microbiome. This makes it difficult to target during treatment, leading to longer courses of antibiotics. But antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria, harming the delicate balance of flora within the microbiome.

This imbalance leaves the beneficial biofilm along the lining of the colon vulnerable to the formation of gaps that allow microbes, proteins, and even food particles to move freely through the intestinal lining, causing issues such as leaky gut and more serious conditions like ulcerative colitis. This leads to increased inflammation and food sensitivities while further impairing the strength and function of the immune system, providing pathogens such as yeast, parasites, and viruses the opportunity to take root in the body.

There is still so much uncertainty surrounding why antibiotics fail to cure Lyme disease in some patients. But the fact remains that no studies prove long-term antibiotic use is helpful in chronic Lyme disease. Instead, they show serious, even deadly, complications. So, if initial antibiotic use has failed to cure you and you’re debating your next move, please contact our care coordinators to discuss alternative care at Brio Medical Center.

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/postlds/index.html

Borrelia burgdorferi may be one of only a few pathogens that can persist for long periods of time in the body because of its ability to evade the immune system and protect itself from antibiotics. This long-term persistence causes serious immune system dysfunction and chronic inflammation. That inflammation, some scientists say, is the real cause of Lyme disease symptoms.

 

Recent research has identified a Borrelia burgdorferi surface protein, BBA57, that can impair the innate immune system response, which is your body’s first line of defense in the first few hours to days after infection.[1] Failure by the immune system to eliminate Borrelia during this first wave of defense enables the bacteria to spread, clearing the blood and entering tissues.

 

Seven to ten days later, when the immune system is ready to send its second wave of defense through the adaptive immune system, it sends far too many reinforcements to kill the bacteria. This overreaction produces intense inflammation wherever it finds the spirochetes present. Borrelia is killed, according to this theory, but the inflammation remains, causing the continuation and exacerbation of symptoms.

 

Additionally recurrence of the Borrelia infection in the body weeks after the immune response suggests the existence of a secondary defense mechanism, similar to how the human immune system functions. This may be how Lyme is able to persist.

 

While more research is required, chronic Lyme disease may be a chronic inflammatory condition, not a chronic bacterial infection. A major focus of Brio Medical’s Lyme disease treatment protocol is the equalizing of the inflammatory response, which we achieve with natural non-toxic therapies so you can move away from dependence on pharmaceutical drugs with undesirable side effects and unknown long-term consequences to your health.

[1] https://www.pnas.org/content/115/16/E3788

Another suggested cause of antibiotic failure in Lyme disease is the ability of spirochetes to alter gene expression and become dormant when threatened by antibiotics.[1] This alteration causes a subpopulation of persister bacteria that’s no longer susceptible to antibiotics. These Borrelia persisters can change sizes and shapes, depending on the environment, forming into round bodies, L-forms, microcolonies, or biofilm-like clumps.

 

Persisters exist in great numbers within biofilms, and Borrelia can produce biofilm as soon as 24-48 hours after infection.[2] This likely explains why biofilms are known for such antibiotic tolerance that can withstand even aggressive antibiotic assaults.

 

When conditions are favorable, Borrelia can reform back into motile spirochetes to move throughout the body. Antibiotic resistance and recurrence of Lyme disease may be a result of Borrelia spirochetes altering gene expression and hiding within biofilm, but, as with much of Lyme disease research, more studies are needed to confirm these findings and learn how they can be used in prevention and treatment.

[1]https://parasitesandvectors.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13071-019-3495-7#:~:text=Persistence%20only%20occurs%20in%20a,with%20tetracycline%20antibiotics%20%5B49%5D

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6287027/

Over 95% of patients with a chronic illness such as chronic Lyme disease test positive for mycotoxins, the toxic byproducts of mold.[1] Mycotoxins can cause illness directly or suppress the immune system so the body is unable to fight off other infections. At the same time, people with Lyme disease are more susceptible to mycotoxins because their body isn’t functioning normally and is unable to remove them effectively.

 

A genetic predisposition may be responsible for the high prevalence of mycotoxins in Lyme disease patients. This predisposition means the immune system is unable to tag and remove biotoxins, including mycotoxins and Borrelia bacteria, from the body, leading to chronic inflammation and accompanying symptoms.[2] It’s not possible to know which infection occurred first, but when mold is involved in your Lyme disease diagnosis, it’s critical to detox mycotoxins simultaneously.

The most important factor in cleansing mycotoxins from your body is avoidance. Removing yourself from water-damaged buildings, even if it’s your home or workplace is critical. Reexposure initiates the inflammatory response all over and sets back your healing.

 

Binders are then used to remove mycotoxins from the body. Common binders used for mold include activated charcoal, cholestyramine, bentonite clays, and welchol, but chlorella and modified citrus pectin are also effective, depending on the frequency of bowel movements. The elimination pathways must stay open, so report any signs of constipation to your physician.

 

Like Borrelia spirochetes, mycotoxins need to be removed at a cellular level. The Shoemaker protocol for biotoxin illness[3] has been a standard for the system-wide treatment of toxic mold illness, but other physicians are adapting the protocol based on research and clinical observations. Here at Brio Medical, we treat Lyme while removing mycotoxins with natural, non-toxic therapies designed to optimize the immune system so you feel better faster.

 

To aid detoxification, we’ve established strict non-toxic standards at our facilities. During your program, you’ll receive fresh, organic, non-GMO, anti-inflammatory meals with cold-pressed juices and smoothies that leave you satisfied without adding to your body’s toxic load. We know many Lyme patients suffer with intense chemical sensitivities, so we only use green cleaning supplies our patients agree cause little or no reaction

[1] https://globallymealliance.org/mold-mycotoxins-compromising-recovery/

[2] https://www.survivingmold.com/diagnosis

[3] https://www.survivingmold.com/treatment/step-by-step

What Are Lyme Disease Co-infections?

Ticks can carry and transmit more than just Borrelia, the primary pathogen responsible for a Lyme Disease infection. You can get infected with multiple species of bacteria, parasites, viruses, and fungi with a single tick bite. Alternatively, you may have contracted them earlier and carried them unaware, only to have them take advantage of your weakened immune system during a Lyme infection. These coexisting foreign invaders are called co-infections.

The most common co-infections in the United States are borreliosis, babesiosis, Bartonella, anaplasmosis, tick-borne relapsing fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, powassan virus, and tularemia. You may also test positive for mycoplasma, chlamydia, Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus (CMV), human herpes viruses, herpes simplex viruses, and herpes zoster virus, and many others. Depending on your symptoms and health exams, your Brio-care medical team may order tests to confirm any of these when defining your custom treatment protocol.

Babesiosis is a common Lyme disease coinfection. It’s caused by Babesia parasites, most often B. microtia,  which infect red blood cells. Babesia is transmitted by the same ticks that carry Lyme disease, the black-legged tick, but it can also be transmitted during blood transfusions or congenitally from mother to baby. Symptoms of Babesiosis include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, hot flashes, nausea, dark urine, and more. It becomes serious with the onset of thrombocytopenia, disseminated intravascular coagulation, hemodynamic instability, acute respiratory distress, renal failure, hepatic compromise, and altered mental status.

Bartonella is a bacteria that invades red blood cells and blood vessel lining. Inside these cells, it evades the immune system response, leading to persistent infection.

Bartonellosis is one of Lyme’s most serious coinfections, producing symptoms that include headache, fatigue, swollen glands, and a streaked rash in the early stages.

Neurological symptoms are common, including encephalopathy, a form of brain damage or disease that may lead to seizures.

Cognitive dysfunction and central nervous system lesions sometimes occur. Bartonella is the cause of more serious conditions, including cat scratch disease, Carrion’s disease, and trench fever.

Anaplasmosis is caused by the bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilum. Fever, chills, muscle aches, brain fog, and headache are common symptoms, but bleeding issues, organ failure, and respiratory failure can occur in the later stages of the illness. While nearly every infection causes white blood cells to increase, white blood cells go down with anaplasmosis. Elevated liver enzymes and low platelets are other diagnostic indicators of infection.

Tick-borne relapsing fever is a bacterial infection that can cause fever that comes and goes, headache, muscle pain, joint aches, and nausea. The fever pattern is often characterized by three days with high fever followed by seven days without fever and another three days with a fever. If left untreated, this cycle continues. TBRF is usually carried by soft ticks who nest near rodent dens and come out at night to feed on the host, similar to bed bugs. Exposure often occurs in remote cabins in the western United States, where the ticks live in the walls or attic. Another form of TBRF, Borrelia miyamotoi disease, is known as “hard tick relapsing fever,” as the black-legged tick, which has a hard body, transmits B. miyamotoi.

 

Ehrlichiosis is an umbrella term for the diseases caused by the bacteria Ehrlichia chaffeensis, E. ewingii, or E. muris eauclairensis. Spread by both the black-legged tick and lone star tick, symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, headache, and upset stomach. Transmission by blood transfusion and organ transplant have also occurred. About one-third of people develop a rash that begins five days after the onset of fever and appears as either red splotches or dots. Late-stage ehrlichiosis can cause inflammation of the brain and surrounding tissue (meningoencephalitis), uncontrolled bleeding, and respiratory or organ failure. 

Powassan virus is still considered rare, although reported cases have increased in recent years. Ticks contract the virus from rodents that carry it in their blood. Infected ticks transmit Powassan to humans during a bite, but ticks cannot contract it from humans, as we do not develop high enough levels of the virus. Therefore, humans are considered “dead-end” hosts for the Powassan virus. Some people never show symptoms, but the onset of illness usually occurs from one week to one month after the bite, causing fever, headache, weakness, and vomiting. As the virus spreads, it may infect the brain (encephalitis) or the tissue around the brain and spinal cord (meningitis). Advanced symptoms include loss of coordination, confusion, difficulty speaking, and seizures, as well as chronic headaches, loss of muscle mass and strength, and memory issues. Unfortunately, one out of ten with severe Powassan virus will lose their life.

Tularemia is an infection caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis that affects the eyes, skin, lungs, and lymph nodes. Also known as deer fly fever or rabbit fever, there are several subsets of Tularemia with distinctive symptoms that typically show up between three and five days after exposure and often include ulcers.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is a bacterial infection characterized by fever, headache, and rash. It can be deadly if not treated early and accurately. The rash often develops on the soles of the feet and hands two to four days after the onset of fever and later spreads to other areas of the body. The rash may appear as pinpoint spots or larger red splotches. After recovery, patients could be left with paralysis, mental disability, hearing loss, or permanent damage to the blood vessels, leading to amputation of fingers, toes, arms, or legs.

As Lyme Disease symptoms, co-infections, and mycotoxins overlap, there is much difficulty in identifying the root cause of particular symptoms without targeted laboratory testing to determine what infection or multiple infections are present. Unfortunately, it’s not yet standard protocol in the mainstream medical community to test for co-infections unless there’s a positive Lyme disease test. But it’s absolutely possible to have one or more of these co-infections without having Lyme disease.

That is exactly why Brio Medical Center partners with cutting-edge laboratories worldwide that make tick-borne illness their business. These laboratories provide answers you need through research and development initiatives that produce precision tests for Borrelia and its coinfections. By analyzing your test results, we’re able to determine the root cause of your condition and create a customized treatment plan with proven therapies that’ll restore your vigor and get you back to feeling like your best self again.

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