Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lyme Disease Potential

In class we have discussed the wide variety of symptoms that are associated with Lyme disease, which is why the disease is known in the medical community as "The Great Imitator". This ESPN article from 2005 tells the story of Florida State University quarterback Wyatt Sexton, who sought out an extra year of eligibility after being hit with a particularly debilitating case of Lyme disease. Sexton contracted Lyme disease and was not immediately diagnosed due to the vague symptoms he initially showed, but the advanced stage of the disease led to severe neurological harm that some suspected was drug abuse. The potential harm of the disease is demonstrated in this incident:
On June 14, the 20-year-old Sexton was doused by pepper spray and taken to a hospital after he was found lying in the street and identifying himself as God. His parents released a statement two days later that said drug abuse was not the problem.

The inflammation to his brain caused by the disease led to increasingly erratic behavior, and his doctor prescribed intensive antibiotic therapy which lasted several months. Sadly, Sexton never played another down for the Florida State Seminoles.

British author Alex Wade had his own journey with Lyme disease. The disease is not very common in the UK and as the author himself put it in this article in The Times, "not very many doctors here know about it". Unfortunately for Mr. Wade, not only had he contracted Lyme disease, but he also was suffering from cervical myelopathy, a degenerative narrowing of the spinal cord. He had extreme symptoms such as electric sensations coursing throughout his body, headaches, and an inability to coordinate his muscle movements. It did not help that his Lyme disease nearly prevented him from getting a corrective surgery for cervical myelopathy and could have potentially exacerbated his symptoms. Tragically, even after getting his surgery, the antibiotic treatments (in this case, doxycycline) he received could not completely ward of the Lyme disease which he tested positive for 3 separate times. It appears that he has a chronic case of Lyme disease, and he references the documentary Under the Skin, which proposes chronic Lyme is a hidden epidemic surrounded by uncertainty and misinformation to the public because of corruption and greed in the medical community.

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