Thursday, January 20, 2011

Real disease or medical myth?

In an era when most journalists simply re-write press releases (or simply cut and paste them) or report on a politicians latest tweet it is refreshing to find an article where a journalist appears to have actually done his homework and done some, gasp, journalism.

This article,  Chronic Lyme disease: A dubious diagnosis, was in the Herald-Review last month and is well worth a read. What do you think?

Lyme disease is real. The bacterial infection, chiefly transmitted by deer ticks, can cause rashes, swollen joints and inflamed nerves and usually is curable with a round of antibiotics.

But doctors around the country are telling patients with common medical problems such as back pain, poor concentration and fatigue that their ailments all stem from a chronic form of Lyme disease that can evade standard treatment and wreak havoc for years. To fight what they believe is a persistent infection, the doctors often order months or years of intravenous antibiotics, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Strong evidence isn't on their side. But in a golden age of dubious medicine, that doesn't matter.

These days, advocates can raise big money to ``Unmask A Cure'' for a disease that already has a cure, and doctors disciplined by medical boards are held up as heroes. State legislatures around the country are passing laws to prevent medical boards from disciplining doctors who treat chronic Lyme with therapies that clinical trials have shown are dangerous and don't work.

Read the whole article.

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