SAVE THE DATE!
LDA/Columbia 2011 Scientific Conference
Hyatt Penns Landing
October 1-2, 2011
The Lyme Disease Association (LDA) and the University of Medicine & Dentistry of NJ - New Jersey Medical School are pleased to present a new educational video and interactive game for kids to teach them about Lyme disease. To view the video and play the game please visit the LDA website.
A ground breaking study published in PLoS ONE by Steven E. Schutzer and others, including Dr. Brian A. Fallon, Director of the Columbia Lyme Center, reports on the identification of proteins in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that are distinct from proteins found in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with Neurologic Post Treatment Lyme Disease. Not only did these groups differ from each other; both groups could be distinguished from healthy controls based on the proteins in their spinal fluid. Cerebrospinal fluid from Neurologic Post Treatment Lyme Disease patients was obtained as part of a large scale clinical trial of IV antibiotic therapy in Lyme encephalopathy patients reported by Fallon, B et al. in Neurology.
The significance of these findings, for both Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Neurologic Lyme Disease, is that the identification of distinct protein biomarkers in the spinal fluid can lead to better diagnostic tests in people with similar symptoms and ultimately to the identification of treatments that will target specific pathways.
In the December 14, 2010 issue of Internal Medicine News, Dr. Brian Fallon, Director of the Columbia Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center and Dr. John Halperin, Professor of Neurology at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, responded to the question "How will research on neurologic Lyme disease need to change to identify better treatments?" Dr. Fallon proposed a five step approach to advance our understanding: 1) conduct a large prospective study of neurologic Lyme; 2) apply newly developed technologies; 3) create a national repository of clinical specimens; 4) conduct a noninferiority, double-blind, randomized, controlled trial; and 5) test nonantimicrobial therapies. Dr. Halperin believes that research must distinguish between four clinical constructs commonly attributed to nervous system Lyme disease: 1) lymphocytic meningitis and multifocal inflammation of nerves, nerve roots, and the central nervous system; 2) Lyme encephalopathy; 3) posttreatment Lyme disease syndrome; and 4) chronic Lyme disease.
Highlights of the October 2-3, 2010 Lyme Disease Association/Columbia University Scientific Conference, Philadelphia, PA This remarkable two-day conference featured speakers from around the country – representing both basic science and clinical medicine. As in previous years, this conference enabled clinicians, other health care providers and the medically-interested public to learn about the latest research in tick-borne diseases.The speakers generously volunteered their time to participate and the Lyme Disease Association generously provided all administrative back-up and planning.As many speakers presented material that has not yet been published, only information authorized for release by the speakers is summarized. Read the Conference summary.
The peripheral benzodiazepine receptor (PBR) is a potential biomarker in the brain to detect areas of neuroinflammation and injury. Pernilla Schweitzer, a Doris Duke medical student fellow who spent last year at the Columbia Lyme Center, reviewed various radioligands used for imaging PBR in the brain and evaluated their relative effectiveness for clinical research. This review, published in Drug Discovery Today is co-authored by Dr. Brian Fallon, Center Director, and collaborators from the Division of Molecular Imaging and Neuropathology at Columbia, Drs. J. John Mann and J.S. Dileep Kumar.
October 11-12, 2010, Washington DC. At a workshop to analyze the state of science for tick-borne diseases organized by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), doctors and researchers discussed the gaps in knowledge as well as the advances that have been made of late. During the session on "Diagnosis and Management", Dr. Brian Fallon, Director of the Columbia University Lyme Center, emphasized the complete absence of any controlled trials in the NIH portfolio on non-antibiotic therapies for the most disturbing and prevalent chronic symptoms of pain, fatigue, and physical dysfunction; he further urged the funding of treatment trials comparing safer antibiotics and non-antibiotic treatments. More information on this workshop is provided by Nature News.
Dr. Armin Alaedini, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and collaborator of the Columbia University Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center, presented the results of his research at the 135th meeting of the American Neurological Association in San Francisco. Alaedini demonstrated that post-treatment Lyme encephalopathy patients differ from people who recover from Lyme disease and that these differences suggest immunologic abnormalities. Treatment with ceftriaxone did not affect this distinct antibody profile. The patient population for this research was drawn from the Columbia Lyme Center's study of repeated antibiotic therapy for Lyme encephalopathy, published in Neurology in 2008.
Dr Dillard in his health column for the East Hampton Star cites information from the Columbia Lyme Center website and Dr. Fallon in his article 'Lyme Update 2010'. Dr. Dillard is a scheduled speaker for the LDA/Columbia 2010 Lyme Conference in Philadelphia, Oct 2-3. He will speak as part of the 'Clinical Perspective' portion of the program. His talk is entitled 'Acupuncture, Herbs, Nutrition & Other Integrative Medicine Approaches to Managing Chronic Illness'.
On July 16th, Dr. Brian Fallon, Lyme Center Director and Dr. Carolyn Britton, Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology at Columbia Medical Center appeared on the WNYC Leonard Lopate program entitled "Please Explain - Lyme Disease". In this informative program, they discussed the basics of Lyme disease and highlighted issues regarding symptoms, treatment, diagnosis and prevention. You can listen to the broadcast on the WNYC website or download the podcast from itunes. Please join the Columbia Lyme Center community on our FACEBOOK page and let us know your thoughts and comments.
'Lyme & other Tick-Borne Diseases: 34 Years, From Lyme, Connecticut, Across the Nation'
On October 23, 2009, a National Conference for physicians and allied health professionals was held in National Harbor, MD. The conference was co-sponsored by Columbia University and the Lyme Disease Association; Co-Course Directors were Brian A. Fallon, MD and Richard T Marconi, PhD. This educational and networking conference featured many prominent speakers and discussants who shared the latest research on Lyme and other tick-borne diseases: disease distribution, pathogenesis, genetics, vaccine development and treatment. Read a summary of each speaker's presentation
A vital mission of the Columbia Lyme Center is to provide public and professional ediucation about Lyme and other tick borne diseases. The March 2010 Newsletter highlights some of these activities as well as achievements resulting from these endeavors: publication in scientific journals and the submission and receipt of research grants by our trainees.
A new paper 'Inflammation and central nervous system Lyme disease' has just been published in the journal Neurobiology of Disease authored byDr. Brian Fallon, Director of the Columbia Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center, Dr. David Hardesty, Lyme Center Neurologist. and fellows Elizabeth Levin and Pernilla Schweitzer. Neurologic manifestations of Lyme disease occur in 10-15% of individuals with untreated Lyme. This paper discusses the symptoms of neurologic Lyme and reviews experimental studies that provide insight into the possible mechanisms of inflammation following Borrelia infection and contributing risk factors.
A fascinating and potentially very important study has recently come out in the journal Science. The study reports on the discovery that 68% of patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) carry the XMRV virus as compared to 3.7% of those without CFS. Further work reported in the New York Times indicates that the virus has been found in 98% of patients with CFS. The discovery of this retrovirus, if confirmed by other research groups, suggests that this virus is either the cause or an important secondary factor in CFS. This finding has implications for Lyme research as it is possible that patients who carry this virus when co-infected with Lyme go on to have persistent symptoms because: a) of activation of the latent virus; b) infection with Lyme or another tick-borne disease lowers the immune surveillance making the individual more susceptible to "catch" the virus; or c) the presence of the virus and the spirochete together act synergistically to induce an array of illness symptoms or to prevent eradication or control of either organism. In any case, given that the symptoms of CFS are so similar to the symptoms of patients with chronic persistent Lyme symptoms, especially shared problems with fatigue and cognition, research in this area may shed important light on the mechanisms underlying the perpetuation of chronic symptoms. In terms of treatment, if this virus is thought to be causal, then retroviral treatments that are used for treating HIV may be very helpful for patients with chronic persistent symptoms.
The Columbia Lyme Center has had a busy and productive summer.Check out our newsletters for information on our research activities and professional education programs.We have also highlighted some informative recent research by others.
The Columbia Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center will carry out several blood screening surveys in Lyme endemic areas in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut beginning on July 12th in Columbia County, New York. The primary purpose is to collect blood samples to develop better diagnostic tests for Lyme patients at all stages of the illness. The secondary purpose of this study is to examine the blood for indicators (biological markers) that might teach us something about which patients are more likely to have persistent symptoms. MORE INFORMATION
Our June 2009 newsletter features Dr. Fallon's synopsis of his published work and information on upcoming projects. If you want to receive up-to-date information on the Lyme Center's activities, click 'STAY INFORMED'.
The results of research from the Columbia Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center (BA Fallon et al) on patients with persistent Lyme encephalopathy have just been published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. The study demonstrates that measurable neurobiological abnormalities can exist in Lyme disease even after intensive antibiotic treatment.
The Lyme and Tick-borne Diseases Research Center at Columbia University opens (4/30/07).
Established jointly by Time for Lyme, Inc., the Lyme Disease Association, Inc, and the Fellows and Trustees of Columbia University, this Center was first envisioned in 2002 when two non-profit charitable organizations devoted to fighting the scourge of Lyme disease (Time for Lyme, Inc. and Lyme Disease Association) joined forces to raise funds to build a Center at Columbia University. For an article about the problem of Chronic Lyme disease and how it was perceived in the early fund-raising days to establish a Lyme Center, please read "Chronic Lyme Disease – is it or isn't it?" by Jack Lucentini in Columbia Magazine...