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The most reliable tests are the Western Blot blood test; the antibody assay for Bb by Igenex Labs, the RIBb test (Rapid Identification of Bb) by Dr. Whitaker, and Dr. Mattman's culture test using live cultures done under a fluorescent microscope. It has to be understood though, that these are still not 100% reliable, but are the best currently available. Many doctors are following the diagnostic protocol of doing a Lyme titre or ELISA test, which are not accurate. IGeneX has multiple means of testing for this, as well as for similar tick-borne diseases like Babeosis, Ehrlichia, Bartonella and Rickettsia.
It is important to understand the nature of the Bb organism. Bb can change its shape from a spiral to a filament, cyst, granule, hooked rod or elbow. These variants are called L-forms, a name given by the Lister Institute where they were first studied. These L-forms are also called cell-wall deficient (CWD) bacteria taking the non-spiral shape when they have lost much of the cell wall. In this form they do not produce an antibody response, as they have no cell wall, making it impossible for the individual’s immune system to respond. Classic L-forms are active metabolism centers for the production of CWD pleomorphic organisms (Bb). In this form they are able to hide within most tissues in the body, thus protecting them from any host response adverse to their well-being. CWD organisms can revert to typical morphology and may revert into adult forms. For this reason most of the diagnostic tests, i.e. ELISA and Western Blot, which depend on the production of antibodies, are inadequate. Much like the hepatitis model, antigen is present early after initial infection. Later, there is an antibody response in about seventy percent of patients. Tests that look for antibody response will not support an early diagnosis, nor reliably confirm presence of the disease.
After finding that there were few accurate tests for Bb, Eleanor Fort, a medical laboratory technologist, with a long history of research involvement in pediatric hematology / oncology and Jo Anne Whittaker, MD developed a Rapid Identification Profile (RIBb©) for the Lyme organism. The method uses a fluorescent antibody technique on whole blood and is noteworthy for sensitivity and for the brief time required to complete the test (less than 60 minutes).
The accuracy of this method was tested in two other laboratories with identical results. In addition, they look at a concentrated suspension of red and white blood cells (rather than a routine blood smear) to identify the co-infections associated with Lyme disease (Ehrlichia in the white blood cell and the parasite Babesia in the red blood cell). Occasionally, they see all three infections in the same individual - Bb, Ehrlichia, and Babesia. All of these patients have definite abnormal peripheral red blood cell morphology. This is noteworthy, as all require different treatment.
The RIBb test has been further refined. They are currently doing Quantitative Rapid Identification of Borrelia burgdorferi (Q-RIBb©). This process provides a quantitative titration (serial dilution) method of detecting the antigen in a fluid sample of a subject. The test is considered positive for Lyme disease upon detection of brightly fluorescent antigen-antibody complexes. Antibiotics do not affect the test so it is effective whether or not the person being tested is on antibiotics. For Q-RIBb test info contact the Bowen Institute at: 727-937-9077; email: JoAnne@bowen.org; or visit their website at: www.bowen.org.
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Antibody: A type of serum protein (globulin) synthesized by white blood cells of the lymphoid type in response to an antigenic (foreign substance) stimulus. Antibodies are complex substances formed to neutralize or destroy these antigens in the blood. Antibody activity normally fights infection but can be damaging in allergies and a group of diseases that are called autoimmune diseases.
Antigen: A substance, usually protein or protein-sugar complex in nature, which, being foreign to the bloodstream or tissues of an animal, stimulates the formation of specific blood serum antibodies and white blood cell activity. Re-exposure to similar antigen will reactivate the white blood cells and antibody programmed against this specific antigen.
Anti-inflammatory: Reducing inflammation by acting on body mechanisms, without directly acting on the cause of inflammation, e.g., glucocorticoids, aspirin.
Bacteria: Microscopic germs. Some bacteria are "harmful" and can cause disease, while other "friendly" bacteria protect the body from harmful invading organisms.
Cysts: A closed pocket or pouch of tissue; a cyst may form within any tissue in the body and can be filled with air, fluid, pus, or other material. Cysts within the lung generally are air filled, while cysts involving the lymph system or kidneys are fluid filled. Cysts under the skin are benign, extremely common, movable lumps. These may develop as a result of infection, clogging of sebaceous glands, developmental abnormalities or around foreign bodies.
ELISA: (Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay): A test that detects the presence of the AIDS virus or Lyme Disease antibodies.
Hepatitis: Inflammation of the liver usually resulting in jaundice (yellowing of the skin), loss of appetite, stomach discomfort, abnormal liver function, clay-colored stools, and dark urine. May be caused by a bacterial or viral infection, parasitic infestation, alcohol, drugs, toxins or transfusion of incompatible blood. Can be life-threatening. Severe hepatitis may lead to cirrhosis and chronic liver dysfunction.
Immune System: A complex that protects the body from disease organisms and other foreign bodies. The system includes the humoral immune response and the cell-mediated response. The immune system also protects the body from invasion by making local barriers and inflammation.
Metabolism: The chemical processes of living cells in which energy is produced in order to replace and repair tissues and maintain a healthy body. Responsible for the production of energy, biosynthesis of important substances, and degradation of various compounds.
Oncology: The study of cancer.
Parasite: An organism living in or on another organism.
Red Blood Cell: Any of the hemoglobin-containing cells that carry oxygen to the tissues and are responsible for the red color of blood.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: A long-term, destructive connective tissue disease that results from the body rejecting its own tissue cells (autoimmune reaction).
White Blood Cell: (WBC): A blood cell that does not contain hemoglobin: a blood corpuscle responsible for maintaining the body's immune surveillance system against invasion by foreign substances such as viruses or bacteria. White cells become specifically programmed against foreign invaders and work to inactivate and rid the body of a foreign substance. Also known as a leukocyte.