In this interview, I discuss the taboo and controversial nature of Lyme Disease in Canada with microbiologist Marianne Middelveen.
Middelveen is a principle author and co-author of a number of peer-reviewed studies related to Lyme Disease and a strange symptom that can accompany the infection: Morgellons Disease.
Lyme Disease is described as a bacterial infection caused by a group of organisms that are spiral-shaped in culture, called spirochetes. They are from the genus Borrelia which is spread by both hard and soft-bodied ticks.
As a Lyme sufferer herself, Middelveen was unable to have her affliction recognized by anyone in the Canadian medical system due to what she refers to as a “defective 2-tier test.”
The issue is polarized in that one side believes that the stringent Canadian testing is effective and that persistent Lyme infection – despite 2, 4 or 6 weeks of antibiotics – does not exist.
Since “each person can be affected by Lyme Disease in a unique, individual way,” says Middelveen, “it depends on what tissues that spirochete is infecting.”
Typical afflictions include neurological, heart and joint problems.
After connecting with a veterinarian who found strange filaments in skin lesions on cattle, Middelveen wanted to investigate them and compare them with what she knew about Morgellons’s Disease.
Morgellon’s is the presence of embedded fibres (filaments) in calluses within the skin. Based on Middelveen’s research, the symptom always coincides with a Borrelia infection.
Until that connection was determined, doctors disregarded these patients as delusional and continued to treat them with antipsychotic medication.
Examining that tissue under a microscope has allowed Middelveen to conclusively determine that there is a spirochetal infection in that tissue where hair-like structures are “produced by the human body, general collagen and keratin… I can see the point of origin. They originate from the dermis or the epidermis and I can see the base of attachment,” Middelveen asserts.
Although the CDC disagrees with the stance that Morgellon’s Disease is a legitimate disease, Middelveen has shown extensively that their study was poorly conducted. “Their patient selection was faulty,” Middelveen continues, “and their methods for looking at Borrelia infection stem back to controversial Lyme testing. Those tests are not sensitive enough.”
Middelveen hopes that “Doctors would actually look at some of these lesions and not just dismiss the patients and call them delusional.”
“If there is a true observation then there’s obviously not a delusion.”
Anyone looking for additional information can find resources on the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation, Charles E. Holman Foundation, International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society and Lyme Disease.org.