Syndicated Doc-ALS Answer/Help please 
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 Syndicated Doc-ALS Answer/Help please

Fellow Lymies, I need your help please.  I have read articles by Dr. Allen
Douma "The Family Doctor", whose column appears in major newspapers around the
country, which completely overlook the possibility of Lyme disease in his
answers regarding CFS, Parkinson's, and ALS.  He otherwise seems to be a
caring, intelligent person.  Below is his 4/11/99 column.  It is the
dissemination of information such as his answer that causes doctors all over
the country to continue to misdiagnose Lyme disease, and causes people like
myself to have to travel 2,000 miles to get help.  In addition, I think that
this answer highlights two very common misconceptions about Lyme disease: 1)
you must see a tick to have been bitten by one, and 2) you will become ill
right after the bite.  WRONG WRONG WRONG

of a way to get V.B. in Cleveland, Ohio a message, go for it or please e-mail
me.  Thanks.


QUESTION:  In August of 1998, my brother suffered an insect bite to his left
calf.  The bite took more than a month to heal, and soon he began showing
symptoms of amylotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease) - leg
cramping, muscle weakness and slurred speech.  In January, he was diagnosed
with ALS at the Cleveland Clinic.  Could an insect bite cause his symptoms, and
what other diseases should be ruled out before ALS is the only option?  V.B.,
Cleveland, Ohio
ANSWER:  ALS is a devastating muscle disorder that is caused by dysfunctioning
peripheral nerves.  
Without proper stimulation from nerves, muscles weaken, shrink (atrophy) and
can even become paralyzed.  ALS is one of a group of {*filter*} disorders of muscle
stimulation that have in common the progressive deterioration of the motor
nerves, which stimulate muscle activity.  Sensory nerves are not affected by
these disorders.
Sadly, the cause of ALS is unknown, and there is no cure.  The drug riluzole
may slow ALS progression.  Research in the use of other medications is in
progress.  For example, a recent study showed that the amino acid creatine is
helpful in mice with a similar problem.  Otherwise, treatment is limited to
controlling the severity of symptoms, e.g., with physical therapy and
supportive care.
An insect bite can cause neuro-muscular problems.  However, insect bite
symptoms typically are seen relatively quickly and either go away or get much
worse just as quickly.  And there is no evidence that insect bites are the
cause of ALS.
ALS or one of the other disorders of muscle stimulation would be suspected when
the doctor sees progressive muscle weakness without loss of sensation, e.g.,
touch, heat or cold.
Physicians at the Cleveland Clinic have a great reputation.  But if your
brother is not confident in the diagnosis, I recommend that he seek another
opinion, if for no other reason than to meet his emotional needs.

Thu, 27 Sep 2001 03:00:00 GMT
 [ 1 post ] 

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