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We don’t have to wait for the CDC to start taking Lyme seriously

To The Daily Sun,

There are more than 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease in the U.S. each year with a significant number of those in New England. We hear of the seriously ill who are dealing with pain and neurological issues severe enough to impact work, school and family life or the extreme cases where people are hospitalized, disabled or bed-ridden. You probably know you should seek medical attention if you are bitten by a deer tick. But unless you have — or a family member has — contracted Lyme you may not have heard of the difficulties patients have in finding a doctor to treat them or getting their insurance company to cover their care.

You may ask yourself, "How do people get so sick?" Doesn't a couple of weeks of antibiotics cure Lyme? And if Lyme is so bad, why don't I hear more from the government or medical experts about Borrelia Burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme can become a formidable foe when it is not treated early. Like syphilis, it is a corkscrew shaped spirochete. Once it bores through your skin it likes to set up camp in your joints, brain, nervous system and heart. As it reproduces it can change its DNA to hide from your immune system. Lyme often takes full advantage of immune system weakness such as allergies, auto-immune conditions or weaknesses caused by high-stress lives fueled by coffee, fast food, sugar and not enough sleep.

When untreated over time it can cause a wide variety of symptoms that mimic other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, MS, ALS, Alzheimer's, or fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome which makes it difficult to diagnose.

But why would people have difficulty finding treatment? We haven't yet learned the most effective way to test for Lyme or to treat persistent Lyme infections. The official CDC guidelines reflect a very conservative approach to testing and treatment that does not work for everyone. This leaves doctors and patients alike in a difficult situation. The CDC guidelines recommend a short-course of antibiotics for all patients: new cases, people who have been undiagnosed for some time, and those for whom treatment has failed before. Most doctors follow the CDC guidelines as they do for other diseases. However, some doctors noticing that not all of their patients get well, seek additional training and treatment options to better help their patients. Some doctors or their family members have experienced persistent Lyme themselves and they may dig even deeper into the latest research and treatments. But even those doctors say we just don't have all the answers about Lyme and we need much better testing and more research to better understand this illness.

The official CDC position is that treatment cannot fail and they therefore do not track the percentage of persistent infections or uncured cases. With the prevalence of Lyme in New Hampshire, it wouldn't take much digging and you would likely find someone in your town that is struggling with persistent Lyme. I have personally been dealing with the disease for nearly three years after an initial two-week course of antibiotics did not kill off all of the bacteria. Six months and a series of escalating symptoms later, my primary care doctor gave me a referral for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis which turned out to be persistent Lyme.

What few people know is that on a national level the decisions about how to define, test for and treat Lyme disease and recommendations for what research to fund are made by a small group of people at the Infectious Disease Society of America. Most of these panel members have ties to insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, vaccine companies or research labs that all have a big financial stake in the outcomes of this work. In the midst of this growing public health crisis, there are physicians who have been working on-the-ground treating hundreds, even thousands of patients and have much to add to what does and does not work.

However, the Infectious-Diseases panel members have used the power of their position to exclude physician input or research that conflicts with their viewpoints. Thus the treatment guidelines remain narrowly focused and do not reflect this growing body of knowledge. This situation leaves physicians and innocent patients — adults and children alike — in limbo without access to the most recent knowledge. Health insurance companies often deny or cut off treatment based on the CDC guidelines and patients with persistent infections are left to pay for what care they are able to find and can afford. Though the CDC does not recognize the chronic Lyme diagnosis, some New Hampshire residents have been rejected for coverage by disability and life insurance companies.

One piece of good news is that with the passing of the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies can no longer refuse to write policies for Lyme patients.

In Lyme, we may have met the perfect enemy. It has a brilliant delivery system in the deer tick which is so tiny it often goes unseen, and that has a painless bite. It adapts easily to the weaknesses in individual immune systems and can present with such complex and changing symptoms that it is easy to think it is something else. It does not care about disagreements in the medical community or battles with insurance companies. It just does what bacteria does best, spread and reproduce, something it is doing very effectively here in New Hampshire. The question is, what are we going to do about it?

We don't have to stand still while waiting for the CDC to act. If you find an attached deer tick, remove it carefully with tweezers and send it to be tested. (No hot matches or Vaseline since it can cause the tick to empty its stomach contents, delivering Borrelia or other infections directly to you.) Testing for the bacterium in ticks is over 99 percent accurate while testing for antibodies in people can produce many false negatives. The University Massachusetts in Amherst is the closest place to send your tick. If you get a bull's-eye rash from a tick bite that equals a positive diagnosis. Make sure you get treated.

New Hampshire doctors can further their training by studying with the International Lyme & Associated Diseases Society to expand their knowledge. New Hampshire Lyme patients can find resources from Lyme 411, a Laconia-based support group.

To help stop the spread of this infection, the state of New Hampshire could offer free tick testing, track persistent infection numbers (including the number of people who have become disabled, or taken leaves of absence from work or school) in order to better understand how this disease is impacting New Hampshire residents. Finally, the state of New Hampshire, on behalf of New Hampshire residents, could press for better national policy and more research. If we focus on public health as a top priority, we will find ways to better prevent and treat this infectious disease.

Cyndi Paulin


Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 April 2014 10:09

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Putin respects power, but thanks to Obama, we have none

To The Daily Sun,

In last Friday's Letters to the Editor, I find fellow townie, Henry, telling everyone to check out a report on MSNBC. Right, that's his idea of an unbiased, honest source of news and information. Personally I think it a swamp of foul-mouthed, hate-mongering, jerks. Just my opinion, but they just have to keep firing one after another of their anchors and hosts because of this.

Now what I really want to write about is Russia taking over the Ukraine. Yes so far it's only the Crimea. But just wait. No way Obama and crew could have seen this coming, right? So how come Sara Palan did a few years ago? Be that as it may, what is Obama going to do about it? Nothing.

He can't do a thing. Why? Because Europe is dependent on Russian oil, while Obama and progressives do everything in their power to keep America from being able to compete on the world's oil market.

Readers, oil was called "black gold" for a reason. It's a commodity just like any other commodity and creates wealth. Wealth creates power, and power is influence. Influence can shape world events like whether Putin can invade and subjugate the Ukraine. Well that ship has already left. Putin has power Obama none.

Sure we have the finest military in the world. The problem is we have no options politically. What progressives do, and have always done, is create an all-or-nothing, option-wise, situation for us here in the U.S. They did it before World War I , they did it before World War II, and after Vietnam and they have done and are doing it again.

Reality is, despots like Putin, respect only power and are swayed only by power and can be deterred only by power. Power used properly can prevent wars, lack of power invites wars. Progressives have never learned that history lesson maybe because they spend so much time revising history to suit their personal agenda.

All this just goes to show what we conservatives have been saying all along, Obama is unfit to be our president. He had no experience in business, banking, management, foreign affairs, plus he had zero accomplishments in his state government, the U.S. Senate nothing to recommend him. So how, and why, is he our president? Because liberals were so excited to elect the first black president they voted for the color of his skin, instead of the content of his character. And they call us racists?

Steve Earle


Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 April 2014 10:04

Hits: 154

Rich create jobs? Make sure you cook the crow before you eat it

To The Daily Sun,

In reference to Tony Boutin's letter published March 29, I would like to thank him for making me laugh out loud harder than in a long time.

The letter he wrote confirms what I have long known: He can write, but he cannot read. Perhaps someone will read my past letters he refers to and explain to him how badly he misread them. He acknowledged my statement on brains so, Tony, get out of your La-Z-Boy recliner, go outside and take a deep breath. I hope this will give your brain a chance to function again.

Since the rich create jobs, put it to work, you could have the IRS looking for you. Oh, take that crow out of your mouth, you have to remove feathers and cook it first.This will be my one and only response to anything Tony Boutin has to say.

Henry Osmer


Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 April 2014 09:56

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N.H. renewable energy program does nothing for the environment

To The Daily Sun,

The New Hampshire renewable energy program does nothing more than tax electricity, both residentially and commercially, with absolutely no measurable impact upon our environment.

Our politicians have noticed a massive revenue source exists in the electric sector and are taking full advantage of it through fining electricity companies. Yet, what our politicians are spending this so-called "FINE" money on seems illegal. Tens of millions of dollars that have been collected are not being spent on renewable energy strategies like most would think. They are being directed at other state programs that have nothing to do with energy ... let alone renewable energy. For this reason alone — the states renewable energy policy fails in its reason for existing.

Politicians camouflaging our tax dollars for their intended uses upsets me to my core because I do believe in programs that allow New Hampshire citizens to better insulate their homes, to get better windows, to grab a few solar panels, to upgrade their heating systems, among other things to conserve energy, under a true defined renewable energy program.

New Hampshire residents know better. It's time our politicians understand it, too.

Ray Cunningham


Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 April 2014 09:51

Hits: 165

Republicans are masters at selling to the information-poor

To The Daily Sun,

A month or so ago someone wrote to this forum saying that he thought that racism was no longer an issue in this country. When one reads outrageous statements like that, cognitive ability immediately comes to mind — and that's being very generous. Never mind the black lady that fired a 'warning shot' over the head of her attacker to keep him at bay and the Florida Attorney General is going for a 60 year prison term for her. George Zimmerman (the psychotic) is Scot-free after killing someone. Apparently the "stand your ground" doesn't apply to black people?
I don't know of any sitting president that has been subjected to so much hate and "personal" indignities than the current resident in the White House not only by common variety racists but members of Congress and even sitting governors. They question everything about the president: his religion, his loyalty to this country and even his intelligence which is what Trump is insinuating with his stupid offer of five million dollars for the president to release his college transcripts and application. "Fact Check" doesn't do any good because that's just another liberal conspiracy.
Let's face it. 51 percent of white America is not "comfortable" with someone in the White House that doesn't look like them. They want "their America back" ie someone that looks like them. Well, it's our America too and they're not going to get it back. The demographics are changing in spite of Fox News' 55 to dead network.
They hate Obama, they hate gay people, they hate black people, they hate immigrant Muslims, they hate labor unions, they hate women who want the right to make choices concerning their bodies – they hate them all. And ironically, they hate being called a racist and a bigot. Maybe if they talked about creating jobs more than why they hate gay people we wouldn't call them bigots. Maybe if they talked about black people without automatically assuming they are on food stamps we wouldn't call them racists.
Republicans are masters at selling stuff to their low information constituency. Their basic principle is that rich people shouldn't pay taxes and black people shouldn't vote. They then sell these ideas to their gullible, low information constituency by changing the language. Don't tax rich people becomes "encourage the job creators". Don't let black people vote becomes "clamp down on voter fraud". Poor people become "the takers". Estate taxes become "death taxes". Democrats could learn from them. Actually they've already started by calling national health care the "Affordable Care Act". That's a good start. I don't know why Republicans think they can govern since they hate the government so much. And of course at the top of the pile is Paul Ryan, the Irish American, who uses the same arguments about 'bad culture' of African Americans and their supposed 'laziness' and 'idleness' that were made against his ancestors by eugenicists and race scientists in the United States and Europe.
His Ayn Randian fantasies and twisted understanding of Catholic social justice is an insult to all right thinking Catholics. His 'bad culture' and "lazy" black people thesis doesn't bother to say much about white "bad culture" and white "bad folks" dependence on the federal government which constitute the largest group of poor people in the U.S. and who receive a disproportionate amount of federal assistance. Red State America receives more federal money than any other part of the United States. No, this wouldn't play well with the Tea Party and Libertarians.
More recently another fringe contributor brags about being part of the top 5 percent and how much money his "investments" are bringing in. He's probably collecting Social Security and taking advantage of Medicare — those nasty government giveaways which he will claim he "deserves" for working hard. I have no problem with intelligent conservatives — the ones that realize that change is necessary in order to ward off revolutionary change. My advice to the fringe who belong to the 5 percent is to continue taking government benefits and pipe down about it. Your concern for the other 95 percent is disingenuous at best.

George Maloof




Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 April 2014 09:49

Hits: 255

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