If you’re like me, you want to know the latest scoop on what scientists are learning about Lyme disease. In this May 2013 interview we hear again from pathologist Alan MacDonald. (This interview is part 2 of a 3-part series, see the first one here). I’ve noted some key points you can jump to if you don’t have time to view the entire interview.
Meet Dr. Alan MacDonald. Okay, so he’s a little wonky when he goes into the scientific details—he’s a pathologist. But remember, those details speak to his credibility. And in this July 2013 YouTube video, he serves up some excellent big-picture explanations that we can all understand.
You might be surprised by some of the details he offers in a variety of areas, including these (keep your cursor on the bottom of the screen to keep minutes visible and zoom to these highlights):
- what we can learn from syphilis as it relates to its “cousin” Lyme (4:00)
- how Lyme infects just about any part of the human body (6:15)
- what MacDonald found when studying the brains of people who had dementia (8:19)
- how the current U.S. Lyme test is based on only one strain, although there are at least 100 known here—and more in Europe (8:28)
The ongoing work of dedicated researchers like Dr. MacDonald is critical to filling the holes in current knowledge about Lyme disease.
Credit: ashroc’s flickr stream
Coping with persistent Lyme—or any serious illness that goes on for a long time—often becomes a part-time or even full-time job.
With so many medical appointments and medications to keep track of, not to mention feeling rotten, you might be letting some important things slide.
Here’s a reminder of items to put on your calendar:
- Dental check-up and cleaning. See your dentist once a year; neglecting your teeth could cost you in the long run. Your dentist not only catches problems with your teeth before they reach a crisis stage, but checks for mouth cancer as well. Untreated gum disease can lead to the loss of your teeth; studies suggest it may cause strokes or heart attacks.
- Colonoscopy. The schedule varies depending on your age, race, and family history. Colon cancer may not cause symptoms until it is pretty advanced. Don’t take chances.
- Annual skin check—or an immediate appointment if you see something suspicious. Skin cancer rates are higher than those for any other form of cancer. A dermatologist can readily recognize both dangerous skin cancers and potential troublemakers, hopefully catching them before they spread. This infographic from the American Cancer Society tells the story.
- Gynecological/Prostate exam. Okay, so no woman or man looks forward to these appointments. But getting checked out sure beats the life-threatening alternative.
- Eye exam. See your doctor at least every two years for things like macular degeneration and glaucoma (yearly if over 60) and be sure to alert the doc to your lyme infection, which may impact your eyes.
And don’t forget your annual physical. Your Lyme literate doctor is covering a lot of bases, and may well catch something amiss that’s not related to tick-borne infections.
Nonetheless, it’s important to maintain appointments with your primary care physician, who goes through an exam with a fresh eye and check basics like cholesterol. Put your general practitioner and Lyme doctor in touch to ensure that your care is complete.