Lyme Disease: The Cause, the Cure, the Controversy

Lyme Disease: The Cause, the Cure, the Controversy

by Alan G. Barbour
     
 

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Lyme disease is one of the least understood of the new diseases—and one of the most dreaded. Because undiagnosed or untreated Lyme disease can pose serious health threats, people who develop symptoms such as joint pain and tiredness worry that they may have chronic Lyme disease. Even people with confirmed acute Lyme disease worry that the treatment they're

Overview

Lyme disease is one of the least understood of the new diseases—and one of the most dreaded. Because undiagnosed or untreated Lyme disease can pose serious health threats, people who develop symptoms such as joint pain and tiredness worry that they may have chronic Lyme disease. Even people with confirmed acute Lyme disease worry that the treatment they're getting won't cure the disease and that it may reappear later in a more debilitating form. These fears are made worse by the well-publicized uncertainties surrounding diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

In this book, noted Lyme disease researcher and clinician Alan Barbour presents a comprehensive and even-handed discussion of what we know about the disease and offers medical science's current thinking about its more controversial aspects. Throughout the book, Dr. Barbour uses the stories of four "patients" to illustrate the varying course of the disease in different individuals and under different circumstances. A fifth "patient" stands as the model for people who, in the absence of a clear diagnosis, remain convinced that Lyme disease explains their symptoms—and as a result suffer for too long without appropriate treatment for what's really ailing them.

Including illustrations of ticks and the rashes caused by their bites, as well as maps showing the worldwide distribution of Lyme disease and the relative risk of the disease across the United States, the book offers a wealth of useful information for patients, family members and caregivers, and those who live, work, and play in high-risk areas:

Explains how Lyme disease is spread, and who is at risk Describes the symptoms and consequences of Lyme disease, from the rash following a tick bite to the most serious complications, such as infection of the nervous system, joints, and heart Describes all the diagnostic tests for Lyme disease and explains what the test results mean Compares Lyme disease with other conditions, such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, and explains why they are often mistaken for Lyme disease Presents a compassionate and convincing discussion of depression, which is often the correct diagnosis for a patient who clings to a diagnosis of Lyme disease despite repeated negative diagnostic tests Carefully explains proven and unproven treatments, and summarizes the debates about antibiotic and other treatments Outlines what individuals can do to avoid getting Lyme disease as well as what the community can do to reduce the number of Lyme-carrying ticks

Here at last is an intelligent and interesting guide for patients, as well as an insider's tour of medical science. The author includes an explanation of how the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium was discovered in the laboratory and how it was first connected with the disease, a fascinating account of modern medical detective work.

Johns Hopkins University Press

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Although Lyme disease is named for a town in Connecticut, the first recorded case occurred in Europe at the turn of the century. The incidence has been rising since the 1970s, due partially to increased awareness and partially to the fact that it is a fashionable diagnosis for unexplained symptoms. This book by a physician doing research on the disease is an objective, comprehensive, up-to-date source that explains the epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease using case histories to illustrate the symptoms and problems associated with it. Barbour shows how antibiotics and laboratory tests work and why they are not always useful and/or accurate. He discusses the differing opinions about chronic Lyme disease and other conditions such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that have similar symptoms. He tells us why this disease is not a major public health threat (it's confined to certain areas and victims have to be bitten by an infected tick) and offers advice on preventing it. Illustrations of ticks and rashes, maps showing the worldwide distribution of Lyme Disease, and a list of American and international agencies complete the text. While Polly Murray's The Widening Circle (LJ 2/15/96) offers a personal and historical perspective on Lyme, this book is full of current scientific information. Highly recommended for all health collections.Barbara M. Bibel, Oakland P.L., Cal.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801852459
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
04/01/1996
Series:
A Johns Hopkins Press Health Book Series
Pages:
284
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.64(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Brian Schwartz

I am aware of no other book on Lyme disease with this degree of coverage for the general public. Dr. Barbour offers important advice about understanding and preventing the disease and he comments on a variety of interesting issues, including some of the controversial questions surrounding diagnosis and treatment.

Meet the Author

Alan G. Barbour, M.D., is a professor of medicine and microbiology at the University of California Irvine College of Medicine. He is co-discoverer of the cause of Lyme disease and one of the developers of the Lyme disease vaccine.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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