Blood Tests for Lyme

Can We Trust Blood Tests to Diagnose Lyme Disease?

By Dr. Donald Liebell

   The short answer to this question is NO.  It appears that medically accepted blood tests for Lyme are only useful if they're positive

    Sounds odd, doesn't it?

    But is the harsh reality.  If Lyme blood tests come up negative, the result is essentially useless.  The medically accepted Lyme blood tests cannot be trusted. A 2005 Johns Hopkins research study revealed that the conventionally endorsed testing procedure for Lyme disease misses a whopping 75% of positive Lyme cases!  Various ongoing investigations continue to confirm that it is not acceptable to solely rely on blood tests.

    Therefore, if a doctor tells you that Lyme disease has been ruled out by a Western Blot or other Lyme blood test... you are not getting the full story. It is heartbreaking for me to see patient and patient, who were told by another doctor (sometimes decades prior!) that Lyme was "ruled out" by blood tests... so they suffered needlessly, being diagnosed with one different condition after another... taking one drug after another.

    Lyme Diagnosis: No Rash = No Proof

    According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there’s actually only one way to be 100% certain of a correct diagnosis—the only sign or symptom unique to Lyme disease: the “bull’s eye” rash that sometimes follows an infectious tick bite.  It can show up between 3 and 30 days afterwards.  The rash usually lasts between 3 and 5 weeks. Immediate antibiotic treatment upon noticing it might prevent a lifetime of needless suffering. 

    You do NOT need a blood test if you had the rash, since it is the cardinal sign of Lyme disease.  Both the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health urge doctors to diagnose Lyme based on a combination of detailed medical history (including past knowledge of tick bites) and physical exam.  

“Valid laboratory tests can be very helpful but are not generally recommended
when a patient  has Erythema migrans [bull’s eye rash]" -
The Centers for Disease Control

    The problem is that legions of sufferers of chronic pain and illness do not recall a tick bite and/or the characteristic rash.  The infected ticks are tiny and easy to miss— about the size of a poppy seed.  Plus their bite is usually painless!  What sickens me is how frequently patients tell me they went to another doctor years in the past, presenting with a tick bite and a rash… but were NOT given a prescription for antibiotics, and they were told not to worry about it!  This is medical irresponsibility, which can result in a lifetime of suffering and illness.  Doctors prescribe antibiotics with reckless abandon for every cough, cold, earache, sinus drip and fever—for ailments that are most likely viral in origin…“just in case.”  But NOT for suspected Lyme disease.

   This is profoundly disturbing.  And in my opinion, it’s heinous malpractice.

    If you remember (at any time in your life) getting a tick bite and/or seeing a rash similar to the one pictured above... you should seek care with a doctor experienced in helping Lyme patients

    Ignorance is NOT bliss; Ignorance is DISEASE

   The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggest up to 12 times more cases of Lyme exist than are actually reported.  I think it is WAY more common, since the medically established blood tests are often falsely negative.  The diagnostic criteria are very firm.  One must have enough positive “bands” to be diagnosed with Lyme.  Imagine how many people have Lyme disease, but don't know it... thus it's never reported.  

A 2005 Johns Hopkins research study revealed that the conventionally endorsed testing procedure for Lyme disease misses a whopping 75% of positive Lyme cases!

    How can tests this dreadful become medicine’s gold standard” for diagnosis?  

   The tests were designed primarily for statistics rather than diagnosis, and have not been improved.  I often wonder when I see Western Blot results revealing only 2 positive Borrelia bands… does this poor soul only have a little bit of Lyme? 

   Do pregnancy tests come up as “partially pregnant?” 

   The great news, as you will learn later, is with my whole-body, patient-centered treatment approach—it doesn’t matter one bit whether or not you are “officially” diagnosed with Lyme!  The secret is to treat the BODY to strengthen its ability to fight disease itself.

    The recent findings of Virginia's Lyme Task Force appointed by Governor Bob McDonnell suggest that NO blood test is capable of ruling out Lyme disease!

   Diagnosis of chronic Lyme is a matter of a doctor's opinion when there has been no bull's eye rash, nor a positive blood test.  There are several laboratories that perform Lyme blood tests.  LabCorp and IGenex are the most commonly used. Although I will inform and refer patients for blood tests (if they want them), their results have no bearing on my methods of treatment.  Most patients I treat have failed to get well through treatment from other professionals, having been prescribed long-term antibiotics (both with and without positive blood tests). 

   I treat the PERSON... NOT the blood test.

   I treat the PERSON... NOT the Lyme disease.

   I treat the patient's COMPREHENSIVE Health Needs... NOT the Lyme disease.

   Therefore, in my practice's world of Lyme disease, the blood results are not really relevant.  If you are suffering symptoms that can be associated with Lyme disease, your BODY can be treated... your immune system can be bolstered.  Traditional Western medicine (conventional American medicine) is a DISEASE-based health care system.  I am among the minority of doctors who practice WELLNESS-based health care.

   “Do I seek “official” medical diagnosis too?”  Yes—here’s what I do if I suspect Lyme:

•    The Centers for Disease Control’s guidelines state that doctors should diagnose Lyme disease based on case history symptoms, objective physical findings (such as bull’s eye rash, facial palsy, or arthritis), and a history of possible exposure to infected ticks.  This is precisely how I evaluate my patients.  My case history is lengthy, detailed, and specific.  

•    The CDC does NOT consider blood tests as the primary means of diagnosis, but rather a possibly helpful tool. Still I recommend the “standard” blood test, the Western Blot, despite its track record.  How results should be interpreted is a matter of controversy.  We may medically validate that a person’s alleged Fibromyalgia, MS, ALS, neuropathy, ADD, chronic fatigue, etc. is caused by Lyme. 

•    I value a test called CD-57 done by LabCorp.  Although it is not officially designated as diagnostic for Lyme, it can give significant insight to your immune system’s function.  A score of 60 or less (60-360 is normal) may be interpreted as evidence of chronic Lyme. This is because low CD57 counts are NOT associated with MS, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis—diseases for which Lyme is often misdiagnosed!  The FDA does not require approval for the CD57, however it is not officially recognized as diagnostic... without the Western Blot. 

   What a sad state of affairs. 

   I routinely find patients having classic symptoms of chronic Lyme revealing low CD57 counts.  It is a sign that their immune systems are severely impaired.  Fortunately, the means by which I treat my patients have no bearing on an "official" diagnosis of Lyme anyway.  In my practice, there is NO "Lyme controversy."  There's no worries of utilizing dangerous long term drugs, side effects or unregulated supplements.  

How Do I Determine the Appropriate Treatment for Each Patient?

    Auricular Medicine bio-energetic testing is what dictates each patient’s treatment.  Although popular and successful in Europe, I am among 2 or 3 other doctors in the United States correctly utilizing it.  Many people seek my care after they’ve long had a medical diagnosis of Lyme... or if they've been diagnosed and treated for everything BUT Lyme!

    Auricular Medicine is used to figure out the most likely effective homeopathy and ear acupuncture for each patient, as well as nutritional advice.  It is NOT in any manner considered medically diagnostic.  All findings are ENERGETIC, not physical.  My evaluation’s purpose is to figure out what to do to improve your health.  It is a "tool" to customize treatment, rather than giving each person the same thing.  

    It's a free country... you should choose whatever treatment methods make sense to you.

   I neither condemn nor condone those who chose to receive long-term antibiotics as treatment for chronic Lyme disease.  I make choices for my family, my patients, and myself based upon known science, safety, and RESULTS.

    You should make your own choices too.  There shouldn’t be a need for you to feel torn between conventional and alternative medical approaches; they should indeed complement each other.  If anybody wants my help, it will only cost in the hundreds of dollars… not tens of thousands.  There will be no risks of side effects, toxic overload or immune system depression.       

   Staying Clear from the Controversy—and Getting People Healthy

   I’m “Swiss” when it comes to “Lyme wars.”  The politicians, legal authorities, insurance companies, medical boards, pharmaceutical companies, and "Lyme Literate Medical Doctors" can fight their hostile uphill battles. Their polarized disagreements are preventing people from a chance at health and happiness.  They clearly aren't interested in looking into what I am doing for people who suffer chronic Lyme disease and related illness. 

   Traditional or "conventional" medical doctors mostly mock the principles and practices of homeopathic medicine and acupuncture.  After all, the American Medical Association was formed largely to eradicate the safe, effective, and inexpensive practice of homeopathy!  All kinds of acupuncture methods have been safe and effective for thousands of years... yet "traditional" doctors call it "alternative." 

  What an embarrassment. 

   By practicing antibiotic-free methods that are not dependent upon direct diagnosis or treatment of Lyme disease (co-infections and other related symptoms), I stand clear of the controversy—while providing outstanding outcomes.  And I pity chronic Lyme disease sufferers, who choose to continue suffering - putting their faith in the "authorities" in conventional medicine, waiting for them to give the "thumbs up" to wellness-based care.

   I suggest you beware the blood tests... they don't seem to be reliable to diagnose you, and they are equally unreliable to measure progress!  If you're suffering a host of chronic symptoms that cannot be explained by medical testing, chronic Lyme is a legitimate possibility.  

    I'm here to help, and I'll be glad to answer your questions.  You can copy and paste the address above into your email.  I respond to questions in the order I receive them, usually within 48 hours.  My responses are for general information only, and must not be construed as advice for specific medical treatment or diagnosis.  For appointments, please call my office.  Your email address or other information is confidential; I will never share it with anyone, nor will it be used for any form of solicitation.   I look forward to your questions!  

                                              - Dr. Donald Liebell

   Are You Ready for a Realistic Chance to 

Dr. Donald Liebell
D.C., B.C.A.O., B.A.

Licensed by the Virginia Board
of Medicine Since 1993

"My practice is dedicated to helping as many people as possible, who have been victimized by both chronic Lyme disease, as well as our broken "conventional" medical system that barely acknowledges its existence... nor is capable or willing to address.

I have had the privilege to enable people suffering with chronic Lyme disease, "post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome" (and its associated disorders) to become liberated from a "life sentence" of misery... exclusively using drug-free, safe, and affordable treatment methods, which detoxify your body, boost your immune system, and stimulate tissue regeneration"

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