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Lyme Disease Diagnosis and Testing


Diagnosis for Lyme Disease Diagnosing Lyme disease can be difficult to say the least. Although tests exist, none are considered accurate enough to be relied upon as the sole diagnostic tool. Therefore, according to the CDC, a diagnosis of Lyme disease is made clinically based primarily on signs and symptoms and a history of possible exposure to infected ticks.

Many doctors consider a bull's-eye rash following a possible tick bite to be diagnostic, and they will treat based on that single symptom. However, since fewer than 50% of people with Lyme disease ever develop the classic bull's-eye rash, other more general symptoms may be the only evidence of infection. (See: Symptoms)

Diagnostic Testing


While diagnostic tests for Lyme disease do exist, they are quite controversial. The standard two-tiered antibody test approved by the FDA and recommended by the CDC has a high rate of false negatives and is thought by many Lyme experts to be only moderately useful. Other types of Lyme tests have varying degrees of reliability, each with its own set of pros and cons.

Although the CDC states that a Lyme disease diagnosis should be made based on symptoms and history, Lyme symptoms mimic so many other diseases that many physicians refuse to treat patients for Lyme disease without laboratory confirmation. Following are the Lyme disease tests currently available.

 

There is no one gold standard test for all Lyme disease infections that is 100% accurate. For this reason, many Lyme-literate doctors diagnose Borrelia and co-infections based upon symptoms, lab tests and unconventional, but sometimes more sophisticated types of alternative testing, such as energetic testing.

Electrodermal screening devices (such as the ZYTO or ASYRA), for instance, use a software program and the body's galvanic skin response to detect energetic imbalances in the body. They can also be used to detect the energetic frequencies of a wide variety of pathogenic microbes, and thereby, the presence of those microbes. A software program connected to a hand cradle or other device scans the body for infections and other imbalances and then displays a report of the different pathogenic organisms that are suspected to be in the body, and at what levels. The ZYTO is considered by many Lyme-literate practitioners, such as Lee Cowden, MD, to be over 90% accurate. Other devices may be more or less accurate.

Applied Kinesiology, or muscle strength testing methods, such as Autonomic Response Testing (ART), which was developed by Lyme-literate physician Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, are another way to test the body for infections using the energy of the human body and the autonomic nervous system. Applied Kinesiology can be very useful for helping to establish a diagnosis.

For ART and some other common muscle testing methods, the practitioner applies strength to one of the patient's muscles (usually the arm), while holding a substance (in this case the energetic signature of, or physical substance of a pathogen) against the patient's body. He or she will then ask the patient to resist. The autonomic nervous system will respond to that substance or pathogen by creating either a strong or weak muscle response in the arm of the person being tested, thereby indicating to the practitioner whether the pathogen is in the body. Accurate results depend largely upon the practitioner's skill and experience, however.

Dr. Klinghardt has trained many practitioners in ART and a list of certified practitioners can be found at the Klinghardt Academy website:www.klinghardtacademy.com.

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Future Possibilities for Diagnostic Tests


Because treatment is more effective in the early stages of Lyme disease, there is a great need to develop simple, fast and accurate tests to determine whether people have been infected. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), "NIAID-supported scientists have identified genome sequences for multiple strains of B. burgdorferi. Greater advances in diagnostics are anticipated as genetic information is combined with advances in microarray technology, imaging, and proteomics. These growing fields of science are expected to lead to improved diagnostic tools as well as provide new insights on the pathogenesis of Lyme disease. Examples of future tools being developed with NIAID support include use of metabolomics to characterize new biomarkers of infection, next generation T-cell based measurements, and novel antigens for improved measurement of effective treatment."

Additional Information:


How to Interpret Your Blood Work (Western Blot)

2012 CDC Webinar Presentation: HHS Federal Research Update on Lyme Disease Diagnostics Activities
Watch the video »
Read the transcript »



Last Updated: 4/27/15
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