Richard Horowitz, MD, and his wife, the lovely Lee, kicked off the weekend conference “Beyond Lyme & Other Chronic Illnesses: Reclaiming Your Health and Well-Being,” on the evening of Friday, December 4th. It was “healing with the Horowitz’s” at it’s finest.

We huddled eagerly–my girlfriend Dana and I among fifty or so professionals and patients–in the Sunset Room at the world renowned Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, founded on the teachings and principles of Swami Kripalu, for a weekend of  both retreat and research.

That evening, Dr. Horowitz and Lee established the foundation for the next few days, including first grounding us all in meditation and blessings from their years studying Tibetan Buddhism. It was science meets spiritualism in scenic and secluded Stockbridge, MA.

Second that evening, they established Hope. Dr. Horowitz and Ying Zhang from John Hopkins, it seems, are on the verge of a breakthrough. Using mycobacterium drugs–like those used in leprosy and tuberculosis–in hope of cleverly and mercilessily attack the four main persisters: Borrelia, Babesia, Bartonella and mycoplasma. As Dr. Horowitz explains, he is typically successful in getting 92% of his patients better. But there is an “8%” that are the most difficult to treat. Could this breakthrough break the code for closing in on the 8% of people that are most difficult to get better? It could. I’ll never forget those chilling yet cheerful words: “We are closing in on the 8%,” Dr. Horowitz whispered.

It works like this. Dr. Horowitz first combines 2-3 intracellular antibiotics to reach the persister bacteria hiding in cells. This would be the “triple persister” cocktail. Then he pulses with a cellular antibiotic. This pulsing has been shown to be effective based on the incredible work of professor and researcher Kim Lewis of Northeastern University. Dr. Horowitz has found this regimen to be very successful for people who continue to have symptoms or relapses. BUT FURTHERMORE, he has now found with  the help of the work from Dr. Zhang that adding dapsone (pyrazinamide) to this regimen for the most difficult of cases…could be THE key to perishing the persisters for once and for all. Dapsone being that potential mycobacterium super drug used against Tuberculosis and leprosy.

Dapsone, or prazinamide, targets tuberculosis bacteria that have become “persisters,” which don’t respond to typical antibiotics. Zhang and Horowitz’s hunch that this will also work to combat “persister” bacteria associated with lyme and co-infections…has been promising. Very promising. And it is likely that Dr. Horowitz will publish work being conducted on his patients in the upcoming year. For more on the work being conducted by Dr. Kim Lewis and Dr. Zhang, read here:

Dr. Lewis:

http://www.northeastern.edu/news/2015/06/researchers-discovery-may-explain-difficulty-in-treating-lyme-disease/

Dr. Zhang:

http://beforeitsnews.com/health/2015/10/lyme-disease-persister-drugs-dr-ying-zhang-2593390.html

http://magazine.jhsph.edu/2013/fall/news-briefs/two-takes-on-lyme/

http://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2014/new-test-shows-promise-in-identifying-new-drugs%20to-treat-lyme-disease.html

Remember, however, that based on Dr. Horowitz’s own experience, about “92%” can get better with the approach of “hitting all targets” and combining antibiotics that work on the spirochete, cell-wall deficient (or “L-form”) and cyst forms of Borrelia. To help understand what that means, the first link below provides a table comparing Borrelia’s multiple forms, and the second link below provides a helpful overview regarding which antibiotics target which different forms.

Overview of different forms of Borrelia:

http://www.lymebook.com/top10forms

Overview of antibiotics that attack different forms:

http://www.treatlyme.net/treat-lyme-book/kills-lyme-germs-a-brief-antibiotic-guide

AND specific examples of some of Dr. Horowitz’s favorite combinations for attacking the various forms of Lyme (as well as co-infections like bartonella and mycoplasma) are shown in the pictures below.

KripaluLyme

KripaluBartonella

Photo credits: My friend and kripalu roomie Dana

Third that evening,  they discussed the “How & Why” of so many becoming sick with Lyme and co-infections. 1) A decrease in the fox population, and an increase in the mice population. 2) Climate change: ticks are emerging at least 3 weeks early forcing legislators to consider making APRIL Lyme Awareness month, not May! 3) Migrating birds: It’s why the Lone Star tick is now an unwanted visitor found in the eastern U.S. (a lone star tick can detect body heat and carbon dioxide from 15 feet away and will actively and aggressively move towards the source!) 4) It is now known that infected tick mothers pass infections, such as Borellia miyamotoi, to their offspring 5) Blood transfusions (4 out of 1,000 blood transfusions are now believed to transmit babesia), sexual transmission and maternal transmission to a fetus 6) Constant discovery of new borrelia species in addition to new co-infections 7) Continued lack of a gold standard for diagnostics and diagnostics that can adequately detect over 300 borrelia species world wide (and that can do so within the first 30 days of infection) 8) The reality of persisters, bacteria that persist despite antibiotic treatment and 9) Healthcare politics.

And lastly, Dr. Horowitz discussed what lay on the Horizon. The world, he explained, has included Lyme in a list of emerging pandemic disease, joining the likes of Ebola, West Nile and Dengue. All a threat to global health and world economics. Surely with this type of “recognition” will come a sense of urgency and a plan for action. Optimistically, Dr. Horowitz explains that he already feels that little by little, things are starting to “shift” in the diagnostics world. There is a new or soon to be new “C6 Elisa Test” that picks up more strains of Borrelia than current Elisas.  Regarding the Western blot, more and more are starting to realize that that just having ONE band is enough for a clinical diagnosis of Lyme disease, if other diseases have been ruled out. And the last shift that needs to be made, he indicates, is evolution of the PCR test to address additional strains of Borrelia, especially the strains that make people the most sick.

It was both enlightening and exhausting to be exposed to all of this information in our first evening at the Kripalu conference. Dana and I headed to our 9 p.m. massages. Our minds were ready for deep relaxation and deep reflection after all that we had heard. Our bodies were ready for the nurturing of healing touch. And we wondered where our dreams would take us, as we realized the irony of the fearful questions and curiosities swirling in our heads against the calmness of Kripalu and the confidence with which Dr. Horowitz spoke of the future.

DISCLAIMER: Lymewhisper makes every effort to accurately take and reflect notes, but makes no guarantee that information was perfectly captured or understood (which would be a feat even for someone without lyme brain) For that reason, I want to point you to Dr. Horowitz’s website where you can find out more about his book which has ALL the info you need at www.cangetbetter.com.