Bartonella / Multiple Sclerosis similarities

Medical topics with questions, information and discussion related to Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.
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Bartonella / Multiple Sclerosis similarities

Post by cave76 » Thu 19 Mar 2009 15:14

Medical research benefits local veterinarian suffering from MS
Posted: Monday, Nov 17, 2008 - 08:19:16 am CST
by Margaret Palermo - Staff writer ... /news1.txt

What if you were struggling with a neuromuscular disease that left you pretty much unable to walk or work and kept getting worse, even with treatment?

And then, through an incredible series of coincidences, a diagnosis of a degenerative neuromuscular disease meets up with a bacterium that shows up on a blood test and suddenly your life is handed back to you?

A year ago, local veterinarian John Barnes was facing the possibility of spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair as his body degenerated. He was unable to walk with more than a shuffling pace and found it difficult to work.

It started one day in December of 2004, he said. I was the only one in the house and I woke up about 2 or 3 in the morning with fever and vomiting and thought I had food poisoning, he said. A thermometer pegged his fever at 103, though he said he thought it might have gone higher.

I took a shower and I felt like an octopus on the land, he said describing the weakness accompanying his sudden-onset illness. I felt like I had no bones.

And from that point on, things only got worse. I was a jogger and had been for years, he said. I was jogging and noticed when I went around the third lap of the track, my left leg started to trip a little bit. The next week or two, it was the second lap. I knew I had a problem in one of my neck discs. I thought it was related to that.

He talked to friends who were doctors and they told him he probably had some kind of virus and he should get over it in a couple of months.

But the problem didn't go away. It just kept getting worse. My neurology friends said we better do some testing on you and find out, he said. An MRI and spinal taps were done. It was a fairly clear-cut picture that I had MS.

Treatments for multiple sclerosis were started. We started the typical MS protocol which is interferon shots, said Barnes.

With the interferon, he was having relapses about every six months, something typical with MS. Interferon, he explained, is a maintenance drug for MS, but not a cure.

Then in July 2005, he was talking to a friend who is a world-class veterinary internist at Texas A&M University at College Station about an oncology case they shared. Barnes said his friend was unaware of his medical condition.

She asked how I was doing. I said you know how it is with MS. You have your good days and your bad days, he said.

I started talking to her about it and I made the comment to her that I'm not balking at the diagnosis of MS, but I'm exposed to so many weird things, I would like to know that's all I have.

He said his friend agreed with him and said his timing was perfect because she had a friend who was doing a study.

She gave Barnes an e-mail address for Dr. E.B. Breitschwerdt, co-director of the Vector-Borne Disease Laboratory at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine in Raleigh, N.C.

Breitschwerdt has been working with something called polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, testing which can be used to detect and diagnose bacteria by looking for genes or portions of genes in a patient's sample.

The advantage of PCR testing is that it can be used to amplify any gene that had been identified, speeding up the identification process.

Breitschwerdt also called Barnes' timing perfect and agreed to use him in his study. He drew Bartonella out of my blood, said Barnes, explaining that other types of tests can show that you've been exposed to Bartonella, but not that you currently have the bacteria still active in your body.

Typically, Bartonella is self-limiting, he said. When he drew it out of me the first time, he was working with a Duke University infectious disease guy. Dr. (C.W.) Woods was not excited about me being positive, but said he would test me again in a couple of months. He tested again and it was there again.

Barnes said they wanted to test the second sample to find out what species of Bartonella it was since there are at least a dozen different species of the bacteria.

Then they lost my sample and a bunch of other samples. I was with my neurologist and they were doing some IV-IG therapy and I was undergoing that.

Barnes said the next round of testing his blood for Bartonella had to wait until he finished the IV-IG treatments. Another couple of months go by and they take another sample again and, sure enough, I'm positive again, he said.

This was about April 2007 that Dr. Breitschwerdt saw that my sample was positive, said Barnes. He said the sample turned out to be Bartonella henselae-San Antonio strain. I said great, what do we do? He said we still don't know.

Barnes also has a cardiologist, Dr. Jamil Bitar. I was talking to him about it and he said I should talk to his brother Camil Bitar, who is an infectious disease expert in Louisiana, said Barnes. Dr. Woods is not sure, but he's thinking about an antibiotic protocol.

Barnes talked about the protocol with Dr. Camil Bitar, explaining that it included taking two antibiotics, one of which could have a bad effect on the liver.

We started by the month to see how my liver was doing, he said. I asked him how long should I be on it and Dr. Bitar said until you're well.

That was the first time anyone had ever told me this might make me well and he said absolutely, said Barnes.

I was excited about that part of it, that this could reverse some of my clinical signs. Dr. Bitar agreed that I should stay on the drug as long as I could handle it. I just finished in August 2008.

Barnes said he saw changes in himself from the first month, however. The first month, I could see a change in, believe it or not, the color of my toes, he said. He said his toes had been gray, but regained their normal color.

My fatigue slowly got better, he said. In September of this year, after he had already finished the antibiotic regimen, he discovered he could bring his right leg up past his knee without having to lift it with his hand. By October he could move his legs as if he were jogging.

He shared news of his progress with Dr. John Shudde. Dr. Shudde said 'Simple pleasures are, indeed, the best!' said Barnes.

What Dr. Camil Bitar says, and I agree, is that Bartonella was the trigger for my MS, he said. They don't know what triggers MS. He and I would both agree that I should not go so far as to say I don't have MS. Since they don't know what causes MS is, it's hard to say what's going on.

I think what we have is Bartonella-induced MS. I thank God every day that I'm getting better. I told myself if I don't get any better, if I can't jog again, at least I'm doing better in other things.

The potential for helping others with strange illnesses that could be related to Bartonella is obvious.

What's so exciting to me about this is that we don't know how many people are being undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, said Barnes. At this point, he said, there is no way to know how many problems could be the result of Bartonella.

With diagnostic tests getting better, it is now possible to treat the actual disease rather than just treating symptoms. Dr. Breitschwerdt told me about the dean of a veterinary school who came down with neurologic signs and his 12-year-old daughter had fatigue.

They were tested and they found Bartonella in his spinal fluid and in the girls' blood and in their dog's mouth. They are being treated and doing well, said Barnes.

Of the six research subjects, including Barnes, that Breitschwerdt used in his study, two were veterinarians who reported frequent bites from cats, dogs, pocket pets and other animals, one reported a severe scratch from a cat, one had frequent arthropod exposure and had been bitten by a pig and pecked frequently by various fowl, another owned a horse farm and had frequent arthropod exposure and cat scratches and the sixth was a teenager who developed sever debilitating migraine headaches after a tick was removed from his ankle.

The most exciting thing about Ed's work is the hope which will be instilled in so many, said Barnes.
Last edited by cave76 on Thu 19 Mar 2009 17:27, edited 1 time in total.

Joe Ham
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Bartonella / Multiple Sclerosis similarities

Post by Joe Ham » Thu 19 Mar 2009 17:23

Excellent post Cavey, thank you.
Current readers of this board may appreciate the significance of it.
I changed the subject line just to make it more searchable by topic for newbies yet to come.

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Re: Bartonella / Multiple Sclerosis similarities

Post by kitty9309 » Fri 20 Mar 2009 18:06

Hi. This is one of my first posts here. I am a long time lurker.

I just want to comment on the vet in the article- Dr. E.B. Breitschwerdt. The doctor treating my Lyme sends many specimens to this vet in North Carolina. Dr. Breitschwerdt told him that 50% of the specimens my doctor sends him are positive for Bartonella by his novel growth medium and PCR method.

My doctor just signed up to be the clinical site for the grant this vet just obtained!

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Re: Bartonella / Multiple Sclerosis similarities

Post by Fin24 » Sat 21 Mar 2009 19:43

I changed the subject line just to make it more searchable
by JoeHam

HOW??? are you a moderator here now?? do you have admin capabilities??
or did you just tie Cave up until she relented and edited her own post??

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Re: Bartonella / Multiple Sclerosis similarities

Post by Fin24 » Sat 21 Mar 2009 19:59


will the vet be willing to SHARE what the method and growth medium is so many labs can more quickly study Bartonella or will this be yet another Dr Fry case of one person's methods that cant be reproduced and therefore the studies are not as valid or reliable??

and also who is granting him?? a drug company? the NIH?? that information is important


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Re: Bartonella / Multiple Sclerosis similarities

Post by cave76 » Sat 21 Mar 2009 20:31

Fin asked Porky:
HOW??? are you a moderator here now?? do you have admin capabilities??
or did you just tie Cave up until she relented and edited her own post??
He wishes! LOL Both on the admin capabilities and on me relenting. But he may have the private ear of the admin, which is as good as being one.

Fin, after Porky made the change on his own post, I saw that(wonder of wonders) he'd had a good idea. So I went in and changed mine.

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Re: Bartonella / Multiple Sclerosis similarities

Post by Fin24 » Sat 21 Mar 2009 23:17

sorry for the paranoia--but as they say " if they really are following you..."

so many sites have shadowing amd moderators taking over its a wonder...

thnx for the clarification

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Re: Bartonella / Multiple Sclerosis similarities

Post by kitty9309 » Sun 22 Mar 2009 20:57

""Isolation and Molecular Characterization of Bartonella Species from Sick Humans" Dr. Edward Breitschwerdt (zoonotic study)"

As to the growth medium, I found this. I will ask my doctor more on this. If I spend too much time asking about research info, which we do sometimes, I run out of time for my own questions and exam! ... fBAPGM.pdf

The growth medium is called "Bartonella/alpha-Proteobacteria Growth Medium (BAPGM).

"This media supports the growth of at least seven Bartonella species and facilitates the
detection and isolation of Bartonella species in seven days rather than 7 weeks. Our
results indicate that the pre-enrichment bacterial growth process may increase the
diagnostic sensitivity of Bartonella detection by 50 to 70 times when compared to direct
extraction and PCR amplification from a patient blood sample. By combining preenrichment
culture with a sensitive Bartonella real-time PCR assay, infections with one
or more Bartonella spp. were detected in blood samples from immunocompetent humans
and animals, including dogs, dolphins and horses."

As for how available this growth medium is, I just don't know. I do see an e-mail for Dr. Breitschwerdt. I may try to contact him about this.

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Re: Bartonella / Multiple Sclerosis similarities

Post by kitty9309 » Sun 22 Mar 2009 21:09

"The utilization of BAPGM for the isolation of Bartonella species from naturally infected patients represents an important contribution to worldwide research efforts to enhance the isolation and facilitate the microbiological study of these fastidious bacteria. Further, it appears that similar Bartonella species induce persistent blood-borne infections in humans and dogs. The current findings highlight the zoonotic potential of this genus and further validate Bartonella species as important, emerging pathogens in human and veterinary medicine. "

I placed the bold type. It looks to be a cooperative effort. ... 07-170000/

This goes back to 2006:

"The recent use of a novel, chemically modified, insect based liquid culture medium (BAPGM), has helped to overcome historical problems associated with the isolation of several Bartonella species from animal and human blood samples." ... cteria.pdf

I am not very educated on how something goes from research to final product. In this case, the growth medium to enrich the specimen. Still trying to learn all this.

Is anyone out there knowledgeable on research procedures? And how does something get approved for human use if it starts out as a test for animals?

As I learn more, I will add on to this. It is hard for me to focus in the doctor's office when I am so dizzy I feel I may fall out of the chair onto the floor! :roll:


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Re: Bartonella / Multiple Sclerosis similarities

Post by kitty9309 » Sun 22 Mar 2009 21:16

Now I can't stop looking!

Here is the recipe. Doesn't appear to be a secret!

"In the future, BAPGM may represent an important culture option for the clinical microbiology laboratory."

"Growth medium.
The liquid growth medium described in this work (referred to below as Bartonella-Alphaproteobacteria growth medium [BAPGM]) was formulated on the basis of the biochemical composition of the insect growth medium DS2 from Mediatech (Herndon, VA). BAPGM was formulated to create an efficient growth medium for all of the Bartonella species described above. BAPGM was prepared by supplementing 900 ml of DS2 medium with 0.1 mg of NAD, 1.25 mg of NADP, 2 mg of ATP, 2 mg of sodium pyruvate, and 2 g of yeast extract. Amino acid supplementation was accomplished by adding 63.2 mg of L-arginine · HCl, 15.6 mg of L-cystine · HCl, 20.95 mg of L-histidine, 26.25 mg each of L-isoleucine and L-leucine, 36.25 mg of L-lysine, 7.5 mg of L-methionine, 16.25 mg of L-phenylalanine, 23.8 mg of L-threonine, 5 mg of L-tryptophan, 21.6 mg of L-tyrosine · 2Na · 2H2O, and 23.4 mg of L-valine. The pH of BAPGM was adjusted to 7.4 by addition of 50 ml of 0.1 M phosphate buffer, and BAPGM was subsequently sterilized by filtration through a 0.2-µm-pore-size filter (Corning, Corning, NY). After filtration, BAPGM was supplemented with 50 ml of defibrinated sheep blood (to a final concentration of 5%, vol/vol). "

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