Biofilms: The New Lyme-Toxin Myth

Medical topics with questions, information and discussion related to Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.
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Biofilms: The New Lyme-Toxin Myth

Post by Claudia » Sat 30 May 2009 15:54

Biofilms are universal. Many bacteria have and form biofilms, both inside their hosts and in outside environments. They have always been around, and they are everywhere. Antibiotics are usually effective against bacterial pathogens, despite their biofilms.

Their significance and role in Lyme disease or other diseases is currently poorly understood or unknown. What is known about biofilms is that they seem to have good and bad properties. They can be both a source of disease and a source of immune system defense, preventing other potentially dangerous and deadly microbes from invading places such as our GI tracts, skin and oral cavities for example.

As we have seen in LymeLand with the Lyme-toxin myth (after decades of research, Bb secrete no known toxins); hypothetical 'detoxification' treatments are marketed and sold for this purely hypothetical and even non-existent condition. This amounts to nothing more than quackery and scams.

Biofilms seem to be the new 'Lyme-toxin' in LymeLand: something that is hyped as a factual condition of concern that needs to be medically treated and addressed. Worse yet, with unproven, dubious methods of treatment.

From Envita clinic's web site:
New Tools for Understanding and Tackling Lyme Disease

Other cutting-edge discoveries were discussed, including the role of biofilm in the progression and resistance of Lyme Disease.

One of the panelists included Dr. Stephen E. Fry, M.D., a Lyme researcher for over 14 years and a leading pioneer in the area of biofilm.

Biofilm is best described as a “slime matrix” (think Ghost Busters) that coats the Lyme bacteria and its coinfections, making these pathogens very resistant to treatment, including antibiotics.

This sticky slime is made up of diverse single-celled microbes that adhere to one another and form complex community structures.

Once these pathogens colonize, the biofilm grows by cell division and recruitment.

The biofilm’s sticky protective coating weakens the patient’s immune system while shielding the Lyme pathogens, and can even facilitate communication among these micro-organisms through biochemical signals.

Biofilms even have the capability of developing “water channels” that distribute nutrients among the pathogens in the biofilm. Latest treatment techniques are centered around finding ways to “strip” this biofilm so that antibiotics and other treatments can reach and destroy the pathogens.

Dr. Korn also had an opportunity at the conference to share the success Envita has been having using a unique, integrative Lyme disease protocol and innovative biofilm-stripping techniques.
Buyer beware: do the research, look into the validity of the claims before spending thousands and thousands of dollars for purely, 100% experimental, unproven treatments that may very well be doing more harm than good for a condition of purely hypothetical significance.

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Re: Biofilms: The New Lyme-Toxin Myth

Post by Fin24 » Sat 30 May 2009 22:14

Claudia I fully agree about scams and misinforming the buying public but we cannot dismiss out of hand theories that are contradictions to our beleifs.

I share your belief that bad science propels an industry targeting the naive to accept misguided treatments However, you are a bit inaccurate in saying
Antibiotics are usually effective against bacterial pathogens, despite their biofilms.
"usually" effective??? "despite" the films??? the point is that most films arent harmful BUT when they are, they DO impeded treatment...thats the point. In too many cases ( cystic fibrosis, diabetes etc) abx cannot get around the films.

Bioofilms are dangerous and CAN impede treatment. They are responsible in enough cases,for resistance to that treatment:

Antibiotic resistance of bacteria in biofilms
The Lancet, Volume 358, Issue 9276, Pages 135-138
P.Stewart, J.William Costerton

Bacteria that adhere to implanted medical devices or damaged tissue can encase themselves in a hydrated matrix of polysaccharide and protein, and form a slimy layer known as a biofilm. Antibiotic resistance of bacteria in the biofilm mode of growth contributes to the chronicity of infections such as those associated with implanted medical devices. The mechanisms of resistance in biofilms are different from the now familiar plasmids, transposons, and mutations that confer innate resistance to individual bacterial cells. In biofilms, resistance seems to depend on multicellular strategies. We summarise the features of biofilm infections, review emerging mechanisms of resistance, and discuss potential therapies.
Non Inherited Antibiotic resistance
BR Levin, DE Rosen, 2006
" ...drug resiatance, perisstence, biofilms are recognized as...non inherited forms of resistance"

and many others--try a pubmed search on " biofilm induced bacterial resistance" and " treatment of infections impeded by biofilms"

You also state the fact of biofilms being protective in almost en exclusive areas such as the mouth, gut and gential tract they are in fact protective BUT can also turn infective with a tiny change in the complement of commensal organisms. The slightest imbalance of the naturally occurring bugs and that same fil can turn against the host so to speak. Can you disagree that this tiny imbalance can occur when on abx l;ike many of us are for long times? can you disagree that this imbalance can occur with diet changes ( due to illness or even preference)?

According to Medical Biofilms ed. by Jass, Surman, Walker,2003
"It is generally accepted that these naturally occurring biofilms, which do not cause disease, may in fact act as a barrier to potentially pathogenic microorganisms, and thus help prevent infections" but you MUST read further:
"Infections related to these biofilms, however can occur if there is an alteration in the commensal population such as may occur...." snip
it goes on to say that it is RARE, not absent, for this to happen in healthy undamaged tissues and does more often happen with damaged tissues ( burns, trauma etc) and if immune systemsd are compromised; or with underlying dieases like diabetes, cystic fibrosis and others

( ... Cj0KHQGQuQ)

while many cases are of stents, joint hardware ( like hip and knee replacements),heart valve replacements etc...there are also documented cases of non hardware and non implant related resistant infections due to biofilms; such as in the mucosa of cystic fibrosis patients.

when we are trying to debunk shaky claims that are made by marketers it is imperative that we uphold to our own high standards and make sure our information is absolutely valid

it undermines credibility if we use information as invalid as the marketers' to debunk their claims

since you mention that they arent always protective, thats a good start BUT you negelcted to accpet the fact that those with long term tick illness isnt the typical "healthy" soul. They are by definition having chronic symptoms and in most cases also with comorbidants--immune system, nervous system and gut/microbe imbalances by virtue of the various treatments and simply due to being under siege by the tick organisms to begin with

It isnt such a big leap to presume there MAY be problems with biofilms in many/most of those with chronic sx from Lyme et al.Us folks are debilitated to begin with and thats why the films may be a factor--and biofilms CAN be a problem, and with any/all long term illness--we can agree that for many Lyme etc IS a long term illness that does affect the entire body at times--disregulating everything from hormones to neurochemicals so why under this disruption is it so hard to think that maybe biofilms are also playing their games the way they do in other chronic illnesses??

AND even with "harmless" biofilms--theyve shown that there is increased plasmid transfer ( thats how bacteria swap genetic resistance)--and so jsut the mere presence of the film may be impeding treatment by giving bacteria an easier way to 'tell' each other how to resist abx, etc--to ME that aint so harmless then
[Weigel L, Donlan RM, Shin DH et al.: High-level vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates associated with a polymicrobial biofilm. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother.51,231–238 (2007)]

and our usually friendly oral spirochetes: when they "go bad" and cause infection and gum disease they are almost always associated with biofilms--now it may be those films were already there or they may have become stronger or even formed once the bugs went "bad"..BUT its interesting to see that even the good guys can turn bad with the help of the biofilms making this very important to not be so dismissive about. ( saying theyve always been around, found everywhere; kinda denigrates their importance...a LOT of things have "always been around" that we are now first realizing are pretty harmful!!!

What IS lacking for now re Lyme,are the connections:
-studies showing that biofilms surround the 'chetes as Fry claims
- studies then showing the films around chetes change the persistence/virulence/outcomes
-studies showing proven biofilm disruptors will improve tx outcome
-studies proving what Fry et al and Envita are testing as products will break biofilms AND also improve outcome

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Re: Biofilms: The New Lyme-Toxin Myth

Post by Claudia » Sun 31 May 2009 0:52

As Sir Real so eloquently and appropriately noted:
"Protocol" (that's how you put lipstick on a pig in you market the latest dress it up and call it a "protocol"). ... f=5&t=2574
From The Public Health Alert: 'The Borrelia burgdorferi Biofilms Protocol'
New Treatment Provides Dramatic Results
by Tina J. Garcia

Recent developments in research on Borrelia burgdorferi biofilms has been a catalyst for three Lyme-treating physicians in Arizona to collaborate for the benefit of their patients. Microbiologist Stephen Fry, M.D. of Fry Laboratories in Scottsdale, has contemplated the use of certain agents that destroy biofilms which surround and protect bacteria and cause remissions and relapses in chronic infections. In 2008, Dr. Fry began discussing research on this subject with Dino Prato, N.M.D., owner of Envita Natural Medical Centers of America (also in Scottsdale) and David Korn, D.O., M.D.(H), D.D.S., Medical Director at Envita and LongLife Medical, Dr. Korn's private practice in Mesa. The result of these discussions is the application of a novel treatment protocol administered by Dr. Korn, who in addition to his osteopathic license is also a homeopathic physician licensed in Arizona. The combination treatment is currently providing great improvement and relief to Lyme disease patients. Drs. Korn and Prato are grateful to and acknowledge Dr. Fry for sharing his insight and knowledge about the destruction of biofilms.

The new treatment protocol begins with the insertion of a port-a-catheter by an interventional radiologist for administration of intravenous therapy. The therapy is given in the doctor's office once per week for nine weeks, give or take a week or two. It begins with a three-hour IV with an agent that destroys the biofilm surrounding the bacteria. This makes the previously-sequestered bacteria vulnerable to antimicrobial therapy. Immediately following the first IV, Azithromycin antibiotic is administered, also intravenously. This second IV takes approximately two hours. This is done in one day and the patient goes home. The patient returns to the office the next day and receives an IV mineral supplement, absent magnesium.

Dr. Fry explains that the reason magnesium needs to be withheld from the mineral supplement is due to the fact that magnesium aids the bacteria in the development of the biofilm. Therefore, after destroying the biofilm and the bacteria, it is not logical to provide magnesium, which will only help create more biofilm. Dr. Fry has also found that Lyme disease patients more often than not have an overabundance of magnesium. However, he recommends monitoring the patient's magnesium level during treatment.
And now, ---- get ready for it -----, in conclusion.......

The article's anecdotal finale!
The doctors are reporting dramatic improvement in patients, such as the woman described above who was so sick prior to treatment. After three weeks of the combination therapy, this woman bounced into the clinic with renewed enthusiasm, reclaiming herself as the vibrant person she was before becoming so ill! After only three weeks, her energy level had increased substantially, enabling her to apply her makeup and fix her hair again. As a chronic LBC patient, I can relate to the importance of regaining previous function and a return to one's previous self. I feel very comfortable after speaking with Drs. Fry and Korn and look forward to receiving this treatment protocol in the future, also.
I wonder if anything, about any of this dramatic treatment information, will get published in any credible, peer-reviewed source?


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Re: Biofilms: The New Lyme-Toxin Myth

Post by Fin24 » Sun 31 May 2009 2:38

Im not promoting anyone's use of this info to make unsubtantiated protocols and market new treatments

However we cant dismiss out of hand the role of biofilms and its possible role in many chronic illnesses, Lyme included

The zeal of those forming protocols, as the next sellable entity, is provoking a backlash of those too willing to declare all biofilm associated info " quackery",which may have us clouding valuable information; and that too I find equally aggregious

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Re: Biofilms: The New Lyme-Toxin Myth

Post by rlstanley » Sun 31 May 2009 3:46

Claudia wrote:
I wonder if anything, about any of this dramatic treatment information, will get published in any credible, peer-reviewed source?
I won't hold my water on that one.

That biofilm "protocol" is unbeliveable. I am being nice here.

These people pushing this stuff have to prove their preposterous claims to us.


Until then, it remains as it appears: quackery; submitting people to treatments based on entirely unsubstantiated claims.

My quote for the day:

....Does every field have to put up with this crap? Do engineers constantly have to argue with people who BELIEVE, in the face of all testable evidence that bridges and highrises could actually be built from toothpicks and cream cheese if only the engineers were more open-minded and better informed?

Ken Phelps, D.D.S.
Ladysmith, B.C., Canada

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Re: Biofilms: The New Lyme-Toxin Myth

Post by hiker53 » Sun 7 Jun 2009 18:19

Dr. Fry believes the biofilm is magnesium for lyme, but Dr. Ryser believes it is calcium. So doctors don't even agree on the biofilm. Hiker53

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Re: Biofilms: The New Lyme-Toxin Myth

Post by Fin24 » Sun 7 Jun 2009 20:09

biofilma are conglomerates of bacteria with variants on the matrix ( what holds them together) so maybe Hiker means the matrix is either magnesium or calcium--the biofilm itself cant be a mineral tho'

all a "biofilm" is is a microbial community sticking together-it can have self rpoduced matrix or envrionmental matrix

and both calcium and magnesium are fairly easy to test for but have they even FOUND biofilms of borrelia or is this purely conjecture?? and if they think they found the film then why the confusion over constituents?? they can test it.

most of the biofilms found and studied are those adherent to nonliving matrices--medical equipment, prosthetics etc--possibly a scant few adhering to blood vessel inner walls contributing to plaques but even those arent widely accepted...yet.

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Re: Biofilms: The New Lyme-Toxin Myth

Post by BlueSky » Sun 7 Jun 2009 22:07 ... ofilm.html

This is a great article and photos and descriptions of biofilms. Worth looking at.

I have no idea about the validity of biofilm in direct relation to Borellia nor am I sure who has actually brought it up or has stated it to be true.
I do know that biofilms though have been an ongoing subject in relation to infection overall and recently in the protozoan found at Fry Lab is said to be in a film of some sort.
In this article it talks about detached biofilms as stated:
Microbial flocs have many of the same characteristics as biofilms but are not attached to a solid surface. Flocs are suspended aggregates of micro-organisms within an EPS matrix that GREW in liquid suspension.

Detached biofilm particles can be single cells or clumps of cells that GREW on a surface in a biofilm and subsequently detached due to either a biological or environmental stimuli. In an infectious disease context "biofilm emboli" may be a useful term for detached biofilm.

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Re: Biofilms: The New Lyme-Toxin Myth

Post by Fin24 » Sun 7 Jun 2009 22:47

excellent source Blue Sky!!! strong labs, reputable agendas

but it still remains that the latest cure all mentality in Lyme puts the cart before the horse
there isnt YET enough data to even suggest what some are trying to suggest when they promote treatments. we first need to know and understand what can and cant form the biofilms ( motile spirochetes may be less likely to do so--we dont know)

and we need to know how the biofilms do their dirty work--we cant willy nilly go off busting biofilms if in fact they may then turn the bacteria inside more virulent or more resistant

and this isnt being done--leaps of assumption are being made and then leaps of marketing treatments

I think thats what the OP meant by " new Lyme toxin myth"

it parallels the toxin craze- before there was even proof of a toxin and what that toxin could do, the assumption was made and treatments fashioned. same now for the biofilm theories

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Re: Biofilms: The New Lyme-Toxin Myth

Post by BlueSky » Sun 7 Jun 2009 23:32

Could someone point me to where they are trying to promote and sell
this new biofilm concept and treatment option??

I am not aware of it.


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