Dr Stephen Hawking's father - Aftrican Borrelia research

General or non-medical topics with information and discussion related to Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.
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Dr Stephen Hawking's father - Aftrican Borrelia research

Post by inmacdonald » Sun 29 Jan 2012 18:08

Diverse strains of Borrelia on every continent , make the puzzle of
Lyme Borreliosis much more challenging.
In 1989, I corresponded with Prof S. Hawking about his
ALS-like illness and my hypothesis that Borrelia might provoke
a Motor neuron disease , ( a Borrelia "equivalent" based on the
model of treponemal amotrophy), I asked him to consider testing for
antibodiesto Lyme disease, which he did, and which were nonreactive, (with
existing reagents - probable based on B31 B burgdorferi)
Later, I read in his biography about a Physician named Dr. F.
Hawking, who worked in Tropical Medicine for the MRC in Tanganyika
with an African stain of Borrelia capable of causing meningitis, and
who isolated such organism from human cerebrospinal fluid by mouse
inoculation when the organisms were not demonstrable in direct smear
preparations. (Journal of Topical medicine Vol 44 101-105, Aug 15,
1941). ? Was this man related to Professor Hawking Borne January 8,1942?
Yes, indeed, Dr Frank Hawkng is Dr Stephen Hawkng's father. Dr Stephen Hawking
was born in London.
My interest in Gestational Borreliosis is well known.
I re-opened the question of possible strain diversity of Borrelias
with Prof Hawking as a possible explanation for a "negative" blood
test result in the laboratory in England which performed his
examination. This hypothesis was , at his discretion, not further
evaluated in 1989.
Even today, we learn that our "first take" on ideas about the
cosmos, may be subject to revision,.. even the Hawking Effect"
has been reworked by Professor Hawking himself..
Dr. Hawking's medical problem is called "ALS"
and the Natural history of "ALS" does not usually include survival
in a wheelchair for lo these many years ,as has been his
( and our collective) very good fortune.
Perhaps his named disease might also be re-evaluated, in the great
tradition of the Hawking Effect.

Please recall the Case of Dr David Martz, who was diagnosed with
motor neuron diisease at the Mayo Clinic, and who experienced
a downhill clinical course until he received intensive antibiotic therapy
for borreliosis, and during therapy demontrated PCR evidence of Borrelia.

Many Strains of Borrelia are being recognized on various continents.
Some strains cause neuroedegenerative diseases.

Alan B. MacDonald MD

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Re: Dr Stephen Hawking's father - Aftrican Borrelia research

Post by inmacdonald » Mon 30 Jan 2012 13:36

ALS-like illness effectively treated with intravenous ceftriaxone
My Story

In April 2003, a robust 62-year old Colorado physician developed diffuse musculoskeletal weakness and pain. Mobility rapidly diminished necessitating assistance in dressing, driving, and transfers. Evaluation during ensuing hospitalization revealed marked lower extremity fasciculations, hyperactive reflexes of all extremities and severe, restrictive shoulder pain. Discharge diagnosis was upper and lower motor neuron disorder, “…probably Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis” (ALS). Physical deterioration necessitated medical retirement.

Thorough neurological follow-up showed progression over the next 2 months, including definite atrophy of shoulder girdle, leg, and arm muscles with associated 6-kilogram weight loss, increasing weakness, and varying fasciculations in all extremities and tongue. Hyperactive deep tendon reflexes (DTRs) became crossed and then ascending. Two consulting academic neurologists diagnosed likely ALS, while two others considered it not characteristic of “classical ALS” when seen early in the course of the disease. 4 EMG’s done in the first 2 months were non-diagnostic, including one done by a university-based consultant. Regardless, motor neuron and muscle fiber degeneration became more pronounced and progressive, suggesting a potentially rapid course typical of ALS. Though still ambulatory, overall function was reduced to about 20% of healthy baseline.

Based on concurrent presentation with inflammatory polyarthropathy, and reports of “Lyme disease with ALS features”, infection with Borrelia burgdorferi was considered from the outset. ELISA serology screening was negative on 3 occasions; one serum Western Blot (WB), and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) PCR were also negative for Borrelia. A trial of Doxycycline, 200 mg/day for 1 month, was nevertheless given in July 2003 without noticeable benefit.

As motor degeneration continued, earlier CSF findings of slight gammopathy and “indeterminate” CSF IgG WB (41, 43) prompted further searching for Borrelia in December 2003 and January 2004. A second serum Western Blot yielded “equivocal” IgG (41, 58) and IgM (23 plus other "CDC non-specific bands") results. However, an antibiotic-provocative urinary Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) was positive for B. Burgdorferi plasmid DNA.

The patient was referred to a Chronic Lyme Disease-experienced physician who identified non-CNS manifestations consistent with late disseminated Borreliosis, in addition to the neurological findings. In the absence of proven beneficial therapy for ALS, intravenous (IV) ceftriaxone (Rocephin) was given empirically through a tunneled subclavian central line catheter for 24 weeks, 4 gm/day x 4 days/week. Oral metronidazole, 750mg/day, was given for cystic forms on the remaining 3 days/week, and Diflucan and Ursodiol were given as adjunctive prophylaxis. Babesia studies were suggestive but equivocal, and Mepron - Zithromax was given orally for 3 courses of 3 weeks per month.

6 months of therapy have been completed without evident adverse side effects. Symptomatically, stamina, mobility, vitality, initiative, social engagement, and “well-being” are markedly better. The arthropathy improved promptly after initiation of ceftriaxone therapy. Objective muscle strength is markedly improved, and muscle atrophy is now only minimally apparent. Assistance is not required for transfers, squats are again possible, and all limb movements are full and pain free. Muscle cramps, myoclonus, and fasciculations have diminished. DTRs are improved, including absence of crossed or ascending responses. Overall function has improved to about 80% of healthy baseline, and illness is not evident to casual observers.

Although lack of unanimity of ALS diagnosis in this particular patient prevents definitive link to that label, there is no doubt of upper and lower motor neuron involvement with progressive decline prior to treatment, and marked response associated with ceftriaxone therapy.

The presence of atypical ALS features, including inflammatory polyarthritis, diffuse musculoskeletal pain and profound fatigue, may have been indicators of Lyme-related etiology—BUT the standard ELISA screening serology was repeatedly negative. The correct diagnosis would have been missed without the antibiotic-provocative urine Borrelia-plasmid DNA testing by PCR technology.

There have been other scattered anecdotal case reports of ALS-like illness associated with Lyme Disease responding to extended therapy with ceftriaxone.

How this case relates to others with ALS or ALS-like illness requires further investigation. It would, however, suggest potential benefit in early evaluation for Borrelia infection using technology beyond the currently traditional ELISA screening serology.
-D. C. M., M.D.

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Re: Dr Stephen Hawking's father - Aftrican Borrelia research

Post by inmacdonald » Mon 30 Jan 2012 22:19

Dr David Martz and Dr William Harvey -case report in the peer reviewed literature

Motor neuron disease recovery associated with IV ceftriaxone and
anti-Babesia therapy.
Acta Neurol Scand. 2007 Feb;115(2):129-31. PMID:17212618
Motor neuron disease recovery associated with IV ceftriaxone and antiBabesia therapy.
Harvey WT, Martz D.
Source: Rocky Mountain Chronic Disease Specialists, L.L.C., North Circle
Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80909, USA.
This report summarizes what we believe to be the first verifiable case of a
significant and progressive motor neuron disease (MND) consistent with
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis that resolved during treatment with i.v.
ceftriaxone plus oral atovaquone and mefloquine. The rationale for use of
these antibiotics was (i) positive testing for Borrelia burgdorferi and (ii) red
blood cell ring forms consistent with Babesia species infection. The patient
has continued to be free of MND signs and symptoms for 15 months,
although some symptoms consistent with disseminated Borreliosis remain

Note: As of 2012, Dr David Martz is alive and well.
There is much to be learned from his experience.

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Re: Dr Stephen Hawking's father - Aftrican Borrelia research

Post by X-member » Mon 30 Jan 2012 22:45

My friend from Norway (YouTube):

"Lyme Disease, What is going on? (002)"


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Re: Dr Stephen Hawking's father - Aftrican Borrelia research

Post by Joanne60 » Sun 19 Feb 2012 15:49

Very interesting thread. I am sure I haven't been the only Lyme patient that has wondered about Steven Hawking's diagnosis of ALS in view of the longevity of his condition. So I was pleased that you made contact with him- sorry to hear he doesn't seem to have applied his mind to the possibility of Borrelia beyond our UK Southampton lab despite the test makers Trinity Biotech saying that a negative test result does not rule out Lyme disease - http://www.trinitybiotech.com/Product%2 ... System.pdf

No doubt most of us have heard of Dr Martz story. I had the privileged of meeting him at the London ILADS conference 2010. His presentation started with his personal story - I have always referred to my illness as being mainly Arthritis and Muscle weakness but there were so many more symptoms which I tend to forget about now that I have made a good recovery. However I did find as Dr Martz described his symptoms such as swallowing difficulties and others that I was nodding in agreement as I recalled what I had also suffered with.

Dr Martz went on to talk about the research he did with other patients - after he became well he opened a clinic - He saw patients with MS, ALS, Parkinson's and Lyme - Although the numbers involved were not high they were nevertheless sufficient for the medical profession to take notice and follow up further. There is a DVD available of that conference through http://www.lymediseaseaction.org.uk/ e mail them if you are interested. No doubt Dr Martz presentation will also be available through ILADS from a different conference.

I was at that conference as a volunteer so didn't get to hear all presentations but made a special point in watching this. My reason was that someone I knew who like me had been diagnosed with PMR was later diagnosed with Parkinson's - he had worked at an Agricultural college and I had suggested he check out the possibility of him having Lyme disease- he remembered tick bites and a rash that lasted a year and bemused his doctors. He went to a specialist clinic and he tested positive for Lyme Disease- but most importantly within a matter of weeks of taking antibiotics he remarked about improvements in many of his symptoms-

Does anyone know if Dr Martz studies have been published yet?

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