So Much Bad Science 

I was directed to a link from Facebook for an article that talked about this study.  Click here for study

Since I only can see (at the moment) the free abstract, I am waiting to read the rest of it.  The article itself that talked about the study had some things that the study did not seem to say; however, maybe they read the entire study and these conclusions were actually IN the entire study and they were not the fault of the article writer jumping to conclusions.  

So I am only going to review the abstract at this time. 

It is called “Lyme Disease Diagnosed by Alternative Methods: A Common Phenotype with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” (link above).  

When they talk about alternative methods, this means alternative LAB methods that the CDC does not suggest using to diagnose Lyme disease.  However, this leaves out a large portion of people who were diagnosed by alternative methods that the CDC does suggest: clinical diagnosis.  There’s problem one. 

Let’s forget about that part for the moment and move on to the bigger problem.  

What this study seems to be saying, according to the abstract is that they took healthy controls (25), patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (25), patients with “alternatively diagnosed” Lyme disease (12 out of 13), and 11 patients with SLE.  Ya.  Big whopping study, right? 

But it wouldn’t matter if they had thousands.  

They compared these groups using 

**7 functional scales, 

**cytokine studies, 

**CDC approved Lyme testing criteria

**history and physicials 

**reference serology for other tick-borne diseases.  

Their conclusion after looking at their data was: 

 A provider should realize that if a Lyme patient has a positive Lyme test using alternative criteria, that lab test was a false positive.  

Why is this such BAD SCIENCE? 

We have to remember that the CDC itself has said their criteria are only used for surveillance purposes.  A clinical diagnosis can certainly by made (including the 100% diagnostic EM rash), and Lyme should not be ruled out entirely if the CDC criteria lab tests are negative.  

The above study went through all this to conclude that Lyme positive patients using alternative criteria are false positives and should not be counted as a “surveillance positive” even though the only “surveillance positive” Lyme cases would be counted through CDC surveilllance criteria anyway … what in the world was the study for? 

It seems to me, without seeing the entire study yet, that they are trying to make others think that CDC positive means positive PERIOD so anyone coming to the provider with an “alternative” criteria based diagnosis is a false positive.  

Have time for 1 more issue?  

I am sure infectious disease experts would agree that a culture proven diagnosis is going to hold more weight than an antibody-based test diagnosis.  So even though the CDC does not “recommend” or consider a culture test from ALS (Advanced Laboratory Services) positive “surveillance criteria,” it does not mean it is a false positive by a long shot.  There are other methods of “scoring” western blots for Lyme that have been found to be more accurate than the CDC’s surveillence criteria number of bands as well.  But it doesn’t “count” for the CDC criteria.  

So just because the CDC erroneously leaves out scientifically viable testing processes, they somehow conclude that will mean the science will be correct only the CDC (surveillance) way.   There’s the rest of the bad science.  They took something entirely unscientific as far as how the bacteria is really acting in a person and made that a scientific truth.  

You cannot take CDC surveillance criteria, something the CDC admits misses a big whopping bunch of true Lyme cases, and make it into much more accurate diagnostic criteria, which is how they, more or less, used it in this study. 

I certainly hope they are not this stupid as to think they are the same thing, so I am going to take that leap to say they meant to mislead people.  Since these publications are used by providers that treat actual patients, intentionally misleading them to diagnose a patient one way or the other (for whatever reasons) is a crime just as much as a provider intentionally giving a patient the incorrect diagnosis or medicine would be.  

And last, but not least, the longer this sort of thing continues, the less anyone will be able to trust such publications.  And if no one trusts what is in your publication, oh journal-who-accepted-this-garbage, what will be the point of you? 
–Loon Out 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s