Intended for healthcare professionals


Lyme disease: time for a new approach?

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 03 December 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6520

Re: Lyme disease: time for a new approach?

I find it ironical but not surprising that this BMJ editorial calling for an open-minded debate on Lyme disease should so far receive only three rapid responses.

From a scientific and medical perspective key uncertainties give rise to competing theories and ideologies concerning the nature of the disease. Different terminologies and use of language aimed at defining later stages of the disease such as Post Lyme Disease Syndrome versus Chronic Lyme Disease come spring-loaded with polemical assumptions that may preclude any useful debate. Establishing a safe space for such discussion also appears to present a challenge. Whilst offering an open platform for exchange of ideas and awareness-raising, social media is also inherently challenging as a venue for frank and open discussion.

Given that science is showing that Borrelia is far removed from the simple bacteria enshrined by traditional teaching, surely it is time for medicine to wake up and take interest in the advancing science?

The public outcry about Lyme disease in the media and by numerous ongoing world-wide petitions and protests could well be viewed as an inevitable human response to the suffering caused not only by Lyme disease but the inadequate response of an increasingly outmoded medical status quo.

Competing interests: No competing interests

12 December 2015
Sandra Pearson
Consultant Psychiatrist
Medical Director, Lyme Disease Action
Sand, Sidbury, Devon.