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James Schaller, MD Hypothesis on Bartonella Brain Effects Including Cat-scratch Encephalopathy [Brain Inflammation or Disease], Psychiatric and Personality Problems
Currently there is a severe lack of appreciation for the effects of Bartonella on the brain. If it is ever diagnosed, it is before it lowers its own antibodies with its immune suppression ability and causes catastrophic organ effects. We feel the reality is that since Bartonella has over two hundred genetic variants which no lab in the world is close to testing, and is virtually never seen in a routine rushed manual blood smear, that it is missed 99% of the time in routine medicine. This is a concern. We hope we are wrong.
For a number of years, we have used highly aggressive direct and indirect testing, multiple laboratories, and peer reviewed journal articles reporting Bartonella biochemical changes, found in significant abnormal levels in Bartonella patients, which should alter skin patterns.
Tom was bitten by fleas found in his grass and inside his home carried in on his dog and soon after these bites had new red papules that he, his wife and local physicians missed.
Over the next few months he had an increase in boredom, depression, anxiety, agitation, insomnia, rigidity and hostility. He began showing many narcissistic personality characteristics. Tom became angry and attacked people's motives, always assuming the worst to the point of being eccentrically nasty.
He was found positive by a couple laboratories for Bartonella only after his self treatment with some potent antibacterial herbs. His initial labs were negative. Perhaps the herbs worked or the immune system somehow was able to beat temporarily the immune suppression of Bartonella. Who can say?
Finny from Arizona was exposed to deer ticks in a camping trip in the Carolinas to celebrate his 29th birthday. After a couple of deer tick bites he was abusive in word and deed. He because "wired" and "scary" according to his family and friends. He began writing emails insulting a wide range of people and had a clear change in his personality over years. He did have slightly enlarged lymph nodes during his camping trip, which is supposed to be a routine finding with Bartonella—we do not agree. We feel it is a rare finding.
He was treated for Lyme disease, Babesia and Bartonella based on the treatment of a LL MD who used IV treatment for three months, Mepron 1500 mg for five months [perhaps based on a 1995 paper approach] and artemisinin which is a malaria treatment with dubious proven effects against treatment resistant Babesia, and it also has rapidly lowered potency and side effects in excess of benefits at high doses.
Routine antibiotics which are supposed to cure Bartonella were all used by this patient or his initial physicians. These were traditional and "Lyme literate" physicians with a traditional and progressive approaches. (We feel these do not cure based on our inherited patients who have used these treatments). Finny and our other Bartonella positive inherited patients were treated with Levaquin, doxycycline, Zithromax or azithromycin, Ceftin, Mycobutin and Rifampin. Others were given high doses of very small amounts of various herbs at high liquid doses in grain alcohol, a vast array of commonly promoted "cure" herbs, misc. Rife treatment approaches, sauna treatment, "advanced" silver products, Ondimed energy treatment, heavy metal and immune booster treatments and hyperbaric oxygen (HBOT) treatment. We do feel any or all of these traditional or alternative medicine options might cause a serious decrease in Bartonella, including the removal of all Bartonella symptoms for a period of time, but at some point Bartonella returns. Knowing how to determine its return is not routine medicine. The use of mere antibody Bartonella testing does not make sense, since Bartonella appears to lower immunity and antibodies in our blinded studies. Since some patients very rarely have high antibodies in very rare cases, we suspect this is due to an acute reaction due to a new infection or some effect of a treatment transiently.
Finny failed routine dosing of antidepressants and anti-anxiety treatments. He was given antipsychotics at low doses which lowered his agitation and bizarre emails and phone calls. He became less hateful and bizarre.
When his treatment was adjusted to treat him with unique modern blind tested treatments, which are not well-known nor understood by most physicians, he was vastly improved. Curiously, some physicians and ill patients only embrace many relapsing treatments, meaning they failed in the long-term, and do not bother to read widely or carefully any new Bartonella information. Often, the illness and cost determines who is trusted for treatment.
We could list a large number of psychiatric effects of Bartonella, and we mention a few in our Medscape article with a full sample of 88 references. This appears to be one of the first articles on Bartonella and psychiatry. Such a poverty of psychiatric research with an infection with over 2,000 articles and which is very common is a disaster. This is a serious emerging "new" infection with many species and variants with no test for all the species that infect humans, and little funding or new research into it. Therefore, we suspect it will be 15-25 plus years before it is taken seriously and noted in psychiatry by psychiatrists. While you wait for main stream medicine to catch up, many will commit suicide, assaults, lose friends, get divorced, engage in domestic violence, are rejected due personality pathology, have brain injury, etc. It is quite possible all psychiatric disorders can be enhanced or created by Bartonella, because it can affect any part of the brain or the entire brain.
In conclusion, PET and SPECT scans are far better at showing changes due to Bartonella than an MRI which does not show tiny alterations in brain tissue metabolism, but indirect lab testing is perhaps best in all ages, and new Bartonella induced skin marks in adults over twenty is also a proposed addition tool. Bartonella alters blood flow and vascular development and makes tissue to allow it to survive, and these facts have not been applied clinically except in our Bartonella texts. Skin markings vary in weight in diagnosis. Some skin findings offer serious suspicion of Bartonella and others can have ten causes, including Bartonella, or Bartonella or "Cat-scratch" fused with Lyme disease, and so they are merely tentatively noted. It is a concern that very little dermatology material exists on the effect of Bartonella, or Bartonella plus untreated Lyme disease on the skin.