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ILADS Members Question Motives of New England Journal of Medicine Article on Lyme Disease Treatment

Article in New England Journal of Medicine Fails to Disclose Conflicts of Interest of Overlapping Panel Members

International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) criticizes just-published article in the New England Journal of Medicine. Article concludes Chronic Lyme Disease a misnomer, despite significant real-world evidence proving otherwise.

Bethesda, MD (PRWEB) October 3, 2007 -- Members of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) voiced skepticism regarding the conclusions of a newly published article in The New England Journal of Medicine entitled "A Critical Appraisal of Chronic Lyme Disease".

The article, written by a committee of researchers, erroneously concludes that chronic Lyme disease is a "misnomer", citing lack of scientific evidence proving the existence of the condition. ILADS members pointed out the article does not reflect real-world patient experience with the disease.

"We have great respect for the New England Journal of Medicine," states Dr. Raphael Stricker, President of ILADS. "But we are concerned this article will continue to foster inadequate care for patients who are suffering from the long-term affects of chronic Lyme disease."

ILADS members believe the article's conclusions ignore more than 19,000 scientific studies on tick-borne diseases and reflect a huge conflict of interest. Specifically:

  • The article was written by a group of researchers who have consistently voiced a narrow viewpoint on the existence of chronic Lyme disease and appropriate treatment. Eleven of the authors were members of the panel that formulated the 2006 Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) Lyme guidelines. The panel is currently under investigation by the Connecticut Attorney General for exclusionary practices in formulating the IDSA guidelines.
  • The authors of the article failed to disclose that they are under investigation by the Connecticut Attorney General. This omission violates the "full disclosure" policy of the journal and creates a conflict of interest by calling into question the authors' motives for writing the article.
  • Several authors of the current article also participated in formulation of copycat Lyme guidelines for the American Academy of Neurology. Those guidelines were presented as "independent corroboration" of the IDSA Lyme guidelines, when in fact the same individuals were involved with both guidelines and employed the same exclusionary tactics that prompted the Connecticut Attorney General's investigation.

"It is unfortunate that this article perpetuates the narrow viewpoint on Lyme disease," added Stricker. "We believe it is in everyone's best interest to broaden the scope of the discussion within the medical community in order to better address the suffering among patients."

About ILADS:
ILADS is a nonprofit, international, multidisciplinary medical society, dedicated to the diagnosis and appropriate treatment of Lyme and its associated diseases. ILADS promotes understanding of tick-borne diseases through research and education and strongly supports physicians and other health care professionals dedicated to advancing the standard of care for Lyme and its associated diseases.

For more information contact Pam Kahl at 503.284.1534

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