Dr. Charles Jones' Approach to Reading Western Blots:
A Wise, Common Sense Position
Dr. Schaller Introduction: Let Me Help You Understand Common Clinical Basics.
One of the happiest days of my recent career was when this 75 y/o veteran doctor, beloved all around the USA for his treatment of over 6,000 Lyme infected children, agreed to treat my children. His reading of Western Blots is not effected by any Big Government agencies. He is not accountable to any lab oversight government entity. And no one at the CDC, FDA or any medical board in the USA has his massive experience in treating Lyme in youth and reading Western Blots. So read below his clear and convincing reasoning on the interpretation of the Western Blot.
Before I offer Dr. Jones's material, let me put them in context, and share a few basics. First, the Western Blot measures the antibodies your body makes to attack the Lyme infection.
Also, it is important to note that like most progressive Lyme experts, Dr. Jones assumes you have a Western Blot from IgeneX, which is an internationally famous, tick-only lab, with full lab certification. Other massive cheap national labs process hundreds of types of tests, and millions of patients. They rarely find a positive result even in epidemic counties, in people who have profound and advanced Lyme clinical symptoms.
However, if you have had a Western Blot done at a junk lab, please still glance at the result. Why? Because you may find, as I did with one relative, that one of the antibodies or "bands" was positive. In this relative, the band was a "fingerprint" band. Meaning, Lyme is the only organism that makes the human body make this antibody. The child was positive.
Simply, if you are blindfolded and touch the side of an elephant, you may not be sure it is an elephant—perhaps this is a rhino? This is the 41 band. It is from the flagella, AND LYME HAS MANY THAT GO FROM THE TOP TO THE BOTTOM. Very crudely, the flagellum the flagellum is like a rear wheel car axle inside the Lyme organism and THIS IS THE MOST LIKELY PART OF LYME TO BE POSITIVE. However, the 41 antibody is not specific to Lyme, since OTHER SPIROCHETES have flagella.
Now, what if you touch this same elephant on its tusks or on its long peanut-eating tubular nose? You know it is an elephant. Period. One touch and you are certain, because these parts are very unique to this huge animal. This is Dr. Jones' point. It you see an 18 antibody that has a positive, you have Lyme. You do not need to check any other bands, because the 18 antibody is highly specific to Lyme—just like a tusk on an elephant.
What Do the Number of Pluses Mean?
IGeneX gives levels of antibodies. One + means you have some antibody of that type, and +++ means you have a very large amount of antibody of that type. However, Lyme ruins immune system functioning and the number of positives usually goes up with treatment. People with no aggressive past Lyme treatment, should be lucky their body has made any antibodies at all, since Lyme is very good at both hiding from the immune system and hindering it.
Also, many people have +/- findings on an antibody.
Currently, IGeneX does not use Dr. Jones' criteria. I have not asked them why. Perhaps because they are accountable to different laboratory regulating agencies, and in general the government is anti-progressive Lyme. They are years behind clinical medicine and following a few Ivy Tower types. Many government agencies like the FDA and especially state medical boards are attacking Lyme experts. These lawyer run groups are attacking the best Lyme doctors in the USA. Generally, after the board takes out some of the best Lyme doctors in their state, patients counter attack the state boards and get laws passed to stop this 1984 Big Brother harassment. But these doctors are already gone.
Further, this scares thousands of doctors into avoiding treating Lyme aggressively or makes simple thinking doctors feel these progressive doctors must have been wrong. Some physicians are simple in the politics of power. We have seen the same state board abuse against physicians willing to take on a few desperately suffering chronic pain patients, e.g., the type with rotting joints who are inoperable and need rising doses of narcotics to work fulltime and keep from crying from pain. For example, Pennsylvania and New York are two of the leading anti-pain, anti-Lyme treatment and anti-doctor states in the USA.
Charles Ray Jones, M.D.
111 Park St. Suite F
New Haven CT 06511
Tel. 203 772 1123 ⇖ Fax 203 772-0682
Addendum Regarding Lyme Serology
There are nine known [Lyme] Borrelia burgdorferi Genus species specific KDA Western Blot antibodies (bands): 18, 23, 31, 34, 37, 39, 83 and 93.
Only one of these Borrelia burgdorferi genus specific bands is needed to confirm that there is serological evidence of exposure to the Borrelia burgdorferi spirochete and can confirm a clinical diagnosis of Lyme Disease.
CDC Western Blot IgM surveillance criteria includes only two burgdorferi genus species specific antibodies for IgM 23 and 39 and excludes the other seven Borrelia burgdorferi antibodies.
CDC Western Blot IgG surveillance criteria includes 18, 23, 30, 37, 39 and 93 and excludes bands 31, 34 and 83.
It does not make sense to exclude any Borrelia burgdorferi genus species-specific antibodies in a Lyme Western Blot, and to include only two of these antibodies in IgM because all the antibodies in IgG were once IgM.
IgM converts to IgG in about two months unless there is a persisting infection driving a persisting IgM reaction. This is the case with any infection including a Borrelia burgdorferi induced Lyme disease.
The CDC wrongfully includes five non-specific cross-reacting antibodies in its Western Blot surveillance criteria: 28, 41, 45, 58 and 66. This leads to the possibility of false positive Lyme Western Blots. There can be no false positives if only Borrelia burgdorferi genus species-specific antibodies are considered. One can have a CDC surveillance positive IgG Lyme Western Blot with the five non-specific antibodies without having any Borrelia burgdorferi genus species specific antibodies.
This does not make sense.
The CDC recommends that the Lyme Western Blot be performed only if there is a positive or equivocal Lyme ELISA. In my practice of over 6000 children with Lyme disease, 30% with a CDC positive Lyme Western Blot have negative ELISA's. The Lyme ELISA is a poor screening test. An adequate screening test should have false positives, not false negatives.
Dr. Schaller inserted all bolding in Dr Jones' article above, and inserted some spacing.
Final clarification by Dr. Schaller: Dr. Jones believes that the crude non-specific ELISA antibody test is a very poor screen. He has a lot of company.
Also, he disagrees with the whole CDC approach on the Western Blot. He thinks it is wrong to include junk non-specific bands as the way to determine a positive, and wrong to exclude very specific fingerprint bands in diagnosis.
I work with another researcher who was mocked by the CDC on his work on toxic algae-like organisms, and then he ended up being asked to publish his findings in their journal. You can be sincere and still fallible. There is no medical POPE. Many exacting type personalities who are easily impressed with titles and schools forget this very easily.
This is offered with my deepest thanks to Dr. Jones and reprinted and posted with permission.
NOTE: The reading of Western Blots is debated. If you want a conservative approach, please ignore this article. Further, in Dr. Schaller's Lyme Treatment Failures Articles some other bands are poroposed as possible only being found in Lyme bacteria. He makes no claims to have read the entire world literature on Western Blots.