Read The Amazing Story of Recovery From Lyme Disease
Dr. Rick Sponaugle Brings Young Man Out Of Lyme Coma
A successful year of college, a cute girlfriend, and a sport truck – life was good for 20-year-old John Branch. Youngest of 5 children, a secure family life, living at home, it takes a lot to rock your boat. Never sick, never any drugs…life was easy. However, a perfect storm of genetic and environmental conditions was brewing. Below the surface of our awareness, conditions that would steal and destroy John’s life, health, and personality were coming together.
John’s athleticism hid the genetics which weakened his immune response to mold toxicity and Lyme infection (HLA-DR genes for 25% of the population). He carried in his blood 10 times the level of toxicity for trichothecenes and ochratoxin, two of the invisible gases emitted by mold. Trichothecene has been used for bio-chemical warfare; It shuts down the entire immune system. His brain had been battered by 8 years of playing football, making his already sensitive frontal lobe even more vulnerable to infections and toxicity.
Storm conditions worsen. An infected insect bite on his neck and persistent rash sent John to the doctor for a week of antibiotics. The antibiotics were delayed for 4 months, a meningo-encelphalitic event that was to announce this storm with absolute fear, trepidation, and confusion. Photophobia, extreme headache, seizure-like tongue contusion, and out-of-control self-destructive behavior lands John handcuffed in an ambulance. “He’s on meth and going to jail,” announces the victorious deputy sheriff. An hour later, when John wakes up in the ER… unaware of what had transpired, the cop capitulates, but still places him under the Baker Act for one night in the local psyche ward.
His perfect storm had manifested and was followed by months of catatonia, schizophrenia, autism, 9 months of different hospitalizations, psyche wards, and dozens of doctors. With health insurance, disability, hospital write-offs, and over $250,000 out-of-pocket, his bills exceeded $1,000,000. Our healthy, athletic son became a disheveled, helpless, mindless caricature of his former self.
He had been hospitalized at the University of Alabama at Birmingham initially. Evidence of encephalitis was found in his spinal tap. Signs of infection demanded short term antibiotics, but no diagnostic lab could pinpoint the cause. This was to become the pattern for every hospital in the next four years. When we notified UAB two weeks after our stay that John had two positive ELISA and a 5 band, very positive, western blot from our local walk-in clinic, they had a difficult time accepting the diagnosis. “There’s no Lyme Disease in the South,” one doctor explained. Part of the storm that formed for John, included a medical/political/insurance issue that can get you diagnosed as a hypochondriac and your doctor persecuted like a quack.
In 2010, while on 9 months of daily IV antibiotics, John becomes cationic for 3 months. We learned to feed him with a straw adapted as a pipet until he was placed on a feeding tube. We eventually sought help at New York Presbyterian at Cornell. We knew of a Lyme-psyche researcher at NYP Columbia and had hoped for some awareness of Lyme, or at least better testing, at Cornell. I guess our dramatic story of driving straight from Florida to NY for help, got around the hospital. One of the neurologists sarcastically told us in front of 6 other doctors: “You couldn’t have gotten any closer to Brian Fallon (from Columbia) if you had driven to Miami instead of New York.” The months of oral and IV antibiotics, biofilm development, and tissue sequestration must have hidden all the bacteria. John was serologically negative according to the primary lab tests and all of his symptoms were psychological. Psyche wards became our only “harbor of medical hope” for two years.
Psyche’s drugs were of little help. But the psyche realm offered electro-convulsive therapy. Those shock treatments woke him up for two 5 months periods…enough to regain his driver’s license, re-enter school, and buy some time for Lyme treatment from non-traditional Lyme doctors. Then he would relapse, not to a coma, but more of a deep autistic-zombie-mute state. The psyche docs thought he was depressed. The Lyme doctors saw infections by lab secondary markers unknown to traditional doctors. Finally, after 2 years, the psyche-ECT doctor gave up. The ECT worked only temporarily to detox John’s brain. Then we found Sponaugle Wellness Institute.
Dr. Sponaugle recognized, John had a toxic lobotomy. He knew what labs were necessary to identify John’s infections. He also understood how to penetrate the biofilms that were sequestering John’s mold, bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. With four years of immuno-suppression equal to that of an aids patient, John had developed several complications besides lyme and mold: babesia, bartonella, 6 viruses, FL1953 bacteria, candida fungus, morgellons, worms and parasites. From day one, Dr S. knew more about John’s brain than any neurologist or psyche doctor we had seen in the prior 4 years. We had seen several lyme literate doctors – very intelligent and caring doctors – but John’s case had pushed them to the limit of understanding and treatment because of his high toxic load and mental symptoms.
Presently, John is almost back to full-time functionality. If hadn’t been for Dr. S, we would have finally given up and settled for a lifetime of half-way houses, psyche drugs, and psyche wards for our son. As for most patients there, Sponaugle Wellness Institute was our last hope for medical help. Dr. Sponaugle is neither super human, nor angel, but God has given him understanding and tools that heal very sick people. We shall ever be grateful for his help through our “perfect storm” because we know there are thousands, just like John, who are still suffering and drowning in this nightmare of a storm.
Dr. Sponaugle’s Answer To This Story
Ketamine blocks the NMDA receptor which is activated by Glutamate doesn’t solve the underlying issue.
Quinolinic acid is produced by Lyme spirochete, just one of many other toxins in the world of Lyme, as a Glutamate mimicker, it would actually increase electrical voltage throughout the brain causing significant anxiety/panic.
An increase in electrical voltage caused by Quinolinic would actually activate the reward center [nucleus accumbens], it would increase dopamine release and lessen depression!!!!
However, increased voltage in the deep limbic system secondary to high Quinolinic acid levels would cause increased depression – as you are aware, my clinical studies have also proven that serotonin and taurine deficiency causes depression via the same mechanism.
Quinolinic is in my humble opinion, more likely to cause anxiety and panic with a wash on depression for the reasons stated above.
The researchers don’t have the clinical studies we have performed at Sponaugle Wellness Institute, studies comparing symptoms of depression with over 8,000 patients for neurotransmitter testing, and hundreds that have been correlated with SPECT brain scans.
All Lyme patients will suffer depression simply from toxin-induced myelin inflammation and subsequent electrical shutdown of the prefrontal cortex. Remember the study you sent me from Japan on the congregation of Lyme spirochetes in the PFC, explains somewhat the disparity regarding the most sensitive brain region to Lyme toxins being the 4-second memory, lateral PFC. I just started getting PET scans on my Lyme patients, would be a good idea on John, wish we would have gotten it when he first came to me with his toxin-induced frontal lobotomy, would be a great before and after.
However, another caveat.
Remember, I taught you that recent PET studies in Madrid have proven that the glutamatergic receptors in the PFC are responsible, actually modulate, dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens, therefore, one could argue that if the Quinolinic/Glutamate mimicry is real, the excessive Quinolinic acid production in a Lyme patient would actually increase glutamatergic activation in the prefrontal cortex which would subsequently increase the release of Dopamine to the D2 receptors in the reward center – thereby decreasing depression.
Another caveat, I know in my heart that the Lyme toxin blocks the dopamine from the D2 receptors, will be proven someday.
Many variables, never gets boring.
WE can test Johnny for Quinolinic acid – would be another biomarker for quantification of Lyme and monitor for reduction as guide to success in eradification.
I love my smart patients/ families, you guys never cease to amaze me, are you sure you are just a well read car wash owner?
You can pass this along on your Lyme blog, remember, neuro-immunologists are now suggesting that the immune system is simply an extension of the neurological system – it’s all about brain function!!!
Dr. Rick Sponaugle
Lyme Disease Treatment Program
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