Dr. Richard Horowitz
I just returned from lecturing in Paris at the CISN conference, which was the largest integrative/natural medicine conference to ever be held in France (and the largest I have ever attended!). There were over 3500 people who came to hear doctors speak on a wide variety of subjects. Speakers included Professor Henri Joyeux on prevention of Parkinson's/Alzherimer's and cancer; Dr Eric Menat on herbal therapies for G.I. disorders; Dr Julien Venesson, Dr Michel Lorgeril and Thierry Soucar on the role of diet in the creation of modern day medical epidemics including diabetes and cancer (with the benefits of the Mediterranean diet); Dr Rueff, Dr Thierry Hertoghe, and Dr Jean Paul Curtay spoke on the benefits of functional medicine, hormone therapy and the Okinawa diet in living a long, healthy life, and I spoke on Lyme disease and co-infections, discussing clinical manifestations, problems with testing, and how we can use a functional medicine approach to improve clinical outcomes. A large number of people came from all over France to hear my talk, some of them in wheelchairs, who were suffering with Lyme disease and unable to get help. I did a question and answer after the talk, which lasted over an hour. I was struck by the medical/political issues that affect Europe (just like the US) where patients one by one told me their stories of how they had suffered for a long period of time before getting a diagnosis and how they can't find a doctor in France to help them. Many of them are using my book (in french) as a reference guide to work with their doctors, but the French medical system is limiting the use of antibiotics to 7 days at a time, and physicians are under pressure from the medical system to not treat the disease. The conclusion from my trip to Belgium several weeks ago and France this past week is that they are in a full blown epidemic based on the figures by the WHO (over a 1/4 million cases in Eastern Europe alone, estimated to be over one million cases per year). Insensitive testing, combined with multiple species of borrelia and Babesia are making people very ill. Borrelia miyamotoi is now showing up in 3% of the ticks and 5% of animals in France, it is up to 15% in other parts of Europe, and 4 different Babesia species are in up to 40% of the ticks without reliable blood tests to pick up these different diseases (they are using the standard ELISA as a screening test, with a Western blot only using the B-31 strain, which is not very sensitive to pick up multiple European strains). I wrote a 19 page report to the Belgian Parliament last week, when they asked me to comment on the recent Lyme symposium in Brussels that I spoke at, and gave them a detailed scientific overview of testing and persistence. The Belgian Senators and Parliament were open to suggestions to improve the health of the Belgian people, but the French health authorities IMO do no recognize the dire situation they find themselves in. The stories (like here in the US) reflect a large number of suffering people who are caught in the middle of a medical debate, while the science is rapidly changing. Regular international medical forums where politicians, insurers, medical doctors, scientists and researchers come together is essential if we are to find solutions to global tick-borne epidemics.