Item 3.) Movie about Lyme disease called “Under Our Skin” features segment on ALS

David Martz, MD, who is mentioned in the “Item 1” page, is one of many clinicians and patients who is featured in a fantastic documentary about Lyme disease that is definitely worth the investment of time and money to see. This professionally-produced, award-winning documentary is called “Under Our Skin.” (It has a 2008 copyright.) The movie demonstrates the many different presentations of Lyme disease, mentions the coinfections, shows that the illness can indeed become chronic and life-threatening, and discusses the politics of medicine that have contributed to the under-diagnosis and often inadequate treatment of this condition.

To learn more about (and to purchase) the movie, “Under Our Skin,” see the official website:  www.underourskin.com/film.html.

Here is a transcript of Dr. Martz’ first-person testimonial that is in the film “Under Our Skin”:

“About three years ago, I became ill with a disease that was ultimately thought to be ALS or Lou Gehrig disease, and I prepared to die within about two years’ time. My neurologist tells me that I was progressing so rapidly that, without the diagnosis of Lyme disease, and antibiotics, I would have continued to decline, losing strength, eventually becoming bed-bound, eventually unable to talk or swallow or breathe, and would’ve died in a matter of a couple of years – just like anybody else with ALS. So I was started on high doses of intravenous antibiotics – only to see what would happen, with no guarantees. To our amazement, within a month, my energy improved, so instead of being exhausted in an hour, I could be up and about and active for four or five hours. We’re now two years out and I find that if I go off of the antibiotics, I lose stamina and I’m not yet back to my old self. But the change is absolutely dramatic.”

This first-person testimonial, which shows Dr. Martz speaking while in a seated position, is interspersed with before-and-after home video of Dr. Martz which shows the severity of his previous condition and then shows his progression of improvement (such as the improvement in his ability to stand and walk independently).

Later in the movie it is shown that Dr. Martz is back to practicing medicine, with a focus on treating Lyme disease patients. One of Martz’ Lyme disease patients had previously been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. This patient, who is featured in the movie, is Ben Petrick, a former professional baseball player. At the time of the filming, Petrick was being treated with intravenous antibiotics. Petrick mentioned getting a central line (central venous catheter) installed, which enabled him to self-administer prescription intravenous antibiotics at home (which he is shown doing in the movie). Petrick said, “Six months into the Lyme treatment, it’s, without a doubt, better. I mean, no question in my mind. I feel like I’m getting back to being myself. Compared to what I had been in the past – I think it’s night and day.”

Here is a link to a short article (with date “15 March, 2010”) called “TOUCHED BY LYME: Dr. Dave Martz, who overcame his own ALS death sentence with Lyme treatment, will keynote CALDA conference April 24”:  www.lymedisease.org/news/touchedbylyme/372.html. Note that the article says: “Martz devoted the next two and a half years to a project that gave extended antibiotics to about 90 ALS patients, and demonstrated objective improvements in 15% of them.”

A case study was published about Dr. Martz’ recovery (this is repeated from the “Item 1” page):

“Motor neuron disease recovery associated with IV ceftriaxone and anti-Babesia therapy” by Harvey and Martz, Acta Neurologica Scandinavica, February 2007, Volume 115, Issue 2, pages 129-131. See:  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1600-0404.2006.00727.x/abstract 

(Note that it has not been proved that Dr. Martz actually had ALS, and it is possible that he had Lyme disease that was misdiagnosed as ALS.)

(Dr. Martz was treated with “anti-Babesia therapy,” so here’s a link to an article about Babesia treatments:  www.personalconsult.com/articles/schaller_articles/SchalArtBabesiaUpdate.pdf.)

Also within the movie “Under Our Skin,” are scenes featuring home videos of a woman named Mandy Hughes who had Lyme disease involving severe neurological symptoms. She was severely disabled, and at times was unable to walk or even to move her clenched limbs. After seeing a “Lyme Literate Medical Doctor” (LLMD), she was treated with intravenous antibiotics. It is very useful to see that in her case, as it is for so many people with systemic infections, undergoing the antibiotic treatment was an extremely difficult process – but she was willing to do it with the hope that she might recover. At one point she is shown having a severe Herxheimer reaction while undergoing IV antibiotic treatment at home, and her reaction appears to culminate in life-threatening anaphylaxis. Then, a later scene shows her in bed in what appears to be a hospital room. She survives, and in the “BONUS FEATURES” for the “Under Our Skin” DVD within the “UPDATES ON CHARACTERS” section, we learn that she appears to be making a remarkable recovery; by that point in time, she was undergoing oral antibiotic therapy (after having taken a break from antibiotics) while she was also back at work 30 hours a week and attending nursing school. She no longer had any of her obvious debilitating symptoms and looked happy, bright and enthusiastic about her future.

Here is a web page that gives an update on Mandy Hughes’ health progress: http://underourskin.com/blog/?p=111

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