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By Karen Mills, The Patriot

Gregory Bach, D.O., delivered an informative presentation to the Lyme Support Group of the Lehigh Valley, on June 10. Dr. Bach specialized in the treatment of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.

“I became interested in this field when my wife lost 80% of her hearing and 50% of her eyesight,” said Bach. “We lived in another state at that time, and the doctors in the area were unable to diagnose the cause of her hearing and vision problems.”

With proper diagnosis and treatment of Lyme, Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis, all tick-borne disease, Dr. Bach’s wife, Debbie, is now a prominent and successful dog trainer, teaching helper and companion dogs for the handicapped.

Showing several videos of some of his most severe cases, Bach held the undivided attention of his audience. His cases ranged from children to adults, with some of the patients initially needing to be carried into his office. Some were unable to speak, straighten their legs or control their muscle spasms. Given antibiotics, the patients responded favorably to treatment, with all of them showing improvement, and some regaining full use of their limbs.

“I see a lot of patients who are diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and Chronic Fatigue patients end up   with a positive diagnosis for Lyme, and many of the patients with an MD diagnosis improve with treatment, as they are also often diagnosed with Lyme.”

Bach spoke of the multi-faceted symptoms of Lyme.

“It attacks any and every part of the body. I have people come into my office suffering from seizures , and chest pains, migraine-like headaches, depression, muscle aches, memory problems, joint pain, and extreme fatigue. Usually by the time see me, they’ve been to between 10 and 30 other doctors and specialists.”

Lyme and other tick-borne diseases are difficult to diagnose correctly for several reasons. Just like Syphilis, Lyme is also the great imitator, and people can show up in a doctor’s office with just migraine symptoms and be easily misdiagnosed. The diagnosing labs have different criteria for a positive test. If the patient has had the disease for a long period of time, the immune systems has often broken down, and the test does not show a positive result due to the body being so overwhelmed with spirochetes that it is unable to produce antibiotics.

There is a great debate among the medical community about the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease. Some doctors feel that treatment should extend for more than four weeks, while others think that Lyme disease can be cured in a short amount of time.

Bach, who has been appointed as the medical advisor to the Lyme Disease Initiative of 1999, a bill co-sponsored by Senators Santorum and Dodd, is hopeful that the bill will pass both the Senate and House, bringing $125 million for research and treatment of this debilitating disease. It will provide a chance to find a proper diagnostic tool and set universal treatment guidelines, as well as educate the medical community about the large range of symptoms that represent Lyme disease.

Bach also fielded questions from the audience. It was not uncommon to hear of whole families who have contracted Lyme. Also, present were long-suffering patients with Lyme-like symptoms, yet still undiagnosed by doctors they had seen.

Although Lyme disease is mainly carried by deer and deer ticks, the ticks are also carried by birds, chipmunks, mice, squirrels, and other animals that travel the paths of everyone’s backyard.

Dr. Bach was appointed to Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Health's Tick and Lyme Disease Task Force, August 13, 2014.