Friday, 17 December 2010


An excellent response to the much contested Chicargo Tribune article link here

The response is from the well respected Knight Science Journalism Tracker known for it's peer review within science journalism

Chicago Tribune off balance on chronic Lyme disease

'This is what happens when reporters make up their minds about a controversial story before beginning to write.'

'In short, what Callahan and Tsouderos have done is to argue that chronic Lyme disease can’t exist because the people who say it does are nuts.

A far better approach would have been to report the evidence, pro and con, and to quote the most persuasive advocates for and against chronic Lyme disease–not the least persuasive. And to give both sides equal time to speak.

(Thanks for the heads-up to Pam Weintraub, features editor of Discover Magazine and author of Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic.)
- Paul Raeburn'

Go to the link to the article to read the full story.

Thanks to Pam Weintraube for alerting Knight and also for her enlightening comment on this article.

Pamela Weintraub Says:
December 16th, 2010 at 6:02 pm

'Thanks for posting.
The problem, as I see it, is that these journalists have conflated two issues: One issue, a look at the predators abusing patients carrying the diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease, is a worthy endeavor.

The second, an examination of the debate over why symptoms persist after short-term antibiotic treatment, is also a worthy endeavor.

But these issues –thought interrelated because a dearth of knowledge leaves a vacuum for predators– are not the same.

In order to examine the possible reasons for chronic symptoms after treatment for Lyme disease, one would need to quote credible, university-based scientists on the range of views and interpretations.

Instead, the journalists quote scientists with one view, but when it comes to balancing that view, they attempt to do so by quoting the very criminals, predators, and crazies they are trying to expose.

The implication, of course is that these sources must provide the counterweight because there ARE no credible, university-based scientists who disagree with the contention of the article, or the experts quoted.

Of course, this is blatantly untrue –and one does not need to look far or even make many phone calls to find a range of views among credible academic experts with high visibility in the peer review.

Either these reporters started out with an agenda –and thus were satisfied to ignore like-weight experts with alternate views—or else they failed to realize these experts exist. In other words, either they were biased or they were incompetent.

And it is too bad –because an expose on predatory practices in this arena is sorely needed.

A final note: The issue of Lyme disease, in general, is confounded by co-infections carried by Lyme ticks, and by a range of Lyme disease strains, only recently described in the peer review.

Some of our top scientists now suggest these strains may present variably in terms of symptom sets, in terms of testing –and yes, perhaps even in terms of length of treatment to kill.

It is too bad that these journalists failed to attend the recent Institute of Medicine conference, Lyme Disease and Other Tick-Borne Diseases: The State of the Science, or even watch the
webcast, where many of the nuances and complexities were discussed by the top experts in the world.

Pam Weintraub
Features Editor, Discover MagazineAuthor, Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic, winner of the American Medical Writers Association award for best book, 2009'

Earier posts on the Institute of Medicine Workshop can be found here Dr Ostfeld's presentation
Ben Luft's presentation
Pam Weintraube's presentation
Nat Cap Lyme Greg Skall presentation
but so many more well worth listening to from the IOM link

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