Thursday, 15 March 2012


Lyme disease
Autism and Borrelia 
(Translation of TV interview posted previously here )

Meeting Professor Luc Montagnier
March 2nd, 2012 at the UNESCO, Paris (France)

Professor Luc Montagnier, biologist
virologist, Nobel Prize for medicine in 2008.

In 1993 he created a Foundation for Aids Research and Prevention
with the UNESCO.

Today he is using new technologies to explore chronic infectious diseases.

In the 2nd part of an exclusive interview for, he talks about

the bacterial origin of autism and he tells us about an emerging disease:
Lyme disease.

- Are there any other research areas that are not discussed enough

and that you think are important,

that you or other researchers are involved with?

- Chronic illnesses are not only illnesses of elderly people,

they can also affect children like autism for example.

- 150,000 babies and young children?

- Yes in France, and these numbers have been steadily increasing

over the last 20 years

and has now reached epidemic proportions.

Of course many causes have been considered

but what we have observed is that

the infectious hypothesis has to be taken very seriously.

So very often we are detecting bacterial signals 

in the blood of these children,

and more importantly if these latent infections are treated 

with long term antibiotics,

we can cure more than one out of two of these children.

- Tell us about this bacteria Boriali... Borrelia,

some doctors like the chronimed group

claim that 80% of French people carry this bacteria,

it is the same bacteria that causes Lyme disease, right?

...and there is also a connection with autism.

Tell us about this bacteria because quite a few people

are becoming concerned about it.

- The problem is that this bacteria can also give chronic infections.

It is a bacteria normally transmitted by ticks,

and normally it can be cured by a few weeks of antibiotics.

But unfortunately it often becomes chronic

and can affect the joints extremely seriously,

there's also neuro-borreliosis which will affect the brain

and may have neuropsychiatric manifestations.

So it is an illness that has to be taken very seriously

but unfortunately there is a controversy about

whether the infection can be chronic.

Since we are detecting bacterial signals in the blood

of a certain number of patients,

I think long term chronic infection does exist.

And it has to be treated long term.

Are all cases of Lyme disease caused by this

specific bacteria? Probably not.

It is a group of bacteria.

A tick can host up to 30 different bacteria,

so it is the combination of these bacteria which can

lead to the illness, not just Borrelia.

You mentioned autism before,

that's right, in a minority of children we are detecting this bacteria

but it is often associated with serious neurological symptoms

like epilepsy,

and it can be treated in the same way by long-term antibiotics.

But the problem is that it is underestimated by doctors

and often... in addition, tests are not very reliable,

 serological tests.

We prefer to use molecular testing,

that we call PCR tests

which will detect DNA traces of the organism,

and especially our famous technique of "signals"

which will allow us to detect these chronic infections very early.

- It is an illness that is not often talked about

there is no budget for research?

- No that's right.

And it is a global disease, not only in France,

the infection can be found in the whole world,

I don't want to compare it to AIDS but it's almost like AIDS,

in fact this bacteria is a close relative to the syphilis spirochete,

they are in the same family,

of course syphilis is a lot rarer these days

but is has now been replaced by Lyme disease

which is not sexually transmitted but through tick bites

or from mother to child

and there are probably other means of transmission

that we are not aware of.

- In the United States at least there are signs

warning people, there is more prevention taking place,

there is more communication about the illness,

in France people are not warned about this.

- (In the USA) There are very strong patients groups

or groups of parents of affected children

but there is also a lot of controversy

for economic reasons.

In the USA health insurance is private,

there is no public health insurance,

they are private health insure companies,

they question every case,

"is the illness really linked to the bacteria",

"can it be identified in chronic infections".

So there are groups of doctors and insurance companies

who won't agree to pay for the treatment because

the bacteria has not been found.

The antiobiotic treatment will not be paid for by insurance

because the illness cannot be linked to a bacteria.

However things are changing

I too am pushing in the same direction

We are in contact with American associations

that are very involved of course.

- And what reaction do you get in France

when you talk like this? Do you have to say things differently?

- No I say the same things.

Lyme disease is not well known at all,

yet there are areas of France that highly contaminated

it starts with wild animals being infected

by ticks that carry the bacteria

but because of suburban sprawling

wild animals are in closer contact with domestic animals

and with people,

particularly in rural settings where the risk 

is increasing.

- So have you conducted other research on Lyme disease,

other things you would like to tell us about?

- Regarding Lyme disease we have tests that are very accurate

which tell us that Borrelia is not always implicated.

There are similar illnesses which will also be called Lyme disease

for which no Borrelia can be found,

maybe other intracellular bacteria play the same role. 

- Would you like to add something?

Something you would particularly like to stress?

- I would like to stress the need for a new model,

a prevention model.

Prevention is crucial,

yet too little money is being spent on research and prevention.

I suggest that 50% of research fundings be spent on prevention.

Education and information are already playing an important role

but I am suggesting scientific and medical preventative measures.

Much can be achieved by doing this

we have at our disposal very advanced technological tests

but they require validation of course

so research and money is needed

clinical trials cost a lot of money,

changing the way people think is also needed:

changing the way doctors think

so that they are more open to prevention than to treatment

by writing long prescriptions.

We will also need to change the way we all think

so that we take a more active role in prevention

by changing our attitude to prevention,

by getting tested more regularly as I mentioned before

oxidants, bacterial and viral infections, 

these have to be tested regularly,

more so as we age our immune systems become less efficient

not like in AIDS, it is a slow declining process,

in fact sometimes I say that AIDS is simply the extreme decline

in immune function,

aging itself causes this decline in immune function,

what's more our environment like living in cities,

electromagnetic radiations, pollution, etc.

Of course trying to minimize negative environmental factors

as well as changing our attitudes.

Politicians will also have to become aware

they have to think towards the long term.

This new approach to medicine may cost money

(prevention, specialised units, etc)

but in the long term it will bring in money,

it will slash spending

as we won't be faced with the ever-growing costs

of people with Alzheimer's disease being cared for in homes,

of cancer treatment, AIDS treatment,

both involving long-term chemotherapy.

- High time, and I hope your message will be heard.

People listen to you, you know,

many people would like to be in my place right now,

in any case I'll encourage everybody to share this video

with as many people as possible

because all this needs to be heard

and must spread like a positive virus!

- We have new technological means at our disposal

which are not well known yet

but that medicine must take into account.

- Hmm, hmm hmm hmm hmmm.

Thank you very much.

("Une ordonnance pour la France" by Frédéric Bizard, preface by professor Montagnier,

is a book on the topic of public health policies, it openly hopes to influence

the debate in this 2012 presidential election campaign)

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