With spring coming into full swing, so are ticks and the warnings of Lyme disease. But just how serious is this disease? Jason Hartman interviews Tom Grier, Executive Director of Pathology Studies at MIBDEC, a non-profit organization. Listen at: www.HolisticSurvival.com. Tom tells his horrendous personal experience with Lyme disease that went undiagnosed for years, and was reluctantly diagnosed with Multiple Schlerosis. He shares his story of new symptoms that popped up continuously, including a constant severe pressure in his head. Finally, one doctor looked at his chart and told him that he had late stage Lyme disease.
Tom discusses the conspiratorial angle between insurance companies and scientists and doctors, which has led to many people not being treated properly for the disease. He explains that Lyme disease was first described in 1975. It was not known what caused it, but two housewives in old Lyme, Connecticut, had found over 200 cases of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis right in their neighborhood, which was about 50 times the national average.
Unfortunately, the health department didn’t want anything to do with it. It was two years before they sent experts out and at first, these experts got everything wrong about the disease. It was several years before accurate information became available and yet testing and treatments have not been changed based on the pathology that is necessary to find better treatments.
Thomas Grier M.S. studied Clinical Immunology and Microbiology at the University of MN Duluth, and began a doctorate program in Geriatrics until the program was discontinued. He then worked on human vaccine development and developed antibody testing to detect bacteria in Pylonephritis. He also worked on a T-cell model of Leukemia in mice trying to target the immune system against Leukemia-Lymphocytic markers to reduce Lymphocyte levels. In 1990, he was misdiagnosed with MS and was finally diagnosed with Lyme Encephalitis in 1991. Following his fight with recovering from this disease, he wrote the “Lyme Disease Survival Manual” for patients, which sold worldwide. Currently, Tom is the Executive Director of Pathology Studies at MIBDEC. MIBDEC is an non-profit organization trying to register Dementia and MS patients to donate their brains to science to look for spirochetes (Lyme) as a possible connection to some (not all) dementias. He does this because of the refusal by health departments, the NIH or CDC to do the proper work to rule out spirochetes within the brain as a cause of our increased rate of dementia in America and around the temperate latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. Also like many in his field, he is concerned about the government not telling us the truth about epidemic diseases and the purposely funding of bad science. There are also conflicts of financial interest that prevent good science from prevailing.
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Start of Interview with Tom Grier
Jason Hartman: My pleasure to welcome Tom Grier to the show. He is the executive director of pathology studies for a group who I will let him give you the name, it’s quite a mouthful. We’re going to talk about bad science and Lyme disease today. You’re going to hear an amazing story about how he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and this is somewhat close to me. My aunt has MS. And it’s just amazing what happens out there with this misdiagnosis and how significant the threat of Lyme disease is. So I think this will be a very telling interview for you and either you or people you know may well be affected by this. It’s pretty wide spread – much more than you may think initially. Tom welcome, how are you?
Tom Grier: Oh, very good. Thanks for having me this morning.
Jason Hartman: It’s my pleasure. Now where are you coming to us from? Are you in Minnesota?
Tom Grier: I’m in Northern Minnesota. Duluth, Minnesota, right on the tip of Lake Superior.
Jason Hartman: Fantastic. Well try and stay warm up there. Tell us what M I B D E C stands for if you would.
Tom Grier: Well that could take a while. It’s a terrible name, but our legal comity said that if we put the word Minnesota and Education in the title, the non-profit organization, we’re better to get accepted. It stands for Minnesota Insect Born Disease Education Counsel, or Mibdec. And essentially what we do is we help education physicians and patients about tick borne diseases and focusing mostly on relapsing fever and lime disease.
Jason Hartman: So this all came out of your personal story, right?
Tom Grier: Oh yes. Yeah.
Jason Hartman: And what happened to you? Just give us a quick background on that.
Tom Grier: Well I was doing quite well. I was doing research in the early 1980s, medical research, and then I was working for a pharmaceutical company in the early 90s. and by 1990 I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. And it was the non-remitting, fast acting multiple sclerosis. And by the spring of 1991 I was completely disabled. I had an enlarged heart, I had pressure in my head, I could not walk, and my numbness and tingling in my feet hands and scalp were so prevalent that I could hardly do anything. I had hallucinations, I had visual sensitivity to bright lights. Just a multitude of things, but the worst thing ever was that the pressure in my head just prevented me from doing anything like reading to day to day activities. And I was getting worse every day. When I finally collapsed and ended up in the hospital, and I was waiting for a bed at a nursing home to open up, my physician had gone on vacation.
And the neurologist that came on duty earlier that Monday morning had just 6 hours earlier gotten in from a flight from an international Lyme disease conference. And she was just flabbergasted that in two years of my MS workup, nobody had considered Lyme disease or even given a Lyme test. And that’s how misunderstood that this whole process was. And it turned out that I did have Lyme disease and over the next 6 to 7 years, it was a very long road to recovery. I didn’t really drive a car for 5 years.
Jason Hartman: Wow, that’s just amazing. So how did you find out what was really affecting you?
Tom Grier: Well I actually had a good background in research and had worked with a patient that had Tertiary Syphilis. And this is a Spirochetal Illness that’s not completely dissimilar to Lyme disease. And Spirochetes are known to get into the brain. They’re known to persist and they’re known to evade antibiotic treatment. And people tend to relapse. So once I knew that Lyme disease was a Spirochetal illness, everything just clicked into place and I said yes. I don’t have MS, this is a spirochetal infection of the brain. And that’s where my research started and have continued to do so for the last two decades.
Jason Hartman: And where do you think you got Lyme disease?
Tom Grier: I’ve been to many endemic areas. But probably just from running in the woods in Minnesota, camping in the Wisconsin Dells, but I’ve also spent time in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, I had a cabin in Port Orchard, Washington, which is endemic for the ticks there. But what I want to point out is it doesn’t necessarily just have to be Lyme disease. Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria called beryllium. And there’s over 300 species of beryllium that causes relapsing fevers throughout the world. And just recently since the 1980s, we’ve had quite an outbreak of relapsing fever borrelia hermsii in the Lake Tahoe area. And many of those patients from 20 years ago that were infected have now come down with multiple sclerosis diagnosis’s. And not coincidentally I think, most of them are responding to antibiotic treatment. So I think we have to get away from the term Lyme disease and start using the term borreliosis to describe this illness.
Jason Hartman: But what is the transfer mechanism? I know you don’t know exactly how you got it, but does it happen by being bitten by tick? Or are there other ways?
Tom Grier: Yes, I’ve been bitten by many different kinds of ticks. And we have the common deer tick here called the Ixodes scapularis. And in the beginning of Lyme disease, we were told that only one type of tick can transmit Lyme disease. We now know that this is completely untrue. The Ixodes scapularis or deer tick is found throughout the United States, mostly in temperate climates. And once it attaches to you, if that tick is infected, it can transmit the spirochetal bacteria into your blood stream. And once it hits your blood stream, the bacteria right away target your blood vessels and try to penetrate your blood vessels. And they have a way of doing this very quickly.
I have a real time film that I show in my lectures where the bacteria in 31 seconds can attach to a blood vessel and penetrate through it. So this can happen very quickly. Once you’re bitten, most physicians will want to test you for Lyme disease using antibody serology tests. But it takes your body anywhere from three to six weeks to start making antibodies. So those tests are probably not positive before the process of this bacteria has latched onto your blood vessels and already gotten to deeper tissues. So the blood tests that we use are really based on bad science for diagnosing this disease. And yet insurance companies and physicians rely on this test and a lot of patients and a lot of patients are denied treatment because they are testing negative, but the science is not there to support these tests.
Jason Hartman: So let’s look at, I just want to before we leave that point you just made about insurance companies and doctors and so forth, I want to look at the conspiratorial angle there. Like Deep Throat said, follow the money. Are they benefiting by misdiagnosing?
Tom Grier: Well yeah that argument can be made and was made in a very good book by the editor of Discover Magazine, Pamela Weintraub – she wrote a book called Cure Unknown, which actually follows the conflicts of interest of the scientists involved with Lyme disease. Looking specifically at their patents, vaccines and the Lyme testing. Now if a patient is not treated properly, they have to keep coming back for testing over and over again. And this is conducive to the people that own the patents on the test. But here’s where a big conflict of interest is. A lot of these scientists work for our government and they use tax dollars on tax dollar paid studies to do the research to get the information to create those patents. So our tax dollars really paid for these people to get patents and to make money. And that really is alarming to me. And so there is a real conflict of interest. The two tests that are commonly used for Lyme disease, every time those tests are used, people in our government actually make money on loyalties. So I would consider that a conflict of interest.
Jason Hartman: Sounds like a real conflict of interest. So what else should people know about this? Tell us more.
Tom Grier: Sure. Well, Lyme disease was first described in 1975 as, and in 1975 they did not know what caused it, but two house wives in Old Lyme, Connecticut had found over 200 cases of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis right in their neighborhood. Now juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis in children, should be a relatively rare thing. But it was about 50 times the national average. So Polly Murray took this information to the health department and they didn’t want to have anything to do with it. They dismissed her, and she was a public health nurse. And so after pestering and pestering, it took two years before they sent experts out, so called experts. And this was the problem. In 1975 they did now know what caused Lyme disease and they got just about everything you could get wrong about the disease, they got it wrong.
First they told us it was only found in and around Old Lyme, Connecticut and north east United States. So most of the United States just ignored the illness. They said only a tick called the ixodes dammini tick could transmit the disease. And the dammini tick was only found in Old Lyme, Connecticut. Well it turns out that this was put into the literature but no one’s taking credit for this new species of tick. No one did any research if it was a new species or not and it turns out that it was sort of a made up species. The ixodes dammini tick never existed. It turns out the common deer tick, found throughout the northern latitudes of the northern hemisphere was the cause of Lyme disease. We were told it was an arthritic disease only but now we know it’s primarily a neurological disease that infects the brain. We were told the tests that were developed at that time were about 100% accurate. The tests came along about 6 years after the discovery of Lyme arthritic. We were told it was an extracellular disease, and that the spirochete did not penetrate tissues or human cells. Turns out that this is where they hide and we have good pathology evidence to support that. We were told that there was no evidence of relapse after you were treated two weeks with the cheapest antibiotic, doxycycline. We have six studies – some of them followed patients for 5 years and some of them were paid for health departments showing that in fact in some of these studies, patients had up to 58% relapse rate after being treated. So just about everything you could get wrong about the disease, they got wrong.
Jason Hartman: Unbelievable.
Tom Grier: Well, the worst is these are the same experts that are telling us now to trust them and believe that they’re telling us and they’re the same people that own patents on the vaccines and the tests and are continuing to get all of the grant money for the research that they want to do. So they’re asking us to believe that they’re the experts even though they got everything wrong. Let me give you an idea. They say that you have to not only have a positive test, but you have to have two consecutive positive tests before you can be diagnosed. And this is called two tier testing. But when the New York health department and John Hopkins University tested this two tier protocol, the New York found it was 82% inaccurate and the John Hopkins found it was 72% inaccurate. So that means you had more likelihood of being diagnosed if you flipped a coin and called heads or tails, then it was to have two tier testing done. So this is where we’re at with Lyme disease. In 20 years, we’ve never really changed our treatment protocols, our approach to this disease based on pathology.
And pathology is what we’re saying has to be done. We’re saying we want to do brain autopsies, we want to do heart autopsies, we want tissue collection and we want to find this bacteria in these patients we say are already cured. The trouble is the experts that run the medical system will not allow pathology studies to be done and the few pathologists that have been doing this work, they have really harassed and gone after and made it very difficult for them. So one international pathologist that we work with in our group, Dr. Judith Miklossy had to go from Philadelphia to Canada and now back to France to continue her research. Because she does excellent research with just excellent references and it’s all corroborated by other researchers but she can’t get it published because many of the people that run the medical journals are people that own the patents on the Lyme disease tests. And here again a conflict of interest has popped up and nobody is addressing it except perhaps Pam Weintraub in her book Cure Unknown.
Jason Hartman: Wow. Okay, so in terms of prevention and protection, what advice do you have there?
Tom Grier: Some very simple things. First of all, we know prevention doesn’t work very well because in a study of 169 Lyme patients, over 90% of them knew exactly what to do on Nantucket Island to avoid getting infected, and yet they still got infected. And so you have to practice what I’m about to preach. And that is to wear light colored clothing when you’re in a wooded area. Tuck your pants into your socks, and to use a bug spray called permethrin. That’s what the military uses and it’s perfectly safe and effective on clothes. And it’s about 100 times more effective than Deet. Deet is a great mosquito repellent but it’s not a good tick repellent. At least from what we’ve done locally here in the state parks.
But permethrin is just absolutely awesome. And once you spray your shoes and socks and pants, it can last up to 3 or 4 weeks. So you can keep using those outdoor clothes with one application. Once you come in from a wooded area, if you think you’ve been exposed to ticks, the first thing you want to do is to take your clothes off and put them in a hot dryer, which will kill all the ticks that are on your clothes and then do a tick search through your scalp and hair and other parts of the body, just to make sure you don’t have any ticks attached. In the spring, the tick that we look for is very small. It’s about the size of a period in a sentence. So very, very small to see and you definitely have a difficult time seeing them, feeling them or detecting them. And that’s why they can be attached for sometimes 24 to 48 hours and you never see the tick until it becomes engorged with blood. And by that time, you’re probably infected.
Jason Hartman: So they’re much smaller initially, so you really have to take a much more careful look. My dog had a tick recently and it was kind of fat by the time I noticed it. So that’s the thing. You’ve got to notice them early, when they’re small, right?
Tom Grier: Absolutely. Like that engorged tick that you had on your dog that could be a sign that your dog has been exposed and you have to consider Lyme disease, and interestingly enough, usually veterinarians across the country are much more aggressive with their antibiotic treatment of a dog than we are with the treatment of a human. So there’s a paradigm shift here where the veterinarians really believe this is an aggressive persistent disease which needs to be treated aggressively, as opposed to the medical community for humans.
Jason Hartman: Isn’t that interesting? It’s just the opposite huh? How small is a tick initially?
Tom Grier: There’s three main stages of the tick. The larval stage is born and really is uninfected. We think they’re born uninfected. And then the larval stage in the spring will often feed on the first small mammal that comes along, which is often a mouse. And the mouse turns out to be the reservoir that contains and maintains the Borrelia in nature. So if the larval tick feeds on the mouse, then the tick becomes infected. And some areas, like central Wisconsin the mice are very highly infected with Lyme disease. So the likelihood of the larval becoming infected are good. Well then the following spring, after the tick molts, the nymphal stage is very, very veraciously hungry and they’ll seek out any meal on anything. So the dog walks by, a human walks by, they sense the heat of that person and latch on. And they’ll keep crawling on their clothes until they find skin, and then they attach and feed. Then the final stage is in the fall – the adult female tries to get another blood meal so she has enough energy to lay eggs, and usually they get that blood meal on larger animals like the deer. But the deer do not maintain the infection, so the deer is sort of like the Club Med of ticks, where the male and the female meet on the deer, they mate and then they drop off, and then the deer plays very little role after that in the infection process. So you’ve got three stages, larva and nymph, which are very small, and then the adult ticks, the adult female ticks can be almost the size of a dog tick.
Jason Hartman: Unbelievable. Gosh, I don’t even know what I want to ask you or where I want to go with this, but talk about I guess the autopsy type stuff that you’re working on where you’re looking at brain tissue. Is that it?
Tom Grier: Yeah, we actually have for those stations of multiple sclerosis or a history of Lyme disease that have developed dementia, Parkinson’s, MS. They can write to us at, it’s very simple, [email protected] And what we do is we try to register patients that are willing to pay to have this research done after they die, and the family and friends. And you’d be surprised how many want to do this because they’re so frustrated with the medical community. And once the brain or the brain tissues are harvested, they’re sent to a lab that we have that’s specially trained to look at immune stains, looking for the bacteria, culturing the bacteria, or doing silver staining looking for the bacteria. And this is not something that hasn’t been done before. There’s actually a history of the borrelia spirochete causing multiple sclerosis going all the way back to 1911 in the Lancet Journal in England.
And the main scientists were German scientists that were working on this, and over 50 publications happened before World War 2. But since most of these scientists were Jewish/German scientists, when World War 2 broke out a lot of them ended up in concentration camps and only a few escaped.
Gabrielle Steiner came to the United States and continued his work up until 1957, and did his work in Ann Arbor, Michigan. And his work is just amazing, and we still have a stain that we use today called Steiner Stain that we still use to detect spirochetes in brain tissue. So what the conclusion of their work, and the work that we’re doing, is that it’s not just Lyme disease that can cause an MS-like condition in the brain, but also other relapsing fevers.
In America, the relapsing fever Borrelia Hermsii has been associated with outbreaks of multiple sclerosis. And let me read you just one sentence off this study, “Ten MS patients from the Lake Tahoe area had their blood drawn. They had been previously exposed to the chipmunk tick, and they all had multiple sclerosis but no evidence of Lyme disease.” And this is 1985. They took the samples, and they sent them to two different laboratories, a state laboratory and a university laboratory and they came up with identical results. Two out of the ten samples were highly positive for Borrelia Hermsii. Here’s their conclusion, “Since only two of the eight MS patients were positive, it seems to me that the evidence is that these agents have nothing to do with multiple sclerosis. And that no further studies are needed.” Now, two out of eight is 25% of these MS patients tested positive for relapsing fever. Well I would say that’s very significant.
What if there was a 25% chance of after your children have chicken pox, that they develop multiple sclerosis? You would be very, very concerned. And yet here they’re just totally dismissing it because not all 8 of the patients tested positive.
And the tests that we use by the way, are very poor. They’re very poor at detecting this. So 2 out of 8 I think is very significant, that’s 25%, and quite consistent with other studies that have done on multiple sclerosis. But this also tells us that there’s a paradigm, how should I say it, they are thinking of multiple sclerosis as only being caused by one thing. And we don’t know what causes MS – it could be many things. It could be viruses, it could be auto immune, it could be genetics. So what we’re saying is since there’s good pathology evidence that some of this MS is actually an infectious etiology, we want to separate that data. We want to say okay, let’s recognize the infectious component of MS and separate it from all the other data, so what’s left over you can do your research on looking at other things, whether it’s virus or autoimmunity or what. But then take the data that we have with infectious MS and do the research there.
And that’s going to require better studies and more money, and pathology. And we simply, all the money that we have for Lyme research and relapsing fever really seems to be going into studies about ticks, not humans. And this to me is very disturbing. It doesn’t help any of the patients that currently have multiple sclerosis. So we want to get the medical community to start doing brain pathology studies and look at the infectious component of multiple sclerosis as a whole complete separate part of the MS process.
Jason Hartman: Very good mission there. Anything you’d like to say just to wrap up about this? And give out that e-mail address once more if you would as well, and the name of the foundation.
Tom Grier: Okay. It’s [email protected] The organization is MIBDEC. We try to register MS patients for brain autopsies. Unfortunately we have to ask the patients to sort of fund this. And tissue collection runs about $1000, just to prep and store and stain the tissue so that it can be worked on for the next 20 years, cost about $2000. But none of this goes to us or any individual. It goes to those physicians and technicians and labs that are actually prepping the material and that has to be done in a very short time. We have about a 24 to 48 hour window where that really has to be done. So there’s no getting around that. And we would love to get grant money, but we have none.
Jason Hartman: So have you applied for grants? How is that going?
Tom Grier: Yes and other organizations have, and currently there’s an organization in Wisconsin that is pushing for pathology based research and trying to raise money. But it is a very difficult thing and every time we raise our head, so called Lyme experts come out of the closet and say well, there’s no need for this, we already know everything we need to know about Lyme disease. And unfortunately they get the final word in the press.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, unfortunate, but that’s the way it is, huh? Hopefully you’ll make some changes in that and thank you so much for doing the work you’re doing Tom. I appreciate you being on the show, and increasing the awareness about this.
Tom Grier: Well thank you very much. I’d be absolutely glad to go into more detail about this with patients if they write us at our e-mail.
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Narrator: Thank you for joining us today for the Holistic Survival Show. Protecting the people, places and profits you care about in uncertain times. Be sure to listen to our Creating Wealth Show, which focuses on exploiting the financial and wealth creation opportunities in today’s economy. Learn more at www.JasonHartman.com or search “Jason Hartman” on iTunes. This show is produced by the Hartman Media Company, offering very general guidelines and information. Opinions of guests are their own, and none of the content should be considered individual advice. If you require personalized advice, please consult an appropriate professional. Information deemed reliable, but not guaranteed. (Image: Flickr | John Tann)
Transcribed by Ralph
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