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Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic Paperback – October 13, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Pamela Weintraub’s book is compelling, clear and troubling.”
–Patti Adcroft, editorial director of Discover magazine

“In Cure, Unknown, Pamela Weintraub has produced both the definitive book about Lyme disease and associated disorders and a survivor’s account of a grueling medical odyssey. Weintraub is a masterful science writer and storyteller, and she tackles the quarrels and quagmires surrounding this baffling illness with intelligence and pathos. This is an important and unforgettable book, destined to make a lasting contribution to the field of investigative health journalism.”
–Kaja Perina, editor in chief of Psychology Today

“A thoroughly researched and well-written account of the disease’s controversial history.” --Jane Brody, New York Times ”Pam Weintraub, veteran science writer, weaves personal narrative with hard-hitting investigative journalism to bring the underground epidemic of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases up from under theradar.” -Rebecca Wells, author of Ya-Yas in Bloom and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. ”I sometimes wonder if the only investigative writers who will possess the necessary temerity to remove the white gloves and tackle these putative experts to the ground will be those, like Weintraub and thelate Randy Shilts, whose personal experience demands that they follow the rocky trail that leads to the truth.” -Hillary Johnson, author of Osler’s Web: Inside the Labyrinth of the Chronic Fatigue SyndromeEpidemic ”Millions suffering from symptoms of a mysterious disease need suffer confusion and loss no longer. If you want to know the real story behind Lyme disease and how to find your way back to health, read this book.” -Mark Hyman, MD, author of the New York Times bestseller, UltraMetabolism. ”Science journalism at its best.” --Amiram Katz, MD, Clinical Faculty, Neurology Department, Yale School of Medicine ”Weintraub turns a tragic yet eye-opening experience into a shocking exposure of what can happen when egos, greed, and peer pressure supercede objective evidence, allowing patients to suffer chronic,disabling illness.” –Donna Chavez, Booklist ”Exhaustively researched and highly recommended.” –Tina Neville, Library Journal ”A tale of biological complexities, scientific turf battles, political intrigue, human egos and money – lots of it.” –Dorothy Kupcha Leland, Sacramento Bee ”Living with Lyme gave Weintraub both the insight and the dogged ambition to find out some truths... rather than remaining stuck at the pro-Lyme, anti-Lyme debate, Weintraub spent many hoursinterviewing researchers who are experts in the ticks that spread Lyme, and the bacterial spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, that causes it. What she found is that these researchers -- at places like theState University of New York at Stony Brook on Long Island, and the University of California at Davis -- are slowly figuring out how complex the bacteria and the disease are. And Weintraub said, theseresearchers, by and large, confirm what many Lyme patients have learned through bitter experience -- the bacteria can cause a persistent infection that may not be treated easily by a couple ofweeks of antibiotics.” --Robert Miller, Danbury News-Times ”The view from inside the tick tornado: Sober but scary...A science and health journalist, Weintraub writes clearly and passionately about a mysterious illness that has confounded physicians, patients andscientists for more than three decades, while she tries to balance personal narrative and objective journalism... a comprehensive and compassionate guide to a dreaded illness named after a bucolic,tick-infested town on Long Island Sound.” --Bill Williams, Hartford Courant ”In the war of information on Lyme disease, patient activist groups have started from a marked disadvantage to the medical establishment in terms of visibility and credibility. That may be changing, and science journalist Pamela Weintraub’s new book, “Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic” (St. Martin’s Press), could be one reason. Weintraub, a senior editor at Discover magazine, uses her family’s protracted Lyme odyssey as the jumping off point for an exploration into the history, politics and, predominantly, the patient experience of the tick-borne disease.” --- Susan Morse, Washington Post

About the Author

Pamela Weintraub is a senior editor at Discover magazine. Previously editor in chief of OMNI and consulting editor at Psychology Today, she has covered science and biomedicine for national media for more than twenty-five years. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Rev Upd edition (October 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312378130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312378134
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.3 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #211,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Ms. Weintraub, editor of the science magazine Discover, provides a detailed and well-researched account of her family's struggle with Lyme disease and the devastation it can cause. Also included are other gripping case-studies, a very interesting and useful history of the discovery of this tick-born illness, and a summary of current research and findings regarding Borrelia burgdorferi (the bacteria that causes Lyme). The account of current standard medical policy as dictated by the IDSA (Infectious Disease Society of America) and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) offer a disturbing, and often tragic, portrait of how basic science research and evidence-based clinical practice can be ignored in favor of poor and unreliable "standard diagnostic tests" and guidelines that ignore vast bodies of evidence and research, yet form today's mainstream approach to medicine. Indeed, the most disturbing part of the Lyme disease epidemic is not the disease itself (which, if detected early, can usually be successfully treated with antibiotics), but the distortion of the peer-reviewed research by a few, so-called "medical experts" that have set current medical diagnostic guidelines. The result of this is the under-diagnosis of Lyme disease by several orders of magnitude. Under-diagnosis and poor detection by the majority of doctors leads to dissemination of the bacteria n the body, which burrow into almost every tissue type, most notably the central and peripheral nervous system, heart, and joints. Once disseminated, the disease becomes more serious and can cause long-lasting and permanent damage. In late-stage, or disseminated Lyme disease, treatment becomes more difficult, as antibiotics often take months..if not years..to reach bacteria in the brain and nervous system.Read more ›
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Many have suggested people give this book to their doctors. Great idea, but do not be surprised if their docs just dismiss the whole idea of chronic Lyme. Patients would have better luck getting their docs to watch the Lyme documentary Under Our Skin. I did that with a few of my Lyme-denying docs, altho it was like pulling teeth.

I was misdiagnosed for decades, endured multiple orthopedic surgeries, had neurological and cardiac symptoms up the wazoo, many ER visits. Turns out it was all chronic Lyme disease. My whole family has it, and I believe my mother died of it. Lyme is the new Great Imitator; like syphilis, it can mimic a hundred other conditions: gout, MS, ALS, arthritis, A-fib, ringworm, trigger-finger, restless leg syndrome, panic attacks, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, migraines, ocular migraines, multiple chemical sensitivity disorder, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue,.............on and on and on..

Get thee to an ILADS Lyme specialist post haste. You will be on the road to nowhere if you stick to "mainstream" docs. These Lyme-denying docs are killing us. Recently I tried to guide two women to appropriate Lyme treatment - they both died, ages 57 and 67, because they were either too far gone, or their "mainstream" docs did not treat aggressively enough. One doc did not even mention Lyme on the death certificate (he eventually and reluctantly started treating her for Lyme), and I am reporting him to the State Medical Board.

This is a public health DISASTER. Think "Tuskegee Experiment" times a MILLION.

Thank you Pam Weintraub for this important book. You are saving lives!
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Thanks to Pam Weintraub for combining her plethora of areas of expertise to compile such an amazing, factual, MUST HAVE book! Having been a lyme disease survivor and fighting the disease for over 25 years, I've spent over 6 figures and have seen over 40 doctors, been in countless hospitals and told to go home and die twice. I have spent time in both the IDSA and ILADS camps. I am a lyme war veteran, and my family has it as well. Having read many books on lyme, I am 100% confident to report that this book provides accurate, factual information and wraps it in a real-life "story", (which is Pam candidly sharing her life with us), that makes it relatable for the reader as Pam herself is a lyme veteran. Her journalism and science background is apparent and refreshing, combined with her writing style. Having read countless books on lyme, this is the FIRST book I recommend to anyone I know who has lyme and doesn't know where to turn or what's really going on, and why they can't seem to get accurate help and are confused as to "lyme politics". Thanks to Pam!!
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This up-to-date book (published in 2008) tells it all. It not only is about Lyme Disease as a bad disease, but also details all the controversy between the Infectious Disease Society of America (the professional society of doctors specializing in infectious diseases and advocating what might be called a "traditional" approach)and many of the doctors who treat the sickest of the Lyme Disease patients. The author includes many personal stories of patients who did not get better under the "traditional" treatment. Her book ends with more than 40 pages of references and notes. Pamela Weintraub does a splendid job of supporting her statements.
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