Scientists do research. They work in labs, at Universities. They work with bugs and test tubes; develop hypotheses, and design experiments to prove or disprove their theories. Sometimes they do basic science research-- to discover the basic structure and function of things. They publish their findings in prestigious, peer reviewed journals like Science and Nature. Such scientists have discovered much about the spirochete, Borrelia burdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease. This data is called "in vitro." Many doctors will claim that such results may not apply to the "in vivo" processes inside the body.
Physicians do not read these journals. They operate in parallel. They also have hypotheses. They evaluate their hypotheses with controlled clinical trials. Frequently medical trials provide confusing and contradictory data. In such cases the investigators can draw varying conclusions, sometimes informed by pre-existing biases.
Physicians(practitioners) are not scientists, although some may disagree. There are a few exceptions to this rule. Physicians work within the box of their trade. In medical school they are busy learning basic rules: structure and function of the body, types of disease--causes and treatments. Much of this is complex and ever changing. Evidence based medicine has helped physicians develop protocols and algorithms. The evidence is based on an analysis of the published studies in prestigious journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine and others. At times there is no or little data to support diagnoses and therapies. In such cases a body of "experts" informs the public of physicians regarding the best diagnoses and therapies. Even where no "science" exists, these opinions are surrogates for "science" and become-- "evidence based medicine." The waters are muddied. The distinctions between fact and opinion can become blurred.
The field of medicine is vast. It is broken down into various boxes. Some of these would include disciplines such as: internal medicine, orthopedics, rheumatology, neurology and infectious disease. (Of course this is a tiny selection of medical specialties for purposes of this discussion).
Perhaps readers do not know that all infectious disease specialists start out as generalists--internist or pediatricians, followed by a 2 year fellowship in infectious disease medicine. An infectious disease doctor has done: 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, 3 years of residency and two years of training in infectious diseases. Note: for the first 11 years, the internists or family practitioner has had basically the same training as an "ID" doctor. Infectious disease doctors see sick hospital patients. They familiarize themselves with a wide range of esoteric infections: bacterial, viral, fungal, parasitic and others. They learn by reading text books, rounding with mentors and performing consults on sick patients, generally in hospitals. They spend very little time in an office setting. They become experts. They do not treat patients with chronic, "low grade" illnesses. They do not treat patients with fibromyalgia, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome and a whole other array of syndromes which they sometimes like to diagnose (in lieu of Lyme disease). Of course, they were generalists before they became specialists.
Each specialty has its own box. It works from a list of common diagnoses. Keep in mind--if you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
For example, a patient has joint pain. The orthopedist considers: tendinitis, a torn cartilage, a ligament injury, a mechanical injury--or something--not in his specialty, requiring referral to another specialists. The patient may be referred to a rheumatologist who considers: rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Reiter's syndrome, post-infectious arthritis, gout and Lyme disease and others. He may conclude it is not in his field. He may refer on to an infectious disease specialist where considerations may include: an infected joint with something like gonorrhea, viral synovitis and perhaps Lyme disease. The Lyme results are negative for Lyme by the IDSA /CDC screening test. No answer is found. The patient is referred back to his primary care doctor. Physical therapy and pain medicines are recommended. If the patient asks about Lyme disease he is told this has already been excluded.
Lyme disease--LLMD style-- is outside the normal boxes. It is rejected by practitioners of the traditional boxes. It is foreign and rejected. After all, the true experts have spoken. These new practitioners outside the box, are easily labeled quacks. Paradigms do not change easily.
And in a nutshell, that is why your doctor does not believe in Lyme disease.