Medical science--clinical studies, must be taken with a grain of salt. It is nearly impossible to do science when the thing being studied is as complex and multi-faceted as a human. Such studies attempt to prove that treatment A is better than a placebo (a pretty low standard) or that treatment A is superior to treatment B. The group under study is supposed to be homogeneous--a cohort with the same disease process. I would suggest it is nearly impossible to find a cohort of patients with exactly the same disease. Ultimately, many confounding variables make this sort of science difficult to do and to validate.
All the randomized-placebo-double blind-peer reviewed studies for chronic or post Lyme disease look at lot alike. All patients had prior, treated Lyme disease. All had had received "standard" therapy. And, all had persistent symptoms in the face of prior therapy. "Long term therapy" was defined as limited courses of Rocephin with or without courses of doxycyline. Generally, patient selection required CDC-IgG positivity, 5/10 bands. Of interest, Klempner also studied "sero-negative" patients. This is anomalous since the IDSA has generally claimed that seronegative patients do not suffer with Lyme disease.
Insanity has been defined as: doing the same thing over and over again-- expecting a different result.
I would suggest that another kind of study be designed and carried out. Patients with the same general set of symptoms, for example: migratory joint pains, fatigue and cognitive impairment plus positive Lyme Western Blocks by IgM or IgG standards should be studied. Patients from this cohort should be randomized into two arms: a head-to-head study. Group A would receive IDSA recommended therapy and group B would receive LLMD style therapy. Objective measurements of progress would be agreed upon. These might include: symptom lists, psychometric testing, physical exams and perhaps lab parameters such as a highly sensitive C-reactive protein. Patients would be periodically assessed over a prolonged period of time. For example, patients could be assessed every 3 months for a period of one to two years.
LLMDS in the study could agree upon some general standards, for example, Babesia could be treated with Mepron and Zithromax for 8 weeks. If there were no clinical response, a second course might be Larium plus Artemesin. In general, the physicians would be given flexibility to treat patients differently, based on clinical experience.
This is the sort of study which might provide convincing evidence that treatment for chronic Lyme disease is effective. The disease is different in every patient. It is nuanced. It is complex. Standard study designs which look at only one variable, will never prove the benefits of long term treatment for Lyme disease.
I hear a lot of talk about the need for Lyme studies.
I think, first potential investigators need to develop a study design. The teams needs then to find a partner with credibility and prestige, such as NIH. The cost could be low, particularly if this sort of head to head study could be "piggy-backed" onto another planned or ongoing study. Results, hopefully favorable ones, could be published in a major, peer reviewed journal.