For anyone interested in the historical process of The MAP bacterium and Crohns disease , it is in the second section of my post, I found it very interesting as the the mentioning of the MAP Bacteria having a morphing property, this morphing property is discussed in the suspected bacteria in Lyme disease(Borrelia burgdorferi). And it has been stated that a relative form of the suspected Lyme disease bacteria is a possible cause in MS (Borrelia mylophora).
Borrelia mylophora and Borrelia burgdorferi are stated as being different bacteria, yet to me, their characteristics seem similar to the properties of the MAP bacteria.
Notice the term "spheroplast" in both articles..
In fact, the cell shapes produced by a diminished, discontinuous, or absent cell wall are "almost endlessly variegated" and work their way into "all aspects of microbe participation in life." They're known by various technical names, according to the degree to which they've lost their cell wall: spheroplast, protoplast, L-phase, L-forms, transitionals, and mycoplasma. According to some physicians, mycoplasma, which are unable to make any cell wall whatsoever and are highly divergent in type, may be involved in the initiation of cancer
The below is the historical information on the MAP bacterium and Crohns disease..
In the beginning
The search for the cause of Crohns disease is truly a medical who-done-it. The first detective to try to solve the mystery began sleuthing in the early part of the twentieth century. Dr. Thomas K. Dalziel of Glasgow, Scotland, suspected that this human intestinal disease had something in common with a similar disease in cattle caused by a slow-growing bacterium called Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP). Applying the same test to diseased human tissue that successfully found the bacterium in animals, Dr. Dalziel found nothing! Not a trace of the bacterium. Why not? Medical science in 1913 couldnt answer that question.
Enter the next detective: Dr. Crohn.
In 1932, Dr. Burrill B. Crohn researched the disease that now bears his name. He too could find no evidence of a bacterial origin for Crohns disease. Consequently Crohns disease has, for over fifty years, been classified as an autoimmune disease with an unknown cause. From this point on, most doctors concentrated their efforts on treating patients with maintenance therapies as the disease slowly destroyed the intestinal tracts of its victims.
But one doctor wasnt satisfied.
Dr. Walter R. Thayer, Jr., a professor at Brown University Medical College in Rhode Island and a practicing gastroenterologist specializing in Crohn's disease continued to research MAP as a cause of Crohns. Dr. Thayer approached Dr. Rod Chiodini, who had been working with MAP in cattle. Thayer believed that an infectious agent might be the true cause of Crohn's disease. Could Dr. Chiodini help find it?
Chiodinis finding: Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis in humansand a surprise!
An authentic secret agent, this elusive bug turned out to have cloaking device. When MAP settles into a human intestinal tract, it sheds its tough, waxy shell, mutating into whats called spheroplast
form. In this form, it cannot be detected by traditional testing methods, which is why Drs. Dalziel and Crohn couldnt find it. Drawing on his expertise with mycobacteria, Dr. Chiodini was able to culture this sneaky intruder, causing it to revert to its original bacillary form thereby revealing its true nature.
And now we lift its fingerprints
DNA fingerprints, that is. In 1985, a gene sequence was discovered which is unique to MAP. The sequence is known as IS900, and about 20 copies of the sequence are present in the MAP genome. The gene sequence is not present in any other known organism, meaning that IS900 is a unique genetic fingerprint for MAP.
In 1991, Prof. John Hermon-Taylor, of St. Georges Hospital Medical School in London, used genetic fingerprinting techniques to search for the IS900 sequence in the intestines of Crohn's patients. He found that incriminating fingerprint in 65% of Crohn's patients compared with 12.5% of people without Crohn's disease. This was a highly significant finding, giving the first solid evidence that Crohn's patients were far more likely to be infected with MAP than the population at large. Since Hermon-Taylors research was published, six independent teams in four countries (England, France, Denmark, USA) have replicated the finding of the MAP fingerprint in a significantly higher percentage of Crohn's disease patients.
Does the DNA prove the case?
As with any suspect, just finding a print at the scene does not indicate whether a suspect is alive and dangerous, or dead and harmless. Thus it is with DNA. The test for alive and kicking is not DNA, but RNA. Similar to DNA, RNA is only found in living, multiplying cells. And researchers in New York, searching for MAP RNA, found it in all of the Crohns patients they tested, all of the ulcerative colitis patients tested, and none of the people who didnt have Crohns disease. Great detective work, and more solid evidence to build a case against MAP.
What happens if we treat Crohns disease as though Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis were the cause?
Prof. Hermon-Taylor, treating his Crohns patients with the combination of antibiotics known to be effective against MAP, achieved the greatest percentage remission of any Crohns treatment protocol. Around the world, other doctors who tried this treatment on their patients had similarly successful results. Treating Crohns disease as though it were a MAP infection not only works, but works very well.
How might Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis enter the human digestive tract?
The answer to that question begins with a field trip to a dairy farm. In the United States, a national tragedy is slowly building one that costs our dairy farmers an estimated $200 million every year. It is called Johnes disease (pronounced YO-NEES and named for its discoverer, Dr. Johne). Forty percent of large dairy herds in the U.S. are infected! Left unchecked, Johnes can stealthily work its way through a herd causing diminished milk production and ultimately death to cattle. Farmers, finding a cow in their herd with clinical symptoms of Johnes, (rapid weight loss, diarrhea, reduced milk production) typically cull that cow, sending it to slaughter. But the silent problem remains, sapping production and profits, unless the farm undertakes an aggressive, long-term cleanup program. The cause of Johnes? Its been known for one hundred years: MAP.
What does Johnes have to do with food?
An infected cow may show no symptoms, yet may be shedding MAP in its feces and in its milk. Nevertheless, the dairy industry insists that milk is safe.
Milk Testing in the United Kingdom
In the UK, they believed that their milk was safe. But in 1998 researchers cultured living MAP from samples of pasteurized milk taken from store shelves in Northern Ireland, which warranted a larger study. In February 2002, this new study concluded that live MAP is indeed present in retail milk, despite pasteurization.
Milk Testing in the United States
Sadly, in the US we dont really know if the milk we give our children is free of MAP contamination. The dairy industry has paid for studies that allege that pasteurization kills all MAP organisms in milk. The overwhelming majority of other researchers disagree. But despite questions about milk safety, the dairy industry insists that its pasteurization process is so good that we dont even need to test milk after its been pasteurized. Also, protecting the dairy industry instead of the consumer, the Food and Drug Administration refuses to test retail milk. Instead, the FDAs official position is that there is no hazard to the consumer from MAP. Taking on the role that FDA should have assumed is the Marshfield Clinic in Marshfield, Wisconsin. Their retail milk testing of U.S. supermarket milk for the presence of MAP is underway. Results will be published in the summer of 2003.
What about beef? Is there a problem with beef cattle as well?
The beef industry has begun to learn the extent of the MAP problem in beef herds. The food safety methods for testing of beef and beef products mandated by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service are only capable of detecting fecal contamination of meat. They are not capable of detecting intracellular and extracellular MAP bacteria that may be present in blood, muscle tissue and various internal organs from the cow.
And those sick dairy cows: Might our children be eating contaminated hamburgers right now?
Yes. Present regulations permit cows known to be infected with MAP to be slaughtered for human consumption.
Is the detective work finished?
Not at all. But despite the handicap of shoestring budgets, little or no grant money, and hostile special interest groups, dedicated researchers around the world persevere, adding to our knowledge of the relationship between MAP and Crohns disease. Physicians pursue improved treatment regimens for Crohns disease. Scientists search for more efficient ways to test food products for the presence of MAP contamination.
Current and Future Bright Spots
Prior to the formation of PARA, little to nothing was being done about the scientific evidence which suggests that MAP may cause Crohns disease. Since PARA began active efforts, much has happened highlights as follows:
National Institutes of Health In Dec 98, responding to pleas from PARA, NIH/NIAID (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) hosted a workshop to evaluate concerns about MAP as the cause of Crohns. In May 99 they released an entirely new Crohns research agenda targeting an infectious cause of Crohns. Even though it called for federal agencies with regulatory authority over the food supply to seek viable MAP in commercial milk and other dairy products as well as meat, the FDA has not responded. The most recent development at the NIH comes this year, 2002, when they began funding significant amounts for important clinical and basic research.
Centers for Disease Control In May 2000, responding to pleas from PARA, the CDC formulated a plan of action to deal with the MAP problem. Since 2001 CDC has worked closely in collaboration with the NIH and other agencies to improve diagnostics/testing and is conducting a large epidemiological study which will be complete in 2003.
US Congress In 2000, PARA was successful in getting language urging further research for Crohns and MAP introduced into the Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittee Bills for FY 2001. In March of 2001, PARA testified to the Appropriations Committee, and in May of 2001 issued written testimony to the Agricultural Committee about the MAP/Johnes/Crohns connection.
European Commission In Feb 2000, the EC published an exhaustive report promoting an urgent research program to address the MAP/Crohns issue.
United Kingdom - In Dec 2001, food safety authorities (ACMSF) approved a comprehensive program of measures aimed at eliminating MAP from retail milk.
PARA continues to lobby the U.S. federal agencies, create worldwide awareness and work for increased funding for the pioneering researchers whose motivation is the prevention and cure of Crohns disease. Will you join PARA, and help us to help them?