Posted 7/5/2016 9:24 AM (GMT -7)
Lyme Disease: Buyer Beware
Much has been written about Lyme disease over the last few decades. The information is controversial and abundant. Symptoms of Lyme disease can easily take up several pages. Some question if Lyme disease even exists or if it may be something else. One fact remains certain, however, and that is that Lyme disease has become a big money maker for non-profits, doctors and even snake oil salesmen. Fear and confusion feed this wolf in sheep's clothing.
Finding a Cure
I was excited to read an article entitled Effectiveness of Stevia Rebaudiana Whole Leaf Extract Against the Various Morphological Forms of Borrelia Burgdorferi in Vitro published November 12, 2015. (Eur J Microbiol Immunol (Bp). 2015 Dec; 5(4): 268–280. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4681354/)
Could stevia leaf extract be the long sought after cure for Lyme disease?!? This article has been posted far and wide and those who suffer symptoms attributed to Lyme disease, have new hope. However, after reading the article in more detail, I had many questions. Stevia extracts from four companies were tested but one was found to have the most promise. I thought it was a bit strange that one product was singled out as being better than all the rest. Why NutraMedix?
Then I found this 2010 article entitled In Vitro Effectiveness of Samento and Banderol Herbal Extracts on the Different Morphological Forms of Borrelia Burgdorferi. (htttp://www.townsendletter.com/July2010/sapi0710.html ) The common author in both articles is Eva Sapi, PhD, head of the Lyme Disease Research Group, at the University of New Haven, CT. Again, the leading seller of the two herbal extracts referenced in this article were sold by NutraMedix. This article was published in the Townsend Letter and it is not a peer-reviewed publication.
Researcher, Eva Sapi, is all over the internet. Search for "Lyme disease" and her name will usually pop up. A short bio for Sapi says she received her PhD from a Hungarian university. Somehow she wound up at the University in New Haven, CT which is about 25 minutes west of Lyme, CT (the town where Lyme disease was first discovered.) Furthermore, she claims she herself contracted Lyme disease after moving to CT.
Though the University web page that features the Lyme Research Group (http://www.newhaven.edu/4486/academic-programs/undergraduate/biology/lyme-disease/) does not mention it, the source code reveals that this type of experiential education is studied abroad. I was able to find a listing for Eva Sapi that gave her home address as being the USA College of Medicine (American University of Antigua); Yale University; Madison CT.
She is married to Anthony J. Melillo, a computer tech and teacher at the New Haven University. He works in the Department of Biology and Environmental Science. He teaches undergraduate and graduate bioinformatics courses. He is also a full-time bioinformatician at PerkinElmer, Inc., http://www.perkinelmer.com/ where he manages data at their next-generation DNA sequencing facility in Branford, CT. Melillo is also quite the business man with connections to dozens of businesses, some active and some defunct.
I can't help but wonder if this Melillo is related to Dr. Robert J. Melillo who runs the Brain Balance Centers which is a network of franchises throughout the USA. Check him out. He is raking in the money.
These are just two business entities I found registered to Eva and Anthony. She is listed as an officer with the Dr. Paul H. Duray Research Fellowship Endowment, Inc. http://www.drpauldurayresearch.com/ located in Naples, Florida.
The site reads, "Welcome to the website of the Dr. Paul Duray Research Fellowship Endowment, Inc. http://www.perkinelmer.com/*, a charitable tax-exempt foundation directed by Dr. Alan B. MacDonald, M.D. FCAP FASCP." (Fellow of the College of American Pathologists and Fellow, American Society for Clinical Pathology)
* Anthony Melillo is also a full-time bioinformatician at PerkinElmer, Inc. PerkinElmer sells laboratory products and services, imaging components (X-ray), diagnostic lab services and manages a cord blood and tissue bank.
Alan B. MacDonald works with Eva Sapi in the Lyme Research Group Lab at the New Haven university and both have ties to Florida, which happens to be where the NutraMedix offices are located.
This company has been selling Lyme disease "treatments" for many years. They are known for aggressive salesmanship. They have bombarded the internet with miraculous claims of how to cure Lyme disease. It helps to know bioinformaticians in their business.
NutraMedix were great promoters of cat claw (Uncaria tomentosa, Uncaria guianensis ) which they claimed to have brought back from the depths of the Peruvian rain forests and processed into a herbal extract to treat and possible cure Lyme disease. This is definitely a healing herb and may very well ease some of Lyme's symptoms. It is available from many reputable herbal dealers.
Peruvian Imports Unlimited, Inc. which was once called Peruvian Rainforest Botanicals shares the same owner and business office address. I also noticed that one listing put this business into the “Information Technology” category. That is very revealing. These company's main business is marketing - not healing.
NutraMedix also has offices in Gujarat, India (as NutraMedix Private Ltd) and in Ireland. India is one of the world's largest producers of stevia, by the way.
NutraMedix is owned by Timothy Eaton and the office is located in Jupiter, Florida. The estimated income is between $5 - $10 million a year. There are many various addresses listed in his various business enterprises. Most are exclusive beach front properties with a minimum of five bedrooms.
Who is Timothy Eaton? I did find that he was convicted of smuggling red-tailed boa constrictors in 1999. http://openjurist.org/179/f3d/1328/united-states-v-eaton There was also a California lawsuit against him in 1997 for selling a product – Zeolite – which contained lead. http://oag.ca.gov/system/files/prop65/settlements/2013-00104S3769.pdf
He still sells Zeolite as part of the "Cowden Protocol" for Lyme disease. Hopefully, the lead has been removed. The herbs needed for this protocol can cost up to $500 a month and people are advised to stay on the protocol for a minimum of six months.
Other companies registered to Timothy Eaton are Sinus, LLC, The Kairos Foundation, Inc., The King’s Wings, International Christian Tennis Association, Inc., Christ Chapel of Wellington, FL and Classic Tutor LLC.
The Cowden Protocol
Dr. Lee Cowden is a clinical nutritionist and internist who claims to be skilled in kinesiology and homeopathy. He practices integrative medicine including electrodermal screening, reflexology, acupuncture, acupressure, biofeedback, detoxification procedures, color, sound, and neural magnetic and electromagnetic therapies. He is said to take patients that "were given the death sentence by the established medical community."
Lee Cowden is listed as a cardiologist (he was USA board-certified) at NuChoice International, Inc. headquartered in Monterrey, CA. He is also the co-founder of the Academy of Bio-Energetic and Integrative Medicine of North Texas and also calls himself an International Integrative Medicine Health Educator who has given presentations worldwide. He has developed treatment protocols for cancer, Lyme disease, autism, Parkinson's disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and other medical conditions including reversing heart and vascular disease. (say his promotors anyway)
Which brings us back to the tie to marketing NutraMedix products for Cowden's Lyme disease protocol. The Townsend Letter heavily promoted Dr. Cowden and NutraMedix. One ad said to visit the website of Bionatus Laboratories in Ecuador for more information about these products.
A business listing I found read, "Bionatus Laboratorios del Ecuador is a company based out of Ecuador. They are categorized as a Medical Equipment and Supplies industry and can be contacted at Av 9 de oct 424, Guayas, Guayaquil, Guayaquil in Ecuador." Not exactly what you would have pictured, eh? I pictured a company busy preparing herbal concoctions out of fresh herbs collected in the nearby rain forests. One thing I have found in researching this story is that many times names similar to reputable companies are used.
Whether NutraMedix has a connection to this actual company is questionable, to say the least. The website (in English) looks nice though.
Marketing, marketing, marketing
NutraMedix has had accounts with many distributors over the years which, in turn, promote the products said to cure Lyme disease.
The Nature’s Trust Inc. and Susan Ambrosino’s Herb Club in Live Oak, FL is but one. It is interesting to note that Susan’s husband, Derek Ambrosino aka Derek Clontz, of 4-Page Media, also owns the Herb Club.
4-Page Media is a newspaper consulting and general editorial services including broadsheet, tabloid and brochure conception, design, reporting, writing, copy editing, top editing, proofing, and photography. 4- page media owns numerous trademarks, two of which are for Adrianna' Club Physic and Adrianna's 4 page Psychic Report. This "computer editor" targets a general mass audience. Information is abbreviated and designed to be spoon fed to an often gullible public.
Clontz is also President of Ambro Communications. but what really sets off warning bells for me is that he is the Senior Communications Specialist at the TB Alliance/Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (or a similar sounding organization.) This needs further investigation.
The Townsend Letter
This publication caught my eye when I was reading an ad for NutraMedix and the disclosure statement below the ad which read, "Nutramedix engages the services of BioMed Publishing Group for our flyer insert advertising program and several other advertising programs. However, BioMed Publishing Group was provided no incentive or compensation."
BioMed, of course, publishes the Townsend Letter. They also own the online LymeBookStore as well as have numerous other domains. BioMed Publishing Group, LLC was found in 2004 by Bryan Rosner. (not to be confused with BioMed Central)
Rosner's group does function as a hub for all kinds of mumbo jumbo about Lyme disease found on the net. They also have a sister store that sells cancer books and DVDs and probably many other such websites. Many of the sites publish this disclaimer: "The products offered on this web site are intended for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure disease. The statements on this web have not been evaluated by the U.S. FDA. If you have a medical problem see a licensed physician."
This is such a standard disclaimer, most people will simply overlook it in their quest to find something that will make them feel healthy again.
Why write this?
I believe in natural, traditional medicine. I do not support those with questionable motives and hidden agendas - whether they be from the holistic school of medicine or the established medical community. There are plenty of phonies and frauds to go around, unfortunately.
I believe if you know the truth, you have a moral obligation to share it with others. It is their choice to dismiss it or dig deeper for their own answers and share what they find.