Understanding Lyme Disease: A Conversation with Dr. Michael Koren
Welcome to the MedEvidence Monday Minute Radio Show hosted by Kevin Gettings of WSOS St Augustine Radio and powered by ENCORE Research Group. Each Monday morning, Dr. Michael KJoren calls in to bring you the latest medical updates with insightful discussions. Medevidence is where we help you navigate the real truth behind medical research, with both a clinical and research perspective. So sit back, relax and get ready to learn about the truth behind the data in medicine and health care. This is MedEvidence.
Kevin Geddings: 0:30
Dr. Michael Koren joins me live on the studio line, of course, every Monday morning around this time and of course he's a medical doctor, cardiologist, research scientist. I would imagine you are probably a really good jeopardy contestant type. Right, you could be really good at trivial type of questions or trivia?
Dr. Michael Koren: 0:48
Yeah, it's true actually. Yeah, when I was in college I was pretty good at it. Now, of course, what I read in my knowledge base has shipped over the years to very esoteric things. I'm not sure I'd be great on anything that's happened in the last 20 years in culture, but other than that, it makes you pretty good.
Kevin Geddings: 1:06
Yeah, we'll take medical research for 500, Alex All right.
Dr. Michael Koren: 1:12
Well, even more specifically, it would be Lyme disease for 500, Alex.
Kevin Geddings: 1:15
Yeah, yes, you know the ins and outs of Lyme disease, right?
Dr. Michael Koren: 1:19
Yeah, as a matter of fact, we're doing a study right now testing a Lyme disease vaccine, and Lyme disease is interesting from number standpoint. It was actually discovered in 1977. And here's a good trivia question why do you call it Lyme disease?
Kevin Geddings: 1:35
Dr. Michael Koren: 1:36
Why? Yeah, well, it doesn't mean that you're switching from using lemons to limes in your bar, guy, I can assure you that. But in fact it's called Lyme disease because it was discovered in Old Lyme, Connecticut, and so people from Connecticut know the answer to that question, but everybody else doesn't seem to know the answer to it.
Kevin Geddings: 1:55
Right, and it's also spelled with a y and not an. I right?
Dr. Michael Koren: 1:59
That is correct. Yeah, correct because when you hear about cases, and is it true?
Kevin Geddings: 2:04
I mean, from a layman's perspective, we feel like we're at risk of that if we get a tick on us, right, If we have to pull a tick off our body.
Dr. Michael Koren: 2:12
Right. Well, that would be true. So it is a disease that's transmitted by ticks. In our area and on the east coast of the United States it's transmitted by deer ticks called ixodes scapularis. So it's another trivia question. So if you're doing trivia over the holiday weekend and you get a Lyme disease question, remember ixodes scapularis, and that's the deer tick name. And the actual bacteria that cause disease is called Borrelia Burgdorferi. And that is also of interest because you don't actually get that infection from the immediate bite of the tick. You actually get it when the tick regurgitates the blood that it sucks from you.
Kevin Geddings: 2:58
Oh my gosh.
Dr. Michael Koren: 2:59
So yeah, so if you get a tick on you, you don't have to freak out, because it usually takes about 24 hours or more for the tick to consume some of your bodily products and then regurgitate them back into you with this bacteria called Borrelia Burgdorferi.
Kevin Geddings: 3:18
Now, that is good trivia right there, Dr. Koren. That is really really good stuff.
Dr. Michael Koren: 3:23
It is, it is, and you won't remember any of that, of course, but what you should remember is that we have a way of treating it now, and that's been around, which is antibiotics in the short term. But now, more importantly, we have a way of preventing it with our Lyme disease vaccine, and we're enrolling in that study as we speak.
Kevin Geddings: 3:41
Wow, it's interesting too. If you had asked me is a tick as small a creature, is it is capable of regurgitation? I would have bet no. Right?
Dr. Michael Koren: 3:51
You know you don't think about it. It's kind of gross, which is certainly a reason why you want to prevent that disease, and we have the means to do that.
Kevin Geddings: 3:59
Right, and Dr. Michael Koren is with us and of course he heads up the show with ENCORE Research Group, and they are engaged in leading edge medical research, with offices right here in St. John's County and throughout Metro Jacksonville and, of course, very involved in getting information out to our community about all aspects of health information. You can do that and learn more about his work in that space by checking out the website MedEvidence. com. MedEvidence. com and Dr. Koren when they go there and they may have a little downtime, you know, while they're sitting around waiting for the turkey to be served what will they find on that website?
Dr. Michael Koren: 4:33
Well, MedEvidence is our platform to share the truth behind the data and, as we like to remind people, if you just Google something, typically you'll get information that is coming from somebody who's trying to sell you something, and MedEvidence does not do that. Medevidence is typically a series of podcasts and other educational material that help people really understand the issue. We look at it from multiple sides. We typically do programs where different physicians are talking about whatever the medical area is. S o that you really get a perspective about that medical area from the way doctors think about things and talk about things and analyze things. So we think it's a unique web property and hopefully everybody will check it out.
Kevin Geddings: 5:14
And when it comes back to medical research, give us an example of a medical trial that you all are recruiting for right now. That could be really beneficial for our listeners.
Dr. Michael Koren: 5:24
Oh, there are quite a few. I mentioned Lyme disease and we're particularly excited about that. Particularly in this season people may be traveling up north to look at leaves or to go hunting things of that nature where they would be exposed to ticks, and we have a program right now for Lyme disease for anybody who might be interested. So that's ongoing. We have a few more days left in our combination flu COVID vaccine studies. That's in rolling both in St Augustine and in Jacksonville. This is a very, very popular program. We have probably close to 200 people who have already taken advantage of this and it's an opportunity to get both shots at the same time with no placebo in this particular trial. So this is an active control trial where everybody gets treated. So if you have not had your flu or COVID vaccine this year, it's a great opportunity. But we're also doing a lot of interesting things on the cardiac monitoring side. So we have studies that will be up and coming for congestive heart failure and just medical devices that monitor how you're doing. So we have one in particular that tracks your voice day to day on your cell phone and will tell us whether or not you're at risk for having a congestive heart failure, exacerbation or worsening of your condition. And we also have other medical monitoring devices that are good for atrial fibrillation, are good to look at what's happening with your blood pressure and predict whether or not you're going to get into trouble with your cardiac diagnosis. Really, virtually in every therapeutic area you can imagine, there's something pretty exciting going on.
Kevin Geddings: 6:55
Finally something that your cell phone can help you with that's better than TikTok, right?
Dr. Michael Koren: 7:00
Yeah, well, that's for sure. There's been so many discussions lately about the pluses and minuses of social media, and I have to admit that I'm getting more and more inclined to think about the minuses these days. Yeah, but that's another story, yeah.
Kevin Geddings: 7:17
Well, Dr. Michael Koren, we appreciate it. As always, always good information. Now we know more about Lyme disease than we did five minutes ago, right.
Dr. Michael Koren: 7:24
Well, hopefully you're well armed for when that category comes up.
Kevin Geddings: 7:29
Dr. Koren, we do hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and we will talk with you after the holiday, okay?
Dr. Michael Koren: 7:35
Sounds great. Look forward. Have a great holiday, Kevin. Have a great week.
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Ever wonder why Lyme disease got its peculiar name? Or how a tick could transmit a disease that affects humans so severely? Prepare to have your curiosity satisfied on today's MedEvidence Monday Minute Radio Show. Unraveling the mysteries of Lyme disease as Dr. Koren uncovers the surprising history, intriguing transmission process, and cutting-edge research behind this often misunderstood ailment.
We will journey from Lyme disease's discovery in Old Lyme, Connecticut in 1977, to the latest advancements in vaccine research. Learn about the fascinating transmission process involving ticks and the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme disease is more than just a trivia question; it's a public health issue that demands our attention. So join us as we dissect this subject with Dr. Koren, whose knack for breaking down complex medical jargon will leave you not only well-informed but deeply enlightened.
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Recording Date: November 20, 2023
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