Interpreting your Western Blot
Here is my Western Blot from IgeneX (click to make it larger). Total wait time was 2 weeks. I must stress the fact that the Western Blot is only supportive information. Lyme disease is purely a clinical diagnosis. My Western Blot only tested #188, #189. I did not test for co-infections. There are so many different strains of co-infections, I was not about to spend $600 to test 2 of them.
If you see above, I am IgeneX Positive but CDC Negative. For an IgeneX positive result, you would need at least 2 positive ++ bands. IND means that it is a small positive, but most LLMD’s count this as a yes. For information on how to interpret your Western Blot, read Western Blots made easy.
It is interesting to note my responses below on the confirmation.
My LLMD clinical diagnosis: “Babesia! Babesia! Babesia!” screaming the office down.
Email from an LLMD in Washington: “Yes It is a positive test. The test can be wrong 4% of the time. A diagnosis of Lyme is only made after considering the risk of getting it from possible tick exposures or actual bites, your symptoms, physical exam findings and consideration of positive testing.”
Email from my Lyme Homeopath: “Thank you for forwarding the test result. My interpretation is positive for IgM and the negative in IgG which has to have minimum 2 bands for official positive, is that this is also strongly indicative of Lyme.”
Response from my GP: “I don’t think you have Lyme. Perhaps the lab in California was wrong and the Canadian test was right. I think you have Rheumatoid Arthritis. Let’s send you a specialist in RA. If you were positive and you have had symptoms for a long time, then it should be IGG Positive, not IGM.” And the response to that statement can be found here.
Igenex Western Blot Break Down by band
• 9 cross-reactive for Borrellia
• 12 specific for Bb
• 18 highly specific to Lyme (from the link above by Dr. James Schaller, if this band alone is positive, you have Lyme)
• 20 cross-reactive for Borrellia
• 21 unknown
• 22 specific for Bb, probably really the 23/25 band
• 23-25 outer surface protein C (OspC), specific for Bb
• 28 unknown
• 30 unknown; probably an outer surface protein; common in European and one California strain – Has cross-reactivity with several different types of viruses
• 31 outer surface protein A (OspA), specific for Bb – Has cross-reactivity with several different types of viruses
• 34 outer surface protein B (OspB); specific for Bb
• 35 specific for Bb
• 37 specific for Bb
• 38 cross-reactive for Bb
• 39 is a major protein of Bb flagellin; specific for Bb
• 41 flagellin protein of all spirochetes; this is usually the first to appear after a spirochete infection but is NOT specific to Lyme (i.e, other spirochete diseases have flagellas)
• 45 cross-reactive for all Borellia
• 50 cross-reactive for all Borrellia
• 55 cross-reactive for all Borrellia
• 57 cross-reactive for all Borrellia
• 58 unknown but may be a heat-shock Bb protein
• 60 cross reactive for all Borrellia
• 66 cross-reactive for all Borrelia, common in all bacteria
• 83 specific antigen for the Lyme bacterium, probably a cytoplasmic membrane
• 93 unknown, probably the same protein in band 83, just migrates differently in some patients
Further excerpt by Dr. James Schaller, M.D. on Western Blots made easy.
Simply, if you are blindfolded and touch the side of an elephant, you may not be sure it is an elephant–perhaps this is a rhino? This is the 41 band. It is from the flagella’s, the parts inside Lyme that help it move—they get a lot of attention in the body, in the same way a whip snaps and gets attention in the hands of an expert user. However, the 41 antibody is not specific to Lyme, since many organisms have flagella.
Now, what if you touch this same elephant on its tusks or on its long peanut-eating tubular nose? You know it is an elephant. Period. One touch and you are certain, because these parts are very unique to this huge animal. This is Dr. Jones’ point. It you see a Western Blot 18 antibody that has a positive, you have Lyme. You do not need to check any other bands, because the 18 antibody is highly specific to Lyme—just like double tusks on an elephant.
What Do the Number of Pluses Mean?
IGeneX gives levels of antibodies. One + means you have some antibody of that type. A single positive is plenty strong, because that is the same level of brightness seen in the positive control run next to your blood test. This means they run a fake sample with all 13 proteins which should show always show up as 13 positives. It helps confirm no error in the testing.
If you have a ++ or a rare +++, this means you have a very large amount of antibody of that type. However, Lyme ruins immune system functioning and the number of positives sometimes goes up with treatment and healing of the immune system. People with no aggressive past Lyme treatment, should be lucky their body has made any antibodies at all, since Lyme is very good at both hiding from the immune system and hindering it.
Also, many people have “IND” or indeterminate findings on an antibody. This means the lab tech is seeing something, but is not ready to call it a clear positive. Consider a positive in the level of a single + to be a sharpie flair black line. I consider the IND to be a black pen line.
In my experience, many of these patients also show high Epstein Barr labs, which means this common infection is not in check and the immune system is very weak. And after we treat the patient, the IND sometimes becomes a clear + which means you now have new and clear antibodies against this part of the Lyme bug. I consider all IND’s as weak positives. This is my opinion.
Currently, IGeneX does not use Dr. Jones’ criteria. I have not asked them why. Perhaps because they are accountable to different laboratory regulating agencies and in general the government is perhaps decades behind real-world clinical medicine. Apparently, the government and many insurance companies blindly follow 14 individuals who actually think they can control 800,000 physicians and 300 million Americans.