By Laura Helmuth (Slate)
Let’s play doctor. A patient comes to you with joint pain, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, poor attention, and mood swings. You might run a series of tests to rule out a persistent infection or other disorder. If your patient lives in a tick- and Lyme-disease-infested area, you would be wise to test for the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and, if detected, prescribe a course of antibiotics. But suppose the tests come back negative and there is little evidence that your patient was bitten by a tick or was infected with the Lyme disease bacterium. If you are a good doctor, and you are, you might explore a diagnosis of depression, a disease that afflicts almost 10 percent of the population at any given time.
If you are a doctor who believes that the CDC and NIH have misrepresented carefully vetted clinical trial data about the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease, however, you might diagnose your patient with chronic Lyme disease and prescribe an intensive, long-term, side-effect-laden, mega-dose of antibiotics.
And who would be the biggest supporter of your and your patient’s right to pursue a worth-testing-but-found-wanting treatment? Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
A Weekly Standard tipper sent in a campaign mailer from northern Virginia titled: “Romney-Ryan: Doing More To Fight the Spread of Lyme Disease.” It’s a little more tightly focused than most campaign mailers, maybe, but I admire them for thinking about the local angle: The D.C. suburbs are filthy with ticks, and Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses are a huge public health problem…
…Listen up, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and Bob McDonnell: Medical research and treatment save lives. Please do not perpetuate a mistrust of them in vulnerable, confused people.