The Bad Boys & Girls Just Won't Quit

Lucy Barnes

How I See It- Several people at Johns Hopkins (4 young ladies and one older gent) are sitting around Hopkins drinking coffee one morning and one says to the other that they ought to write a study.

Out of the blue they decide to go back thru their patient charts and locate boys of a certain age (teens) that all had stretch marks on their lower back. No girls, no one older or younger than the teens, no other rashes, just teen-aged boys with striae (stretch marks) on their lower backs.

That’s pretty specific, isn’t it?

One says... well, I’ll write up a phone survey to go with it. Another says I’ll get on Google and find out what the risk factors are for stretch marks. The rest of them go thru the medical charts to gather info...

And bing, bang, boom a study is born!

FYI- Bing, bang, boom describes the official asexual reproduction process for how a study is born. If in doubt, please look it up. ~smile~

Here is the link to their lousy study...

Pediatr Dermatol. 2017 Nov 21. doi: 10.1111/pde.13329. [Epub ahead of print]

Demographic characteristics of teenage boys with horizontal striae distensae of the lower back.

Boozalis E1, Grossberg AL1, Puttgen KB1, Heath CR1, Cohen BA1.

Department of Dermatology, School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Link Here-

None of these people have published on Bartonella or any other tick borne diseases before, however, the older gent (Cohen) has donated some EM rash photos for the CDC to use on its website. (Ding, ding, ding- there is a CDC/IDSA connection.)

These 5 authors (not sure all of them are doctors) determine 2/3 of their study group out of their 12 hand-picked teen aged boys must have had a “growth spurt” at some point, before the stretch marks appeared.

Excuse me? Don’t most boys in their teens have growth spurts? Anyhow...

They reported most boys (it doesn’t say how many) were asymptomatic. However, these supposedly healthy boys were IN a doctor’s office at Johns Hopkins and it was serious enough to generate an entry in the medical records- so perhaps there were some symptoms present that they forgot to mention?

This Hopkins mini-gang also stated that none of the boys reported having a history of steroid use, Bartonella or Lyme disease. Per their own words in their abstract- none were tested for Bartonella or other TBD's even though they live in a highly endemic area where Bartonella is very common, even if Hopkins has a long and strong history of denying it exists.

One boy they chose for this study supposedly had a non-related chronic illness (not specified in abstract), so in their minds and according to their conclusions, that must have translated to mean all people and all chronic illnesses. Nice leap if no one notices it, don't you think?

Eleven of the boys had a family member that had stretch marks at some point in their life (no noted age, no definition for where on the body, when they had it, the sex of patient, or any other comments).

They also don’t mention any routine test results or any tests for specific diseases, and no mention of exams, x-rays, ultra-sounds, etc. being performed specifically related to this “study”.

With all of that in mind, the inexperienced Hopkins gang felt it was ok to publish their opinions using very strong language in order to assure the masses (or bully them into believing)...

"Our results indicate that horizontal striae distensae [stretch marks] of the lower back in adolescent boys is associated with a rapid growth spurt, tall stature, and family history of striae distensae.

Not "can be", not "possibly be" or not "may be" associated with blah blah blah... they just say it "is".

AND to add insult to injury, they say...

"There is no association between this type of striae distensae and any chronic medical condition, bacterial infection, or exogenous steroid use. Thus a careful review of systems and counseling without further medical testing is reasonable management."


What if only three of the boys like the color blue, and 1/2 of them ate more pork chops than chicken, and 9 of the 12 were left handed? Why not let those particulars be a determining factor in this poor excuse for a study? The whole study is a retrospective joke!

Now, the reason I was laughing so much when I started reading it (besides it was late and I was very tired) was the minute I saw the Hopkins study I knew exactly why they wrote it.

Here is the good, or shall I say "evil" part...

First, Hopkins is the institution that has insisted for many years (in spite of all the evidence to the contrary) that Bartonella could not be found in ticks and/or passed to humans by ticks, and people couldn’t have more than one tick borne infection at a time.

Of course, as we all know, they were wrong. Really, really wrong!

Second, the 2006 IDSA Lyme disease guidelines are very strongly worded in regards to NOT treating Bartonella, which protects them and saves insurers money- see red font below for an example.

And keep in mind Paul Auwaerter is at Hopkins (editor of IDSA guidelines and IDSA spokesman), Wormser went to Hopkins, McStupid once falsely claimed in a journal article he was from Hopkins, etc. so they’ve got plenty of ties to Hopkins.

Quote from an IDSA guidelines author- "Bartonella DNA has been found in some Ixodes species, but there is no convincing evidence that Bartonella infections can be transmitted to humans by a tick bite [260].” (Reference study #260 was authored by Wormser & Halperin)

QUOTE From IDSA guidelines- “Because of a lack of biologic plausibility, lack of efficacy, absence of supporting data, or the potential for harm to the patient, the following are not recommended for treatment of patients with any manifestation of Lyme disease:

"first-generation cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones, carbapenems, vancomycin, metronidazole, tinidazole, amantadine, ketolides, isoniazid, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, fluconazole, benzathine penicillin G, combinations of antimicrobials, pulsed-dosing (i.e., dosing on some days but not others), long-term antibiotic therapy, anti-Bartonella therapies, hyperbaric oxygen, ozone, fever therapy, intravenous immunoglobulin, cholestyramine, intravenous hydrogen peroxide, specific nutritional supplements, and others (see table 4) (E-III). [Pg. 1094, Section Therapeutic modalities not recommended.]"

Third, and most important… Dr. Breitschwerdt published an excellent study a few years ago (below)- the only one that I know of where they biopsied a striae (stretch mark) on a boy, but not on the mother or the father or the daughter who had all been exposed to tick bites too. Only the boy.

And they found a Bartonella henselae organism in the stretch mark tissue from the boy!

Dr. Breitschwerdt, et. al. determined (my words, not his- he is much more smooth and refined.... and ok, a lot smarter too)... after a physician-documented tick exposure, Bartonella could be present in humans and be “persistent” (CHRONIC Bartonella).

He proved it with the IDSA/CDC claims in mind— by having tick exposure documentation by a physician (mother), the positive lab tests and by isolating the B. henselae from the stretch mark on the boy. It's a solid case. A winner!

So, this flimsy fluffy study by the five Hopkins rose buds was published in an attempt to discredit Dr. Breitschwerdt’s study.

Talk about teen agers! Will these IDSA/Hopkins toads ever grow up?

This is like the bogus studies by some of the other IDSA 'rose buds' claiming our studies are flawed because of “lab contamination” when they have absolutely no proof that it is true. It’s a known IDSA/CDC/Hopkins way to retaliate and discredit researchers that don’t tow the CDC line.

I can think of several, but the main reasons they would publish this study now is to discredit the previous Bartonella study; or they are being prompted by another pending individual law suit or the most recent bigger one filed against IDSA & insurers (Torrey, et. al.)...

Or to include it as a supporting reference in the upcoming IDSA guidelines, or for insurance denials; or because they are so darn petty and wimpy they can’t stand to lose. Or a mixture or combo of the above.

So yes, I agree, there could be some decent folks somewhere at Johns Hopkins. But, I’ve been there, done that and have had at times 20-30 people a week calling me about how they were being mishandled, misdiagnosed, belittled, denied treatment, had their previous diagnoses discounted, had their IGeneX lab results tossed in the trash, and in the process our doctors and labs were slimed too, so I can’t give any one at Hopkins a seal of approval until they clean house.

Here is the study by Dr. Breitschwerdt, et. al. End of story.

Parasit Vectors. 2013 Apr 15;6:101. doi: 10.1186/1756-3305-6-101.

Bartonella henselae bacteremia in a mother and son potentially associated with tick exposure.

Maggi RG1, Ericson M, Mascarelli PE, Bradley JM, Breitschwerdt EB.

Intracellular Pathogens Research Laboratory, Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA.



Bartonella henselae is a zoonotic, alpha Proteobacterium, historically associated with cat scratch disease (CSD), but more recently associated with persistent bacteremia, fever of unknown origin, arthritic and neurological disorders, and bacillary angiomatosis, and peliosis hepatis in immunocompromised patients.

A family from the Netherlands contacted our laboratory requesting to be included in a research study (NCSU-IRB#1960), designed to characterize Bartonella spp. bacteremia in people with extensive arthropod or animal exposure.

All four family members had been exposed to tick bites in Zeeland, southwestern Netherlands. The mother and son were exhibiting symptoms including fatigue, headaches, memory loss, disorientation, peripheral neuropathic pain, striae (son only), and loss of coordination, whereas the father and daughter were healthy.


Each family member was tested for serological evidence of Bartonella exposure using B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii genotypes I-III, B. henselae and B. koehlerae indirect fluorescent antibody assays and for bacteremia using the BAPGM enrichment blood culture platform.


The mother was seroreactive to multiple Bartonella spp. antigens and bacteremia was confirmed by PCR amplification of B. henselae DNA from blood, and from a BAPGM blood agar plate subculture isolate.

The son was not seroreactive to any Bartonella sp. antigen, but B. henselae DNA was amplified from several blood and serum samples, from BAPGM enrichment blood culture, and from a cutaneous striae biopsy.

The father and daughter were seronegative to all Bartonella spp. antigens, and negative for Bartonella DNA amplification.


Historically, persistent B. henselae bacteremia was not thought to occur in immunocompetent humans. To our knowledge, this study provides preliminary evidence supporting the possibility of persistent B. henselae bacteremia in immunocompetent persons from Europe.

Cat or flea contact was considered an unlikely source of transmission and the mother, a physician, reported that clinical symptoms developed following tick exposure.

To our knowledge, this is the first time that a B. henselae organism has been visualized in and amplified from a striae lesion.

As the tick bites occurred three years prior to documentation of B. henselae bacteremia, the mode of transmission could not be determined.

Free PMC Article

Link Here

July 2020- Another study confirming Bartonella in ticks.

Lucy Barnes