Q & A with LLMD Dr. Steven Bock

Dr Steven Bock Lyme Advise

Lyme Advise recently asked its followers on social media the following question: “If you had the opportunity to ask an LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor) any question, what would it be?” We reached out to Dr. Steven Bock, an Integrative Lyme Specialist located in Rhinebeck, New York to please address these questions.

Lyme Advise would like to personally thank Dr. Steven Bock for taking the time to thoughtfully respond and making himself available to the Lyme Community. For those interested in learning more about Dr. Bock, you can learn more about him and his practice click here. 

Q:  Are you ILADS trained? Could you also please elaborate and tell us more about your training, experience working with Lyme patients, and any continued work you do with ILADS?

A: I am one of the founders of ILADS and am currently on the board. I started learning about and treating Lyme disease 29 years ago. Currently, approximately 75 percent of my practice revolves around treating Lyme disease and tick-borne illnesses.

Q: What do you do to stay on top of the latest findings and research?

A: I attend and teach at conferences multiple time a year and am involved with collaborative conferencing with other Lyme specialists where we work together to share information.  I also learn a lot from patients, I listen to what is working for them, research new therapies and treatments they’re interested in, and spend personal time learning about up and coming alternative treatments and products that they’ve brought to my attention.

Q:  Do You Treat Biofilms And Cyst Forms Of Lyme Disease?

A: Yes

Q: Do you jump on the bandwagon for new options or stand back and observe for a bit to evaluate efficacy, etc? Neither is necessarily bad in my opinion, but it can help determine whether or not the practitioner's philosophy is in alignment with our own.

A:  It depends entirely upon the treatment in question. Let’s take UVL for example.  A colleague of mine called and suggested I give it a try so I did my research, liked what I learned, and began treating patients shortly thereafter. We have had great results and now have 4 machines between our Albany and Rhinebeck offices.

Q: Do you think this is an AIDS-like disease that targets the B cells?

A: No. AIDS kills B cells whereas Lyme decreases the B cells ability to duplicate, affecting the number and quality but doesn’t specifically target and kill B cells.

Q: What is your opinion on the drug Rituxan for treatment?

A: I don’t use Rituxan as a treatment. I have many things that I prefer to use, for example, Nutritional and Herbal, or Ozone Therapy for the treatment of Autoimmune disease.  

Q: What do you do if you’ve been told you have Fibromyalgia and neuropathy, you’ve been bitten by a tick years prior, you never took antibiotics, and you have tests for Lyme that are of course negative?

A: If you have symptoms compatible with lyme and negative test you still might need treatment.  Lyme is a clinical diagnosis and a negative test DOES NOT RULE OUT DISEASE! You need to be properly evaluated by an LLMD. Be sure to have your medical records and a written chronological order of all symptoms and medical history prepared to present to your Lyme specialist as they help assist with clinical diagnoses.

Q: If you have intense and aggravated symptoms in the beginning--does that mean you are more likely to continue to have problems and flair ups throughout your life?

A: No. Your immune system could have been weakened due to other extenuating factors.  There is no way to answer this without a patient’s detailed medical history.

Q: Why does it clear up and go away in some people and in other people it is a persistent and never ending battle? Does it have to do with the person's genes, or is it the amount of time before treatment was started, or the type of treatment that was initially given? Is it predetermined who will have problems before the tick even bites?

A: It depend on the person, how many tick-borne related infections and the health of the individual's immune system.

Q: Are intense/aggravated symptoms a sign of repeat infection? What causes a dormant infection to become active?

A: Lyme is a spirochete that has the ability to hide and lie dormant for months or years. It absolutely can be aggravated and activated. Things such as a new bite, stress, deep tissue massage, flu shot, too much sugar or stress can all trigger dormant Lyme.

Q: Is transmission of co-infections in utero, not just Lyme disease, possible? If yes, which co-infections are transmitted in utero?

A: Yes, all of the co-infections can be transmitted through the placenta.

Q: Will I ever be able to have a family?

A: Yes, if you are treating or have previously treated and you have no symptoms. Having a good doctor is crucial so seek out an LLMD and a good fetal maternal doctor who can work together to benefit the mother and baby. It’s equally important to eat well, avoid sugar and rest as much as possible. This year, I have had 5 patients with chronic Lyme have babies and everyone is doing very well. Dr. Charles Jones, a pediatric Lyme specialist, did a study giving antibiotic treatment to pregnant mothers and 95 percent were healthy and fine.