Month: June 2018

MAP: Where We’ve Been & Where We’re Going Part 2

18 years have passed since the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources of the National Academies, and the National Johne’s Disease Working Group (NJWG) presented recommendations to the USDA, to further research and test for correlations between Johne’s Disease, MAP (mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis), and Crohn’s. What happened with the recommended follow-ups? [1]

In a 2018 article by the USDA, acknowledgement of correlation between Johne’s Disease and MAP is stated; that article listed tips for preventative measures and then referred the reader (farmers) to their local livestock veterinarian or state extension office. [2]

However, the 2018 article was a revision of a 2017 article, which discussed Johne’s clinical stages and signs, encouraged farmers to participate in initiatives, such as Voluntary Bovine Johne’s Disease Control Program, and encouraged veterinarians to become Johne’s Certified; but why the change, and what about the MAP/Johne’s/Crohn’s connection? [3]

While I applaud this measure from the USDA and recognize it as somewhat proactive, why aren’t these USDA voluntary recommendations mandatory and funded? Why isn’t the USDA doing more to help our farmers and producers with subsidies and grants accomplish to this? The USDA dedicated website “Grants and Loans for Farmers,” made no mention of Johne’s, mycobacteria or paratuberculosis as of June 2018. [4]

Testing is expensive; farmers and producers may not be able to financially make this a possibility. Why hasn’t the USDA conducted it’s own testing relating MAP to Johne’s and Crohn’s, or have they? In the long run, is it not plausible to financially aid farmers and producers to test and perform biosecurity measures, and reduce MAP transmission into our nations food and water supplies?

I find it curious why the “National Updates” of tested for infection herds (beef and dairy cattle), as of April 26, 2018 only list updates from 2005 – 2006. Pooled sample testing of dairy and beef cattle, and vaccinations of such are last reported as of 2009, the year Tom Vilsack became head of USDA, appointed by the Obama Administration. [5][6][7]

Tom Vilsack, head of the USDA 2009-2017, current president and CEO of US Dairy Export Council, and former governor of Iowa was named as Governor of the Year by Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and has reported interests with Monsanto. [8]

Since the USDA and various committees recognize and address MAP as a problem for humans and livestock, and if such testing was conducted by the USDA during or after Vilsack’s 8 year tenure, where are the results? Are they not testing anymore, or are they? Don’t we as individuals have a right to know, so that we can make informed decisions?

1. National Research Council (US) Committee on Diagnosis and Control of Johne’s Disease. Diagnosis and Control of Johne’s Disease. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2003. Executive Summary.

2. USDA APHIS Johne’s Disease Information 2018

3. USDA APHIS Johne’s Disease Information 2017

4. Grants and Loans for Farmers

5. Number of Herds in the Johne’s Program 2005-2006

6. Environmental and Pooled Fecal Samples October 1, 2008 through October 31, 2009

7. Number of Vaccinated Herds and Calves October 1, 2008 through October 31, 2009

8. Tom Vilsack meets with Monsanto 2015

Posted by kristaevans, 1 comment

MAP: Where We’ve Been & Where We’re Going Part 1

My research into MAP (mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis) has proven worthy to get a grasp of what this bacterium entails, coupled with the enormity of what this could mean for Ulcerative Colitis/Crohn’s Disease, MS, Hashimoto’s,T1D patients and others. Let me reiterate, however, that MAP may be one cause for Crohn’s and/or Ulcerative Colitis development; microbiologists, researchers, and physicians are painstakingly working to further prove this.

In a 2003 published article by NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information), the notion of a correlation between MAP, Johne’s Disease and Crohn’s was presented. 3 years prior, the USDA requested that the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources of the National Academies form a committee to research their concerns. The council extensively viewed evidence, domestically and globally, and made “recommendations for a national control program,” going so far as to recommend that further emphasis be put into funding, research, and awareness. [1]

The council recommended specific and controlled testing of individuals with Crohn’s Disease to determine if they were MAP positive, and drew the following two conclusions: “The possibility that Map infection could be a cause of some cases of Crohn’s disease in humans, combined with concern that Map is becoming widespread in the environment and the food chain, could transform JD into a serious public health problem.” [1]

“Several approaches have been taken to begin addressing growing concern over JD. The National Johne’s Disease Working Group (NJWG) of the United States Animal Health Association has implemented an educational program to increase awareness among livestock producers, developed a voluntary herd status program to encourage producers to rear JD-free herds, and has developed minimum standards for state JD control programs. All of these efforts are yielding positive results, but the lack of a nationally coordinated control effort has limited progress and the sense of urgency continues to grow.” [1]

The National Research Council named 9 specific, evidenced conclusions, and outlined recommendations (25 to be exact), of methods, protocol and prevention, based on their findings and what other countries do who face the same problems. These easy to understand, and follow, recommendations included input from NJWG, who educate farmers and veterinarians on how to handle this MAP, Johne’s threat. [1]

These conclusions were geared towards producers, state and federal authorities. As for MAP causing Crohn’s Disease, the committee had these to say: “After evaluating all of the available evidence for and against a causal role for Map in Crohn’s disease, the committee was of the unanimous opinion that the evidence was insufficient either to establish or to refute a causal connection.” [1]

“If a causal relationship is established between human Map infection and even a subset of Crohn’s disease cases, the above research recommendations will be essential for implementation of new control programs aimed at protecting public health by minimizing exposure to Map. Additional research would then be needed to develop methods for routine screening of dairy products, meat, and meat products for Map,” according to the committee. [1]
Out of the list of 25 recommendations, concluded by the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources of the National Academies and the NJWG, consider this one:

RECOMMENDATION 21. The National Institutes of Health or a similar body should convene a panel with experts in gastroenterology, Crohn’s disease, infectious disease, mycobacteriology, biostatistics, epidemiology, etc., to define the precise study designs and to rank order the various studies to be done.” [1]

Based on their own merit – global experts representing all of these fields, led by Dr. J. Todd Kuenster, primary author and conference organizer, accomplished this recommendation, on their own. In the 2017 MAP conference held at Temple University in Philadelphia, attendees and consensus contributors (including my GI, Dr. Ira Shafran), agreed on this: “In a blind study, three independent laboratories using” (Prof. UCF) “Naser’s method have confirmed that viable MAP is found at a higher prevalence in CD patients than in controls”, “…MAP present in dairy products and meat causes disease in some humans and thus poses a public health threat…” [2] [3] You can’t get simpler than that.

1. National Research Council (US) Committee on Diagnosis and Control of Johne’s Disease. Diagnosis and Control of Johne’s Disease. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2003. Executive Summary. Executive Summary Diagnosis and Control of Johne’s Disease

2. Human Para Foundation

3. 2017 MAP Conference

Posted by kristaevans in MAP, Posts, 0 comments

Beyond the Waterfall

Before Colitis/Crohn’s Disease, I planned to earn my Master’s at UNCW, in a field of research relating to ocean conservation; my late Uncle Ed and I planned to delve into his discovery of producing fuel from algae, pooch and I had a place to live, employment opportunities and a path. Little did I realize that years before, I had been infected with mycobacterium avium subsp. Paratuberculosis (MAP), which was probably the cause of my out of the blue symptoms (MAP incubates for years), and subsequent diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease and Colitis.

No one could foretell that it would take 6 years and 7 GI’s, post diagnosis, before I learned about MAP (which has caused me great anguish, realizing I didn’t have to suffer so much and almost die two times in the process). How many other patients and their loved ones could have been helped or saved by this information? After diagnosis and before I learned of MAP, as the months turned into years and I watched my mind and body go from over the top to barely functioning, I knew my UNCW and biofuel plans were out of the window, so I settled for doing whatever I could to pay my bills, support myself and pooch.

Those ideas, that notion of “settling” formed the solitary, unmovable rocks and boulders of my existence; they became my only resting place as deemed by conventional medical society. Being told you can no longer live or eat as previous, and that your options in life are suddenly limited is a humbling experience, and not something anyone wants to hear.

Having limited options for care is even more humbling. I was stuck and losing hope; I no longer noticed the flow of life around me, of how dammed waters well up with such force then break without notice; shallow riverbeds are overtaken in release of gravitational force in a glorious, sparkling, foaming cascade over a cliff, briefly settling into a misty basin, before being pushed further into great unknowns. No wonder people harness the power of water, it is indeed alive, an effervescent production of negative ion’s, clashing H20 atoms, water molecules and pure energy. It’s curious how, when we are out of energy, we can surround ourselves in God’s creation and notice His ever-present energy, small moments keep us moving, if only minutely.

Is it not ironic, how, in our own lives we tend to face obstacles and deal with life much the same way? Our present circumstances and perceptions of the future and the after life can become mottled if we don’t keep them in check.

As I have learned, life’s events are either covertly building under the surface like a tsunami before landfall, or are subdued and meek like a meandering stream. Now let’s focus on what’s before me, the world I see through the waterfall and beyond.

Before anti-MAP therapy – when I could not gain weight!

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