Graduation Year

2019

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

W.M. Keck Science Department

Reader 1

Sarah Budischak

Reader 2

Gabriela Morales

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2019 Jodie B Horowitz

Abstract

An estimated 300,000 people contract Lyme disease in the USA every year, 10-20% of whom will experience long-term symptoms even after antibiotic treatment. These patients are said to have Chronic Lyme Disease (CLD). However, diagnostic guidelines, treatment protocols, and the etiological existence of CLD have been the subject of much controversy in the biomedical field, leading to negative mental and physical health outcomes for of patients with CLD. Patient support networks focused on illness experience, known as biosocialities, have formed in response to this controversy. CLD biosocialities create opportunities for patients to participate in biomedical activism and the scientific research process. A historical precedent for biosocial impact on biomedical knowledge and improved health outcomes has been established from patient activists with HIV/AIDS, breast cancer, and PTSD. The impact of CLD patients’ biosocial activism on a scientific and sociological level is evaluated through an examination of the publications of CLD support networks and biomedical research publications. CLD biosocial activism has resulted in more patient-centered research endeavours, etiological proof of CLD, improved diagnostic technologies, and new treatment protocols. These biomedical results have implications for improved CLD patient health outcomes and credibility for CLD as a legitimate disease on a biological and sociological level.

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