‘Why Am I Still Sick?’ New Documentary Explores The Biofilm Question

Never heard of communities of bacteria called biofilms? You have a lot of company. But do you know someone, or are you someone, who just can’t seem to get shed of one mysterious ailment after another, odd constellations of symptoms and infections that just never seem to go completely away?

Film producer Richard Longland argues that we should connect those dots, that biofilms are sickening and even killing many Americans, in a new film called “Why Am I Still Sick?” It will be partially screened tonight at a free Northeastern conference titled “Innovations in Human Health: The Biofilm Question.” Details here.

What are biofilms? From the conference page:

During the last thirty years, medical researchers have identified startling new facts of how bacteria survive in nature, man and beast. We humans depend on biofilm communities, the predominant microbiological life form, but they sometimes work against us by contributing to chronic disease. So how do we keep these life forms in check when they cause chronic wounds? Periodontal infections? Hospital infections?

I heard about the film from Kat Tatlock, who directed the cancer film we featured at a CommonHealth screening last year, “Outside In,” and contributed to this one as well. Some of the film’s claims — that biofilms could be costing America $100 billion annually, for example — trigger my skeptic’s alarm bells; but it’s clear from the experts quoted in the film, scientists at institutions like MIT and the University of Massachusetts, that biofilms — communities of bacteria — are a well-documented phenomenon, and a potentially frightening one.

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  • Mary Jane Heppe

    Please read Dr. Richard Horowitz’ most recently published book, “Why Can’t I Get Better? Solving the Mystery of Lyme and Chronic Disease.” This amazing book explains biofilms and much more. We need more medical detectives like him.

  • Debster

    I am very interested in getting a copy of this film. I am a prime example of this madness: I had twins in 1989 and have never been well since. In my early twenties: diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, mid twenties, pinched nerves, then ms at the age of 26.. When I was 31: Lyme Disease. This nightmare has no end. I am on too much medication for each illness. I go to bed sick and wake up sick. I am now disabled and still feel awful. Is there a possible answer to this madness????????
    Does anyone out there share my story???????


  • Belinda Williams

    Is there a way of getting a copy of this documentary to see in full

  • http://www.facebook.com/richard.longland Richard Longland

    Carey, thank you for your article on the Northeastern Event and the documentary. The NE event went well and we videotaped it. The $100B number is incredibly conservative — low — as it does not include many other major medical specialties that are known to see chronic biofilm infections as a major problem. E.g, periodontal diseases and affiliated specialties was not included. If you were to include these stats, the number would skyrocket.

    A reminder that human medicine is the only life science that still uses culture-based diagnostics (a 150 year old technology and paradigm) to look for bugs. It detects up to a max of 6% of all microbes. Even “CSI” uses molecular diagnostics to look for the bad guys (bugs and criminals!).

    When will American doctors start using modern diagnostics to diagnose diseases in patients? Why is it so big a challenge?

    Richard Longland
    Founder, The Arthroplasty Patient Foundation

    Producer, Why Am I Still Sick, The Silent Role of Biofilms in Chronic Disease

  • http://www.facebook.com/mariusz.smykla Mariusz Smykla