Author’s MAP Story

In 2001 I saw a patient for an inflammatory condition in the eye.  The findings were suggestive of the systemic inflammatory disease, sarcoidosis.  As these individuals frequently have an inflammatory mass in the lungs,  she was sent for imaging studies of the chest and, indeed, had a chest mass.  The mass was biopsied and showed the “non-caseating granuloma” indicative of sarcoidosis.  I was aware of the association of the bacterium Mycobacterium avium ss. paratuberculosis (MAP) and sarcoidosis.   I sent a portion of the tissue to the lab of Dr. Jay Ellingson, a noted scientist in the realm of MAP microbiology.   He performed tests on the tissue and found MAP in the tissue.

My experience with this one patient has led me down a path that has had some “ah ha” moments.  The recurring theme with several “autoimmune” diseases is that there is a “genetic predisposition” and an “environmental trigger” for the disease.  I have proposed a role for MAP in Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM), and autoimmune (Hashimoto’s) thyroiditis.  Early studies have supported a link.  An enormous amount of research is needed to confirm or refute an association between MAP and these important diseases.   The purpose of this web site is to feature research supporting a link between MAP and human diseases.