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Lyme disease documentary to spark panel discussion at GMFF

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As the weather warms up and people venture outdoors again, concerns about what could lurk in the tall grass — namely, deer ticks carrying Lyme disease — return, too.

Since it was first identified in 1982, Lyme disease has caused public fear, confusion — and controversy. A film screening this Sunday at the 13th annual Green Mountain Film Festival should fuel the latter.

The consensus among major medical journals and doctors is that chronic Lyme disease does not exist, and that those who claim to be afflicted with it are actually victims of a psychosomatic condition or other unknown illness. The documentary Under Our Skin, directed by Andy Abrahams Wilson (who's made other docs for PBS and HBO) strongly challenges this claim.

The film classifies Lyme Disease as an epidemic, claiming it is 10 times more prevalent than AIDS and West Nile combined. It documents the lives of patients, some severely disabled, as they struggle to find a cure or even a diagnosis. Interviews with patients and doctors make a larger statement about politics and corruption in our current health care system.

The showing is on Sunday, March 21, at 5 p.m. at the Pavilion Auditorium at 109 State Street in Montpelier. A discussion with central Vermonters affected by Lyme Disease and local doctors follows. Check here for ticketing information.

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