Editorial Reviews

[Applies to both titles: Rheumatoid Arthritis…and Arthritis and Autoimmune Disease…]


Rheumatoid Arthritis…  was a finalist for ForeWord Magazine’s 2002 Book of the Year Award (health category). Competing publishers were the Mayo Clinic, and Johns Hopkins.


Review of  Rheumatoid Arthritis… By Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA), June 5, 2002

5.0 out of 5 stars A close, careful and somewhat controversial study

TITLE: Rheumatoid Arthritis: The Infection Connection {Targeting and Treating the Cause of Chronic Illness} (Trade Paperback, 2002, 440 pages)

Rheumatoid Arthritis: The Infection Connection is a close, careful and somewhat controversial study of the chronic illness of rheumatoid arthritis, a debilitating disease in which the body's immune system turns on itself. Research scientist and former arthritis sufferer Katherine M. Poehlmann, Ph.D. forcefully advocates evidence to support the theory that rheumatoid arthritis is caused by bacterial infections that trigger allergic reactions, and that can be treated by identifying and removing the cause of the allergies. An extensive background on arthritis written for the non-specialist general reader seeking help with this debilitating disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis: The Infection Connection is an alternative point of view well worth taking into consideration, particularly when conventional remedies have proven ineffective.

Rheumatoid Arthritis…

Dr. Poehlmann has compiled and outstanding resource that finally offers the lay and professional audience a long needed contemporary natural medicine update of Dr. Brown’s pioneering low-dose antibiotic protocol for RA …this therapy works.   --- Joseph Mercola, D.O. owner of www.mercola.com the most visited natural health website in the U.S.

Arthritis and Autoimmune Disease…

You have done an outstanding job, covering an extensive number of possible causes and treatments…. I recommend this book as a practical, well researched presentation of both conventional and unconventional treatments.”  --- Dr. Gabe Mirkin, Immunologist and radio talk show host; Author of 16 health books plus hundreds of internet articles at www.DrMirkin.com


From the Publisher

These two books cover much more than Rheumatoid Arthritis. The same therapy applies to a wide range of persistent, “autoimmune” illnesses including Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Those with a family history of chronic illness or autoimmune disease will learn prevention strategies for maintaining good health.


The books are supplemented with additional backup Health articles, Case histories, Endnotes, Research and Resource URL link-tables, Bibliography, and summaries of Ongoing research on related medical topics at www.RA-Infection-Connection.com .

The increased scope of  Arthritis and Autoimmune Disease….  produced too many (1000+) chapter end-notes to include in the book. These Endnotes are now located on her extended book-supporting website, www.RA-Infection-Connection.com. Endnote citations now can include active URL links to web-resident source documents if they exist.


From the Author

Those who suffer from Arthritis, COPD, persistent gut and bladder inflammation, Lupus, carpal tunnel syndrome (tendonitis), back and joint pain, or any other so-called autoimmune disease may benefit from what's presented in these books. The tests, treatments, and nutritional guidelines are suitable for pets, as well. 

The scope of the second book (2012) is expanded to cover more of the many rheumatic, autoimmune diseases and conditions. 

The themes of both books are the same, as is stated in the excerpt below.  Since the first publication, the excerpt has been confirmed repeatedly by discoveries and rediscoveries of prior medical research.  The French Lister Institute first discovered the L-forms of cell wall bacteria and reported on many of them. L-forms are cell wall deficient (CWD) bacteria as documented by Dr. Lida Mattman in her book, Cell Wall Deficient Forms--  Stealth Pathogens, CRC Press.

Mycoplasma pneumoniae do not have cell wall forms; but Streptococcus pneumoniae have CWD L-forms. Both can appear as a lung infection, and can be persistent causes of chronic arthritis and other rheumatic maladies.  It now appears that just about all cell wall bacteria have CWD forms during their life cycle and all CWD forms may invade various preferred blood-, immune-, epithelial- and other organ-cells that they can target.

Rheumatoid Arthritis…. Excerpt © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

We know from the study of many forms of life that metamorphic changes during the lifespan of an organism run from initial seed through several shape and structure changes, with interim stable forms that adapt to the particular life phase and to the environment, and then change back to seed form again. This ability to alter shape and structure is called pleomorphism. It is probably the combined result of evolution and the many climatic and environmental changes the evolving organism has faced and to which it has had to adapt over hundreds of millions of years and perhaps trillions of trillions of generations. Thus, the vulnerability of one shape or form to an attack or environment change can be circumvented by a shape change so that the organism will evolve specific R-factors to ensure resistance to an attack.

In the laboratory, L-forms so closely resemble mycoplasmas because both lack cell walls that at one time all mycoplasmas were referred to as L-form bacteria. We know now that mycoplasmas have no enzymes, a feature required to transition to an L-form.

We carry mycoplasmas and L-forms with us as remnants of childhood infections such as pneumonia, strep throat, bronchitis, rheumatic fever, or other early illnesses. Mycoplasmas are not viruses, since they do not require living cells in which to grow. Mycoplasmas are included within a separate class (Mollicutes) of bacteria because they have lost the ability to develop a cell wall. This makes them harder to see and much harder to culture in vitro. They are specifically adapted to certain cellular environments by their genetic nature, which is quite robust in its complexity, having adapted and evolved over millions of years. Micro-organisms such as mycoplasmas often lie dormant, waiting for conditions to be favorable for propagation. This would explain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), or Gulf War Illness, which seem to strike suddenly.

It is not necessary for the whole mycoplasma microorganism to be present for a reaction in a joint or tissue to be provoked. Mere fragments are sufficient to create a powerful antigenic reaction that causes the body to produce antibodies to counter it. These antigens are constructed by the host’s cells from bits of pathogenic protein and cellular proteins called major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules. The processing and assembly of antigens are the keys to understanding the flexibility, specificity, and thoroughness of all immune responses. The antibody reaction may be mainly against a "host antigen" carried on the mycoplasmal membrane.

Affinity of mycoplasmas or L-forms of cellular bacteria for the tissue and fluid of the joints has been recognized since the 1890s. Experiments by Dr. Thomas McPherson Brown and Jack Nunemaker in the 1930s demonstrated that the L-form they studied was a variant of the Streptobacillus organism. The cellular bacteria was able to lose its capsule and cell wall and enter a state in which it could become invisible, pass through a filter, and return to the parent form, re-growing its cell walls. Chlamydia is another example of a bacterial organism capable of both walled and wall-less states. L-forms can reproduce but the rates are slower than that of the cellular form.

This cloaking capability explains how L-forms are able to "go underground," transmutate, and reemerge after the immune system attack on the bacterial form has subsided, returning to assault injured cells aggressively. An immune system weakened by addictive drugs, anti-depressants, or improper diet is unable to produce the quantity and quality of natural antibodies to stave off this new attack.

Studies in 1994-1996 on ear infections in children concluded that L-forms as atypical forms of bacteria may play an important role in the bacteriologic aspect of secretory Otitis media. Both Turkish and New Zealand research groups point out the failure of conventional culture methods to identify the responsible pathogen(s). Further, the researchers admit that some agents are capable of changing bacterial behavior and consequently the clinical course of action. A Russian study identified persistent forms of bacteria that performed antigenic mimicry or otherwise protected themselves against the host’s immune system response.

These studies indicate that a comprehensive reexamination of L-forms is long overdue. This could open up a whole new field of infectious-disease pathology where new methods are developed for the isolation and identification of causative agents in bacterial infections.

About the Author (duplicates elsewhere)

Dr. Katherine Poehlmann is a professional researcher and systems engineer with a magna cum laude degree in mathematics and an MBA. She has authored dozens of scientific reports on space technology, defense policy analysis, and aircraft logistics.

Her husband Karl is also a “rocket scientist” (Lunar Lander Program, Space Telescope, communications satellites). His research skills merged with Katherine’s as they sought a cure for her Rheumatoid Arthritis triggered by physical trauma.

Disabled with RA, Katherine had to quit her senior research staff position at the RAND Corporation. She and Karl spent several months investigating medical books, online articles through medical libraries, and discussions with clinicians, while Katherine took courses for a Health Science PhD. She and Karl looked for the most benign solution possible, dubious about the usual treatment with powerful drugs and risky side effects.

They were fortunate to discover Dr. Thomas McPherson Brown’s insightful book The Road Back (1987) describing the connection between rheumatic diseases and bacterial (Mycoplasma pneumoniae) infection.

Following Dr. Brown’s low dose tetracycline antibiotic protocol, Katherine progressed from being “25% disabled,” as determined by her doctors in 1993, to being completely ambulatory and pain-free in 1996.

In 2002, Dr. Poehlmann rewrote her dissertation as a self-help book Rheumatoid Arthritis… for the general reader.

Since her recovery from RA, the Poehlmanns have hiked in Tibet, Patagonia, Bali, Easter Island and over sections of the Great Wall of China.

Katherine and Karl have lectured nationally and internationally. Katherine is a frequent guest for radio and television interviews, and gives free health talks to RA and Fibromyalgia support groups, clubs like Rotary and Kiwanis, and church groups. She is on the board of directors for two non-profit organizations: the Road Back Foundation and the Arthroplasty Patient Foundation.

In 2011 they attended the Institute for Functional Medicine Seattle conference.  Many of the concepts and themes of her 2002 book were echoed by the IFM conference speakers.  The keynote speaker at the conference was Dr. Garth Nicholson, one of the world’s experts on how Mycoplasmae interact with our immune system.  Dr. Nicholson contributed an appendix to both versions of  …Infection Connection.

After consulting with respected clinicians, Katherine with Karl’s help spent over a year updating and expanding her book to produce her new title: Arthritis and Autoimmune Disease: The Infection Connection. Over 1000 old and new citations were found to support the new book which has been updated to include ten years of medical progress.