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Does Lyme Disease Affect Memory

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Recurring Lyme Disease Rash Caused By Reinfection Not Relapse

Lyme Disease Signs and Symptoms (2 of 5) | Johns Hopkins Medicine
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Lyme disease is spread by deer ticks like this one. A study finds that some people can be reinfected many times with the bacteria that cause the disease. Lauree Feldman/Getty Creative Imageshide caption

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In recent years, a disease spread by ticks has become more common across the country.

Lyme disease causes a skin rash, and in some cases, more serious symptoms. The rash usually goes away with antibiotics, but some people say they have other symptoms that persist for months or years.

Now a study published in the latest issue of The New England Journal of Medicine suggests those with a recurring rash dont have one long illness. Instead, theyre getting new infections from fresh tick bites.

Researchers recently conducted an experiment in which they examined Lyme disease-causing bacteria in the blood of 17 patients suffering from a recurrence of the rash. Then they compared these bacteria to a sample taken from the same patients during an earlier flare-up of Lyme symptoms.


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Insights On Neurological Lyme Disease

She rounds out her discussion of these issues by interviewing five professionals who know a lot about neurological Lyme disease. One is psychiatrist Robert Bransfield, MD, a top expert on how Lyme affects the brain . Another is Sandra Berenbaum, LCSW, with whom I co-authored the book When Your Child Has Lyme Disease: A Parents Survival Guide. Others are Leo Shea, Ph.D., who has extensive experience with neuropsychological testing of children and adults with Lyme disease health advocate/blogger Scott Forsgren, founder of, who writes extensively on Lyme-related issues and Connie Strasheim, author of many books about Lyme disease. They all offer useful insights on the topic of Lyme disease brain.

Throughout the book, Ducharme offers practical information with a strong helping of optimism. As she writes early on:

I find that the majority of people with Lyme brain can find resolution or, at the very least, significant improvement of their symptoms.Im not saying its quick or easy, but I have seen remarkable improvements in people who started out very, very ill with horrible Lyme brain and are now back at work, running their families and living their lives as productive, happy people.

If you or a loved one has a problem with neurological Lyme disease symptoms, I think youll find this book both helpful and hopeful.

Try Interactive Metronome Therapy

Take brain games to the next level with Interactive Metronome , a therapy that is used to enhance memory, attention, focus, speech, and sensory skills in those struggling with cognitive impairment from various forms of brain injuries even those associated with Lyme disease. By resetting your internal brain clock and retraining neural pathways, the therapy improves communication and desensitizes hyperactive areas of the brain while activating the sluggish areas. The brain-balancing exercises are often covered by insurance and can be performed under the supervision of a variety of professional therapists to increase the brains ability to record, store, and recall memories.

Recommended Reading: What Is Lyme Disease And What Are The Symptoms

What Is Alzheimer’s Disease

Starting subtle at first, the most notable symptom of Alzheimer’s is memory loss. Alzheimer’s usually manifests in persons over the age of 65, so when it first begins to show, it can be associated with the normal factors of aging. It’s only when these symptoms become noticeable that it becomes a problem.

As Alzheimer’s starts to worsen, patients have more trouble with abstract thought processes, planning, concentration and semantic memory . There is also disorientation, such as getting lost in familiar areas like your own neighborhood, difficulty performing everyday tasks like hygiene or making phone calls, struggles with language, excessive sleep, lack of motivation and unpredictable mood swings.

But Alzheimer’s doesn’t stop there. Soon, not just short-term memory is impacted, but long-term memory, previously intact, starts to go as well. The ability to write and read fades. Urinary incontinence can also occur. Coordination is lost and falling becomes common as well as sundowning, a psychological condition associated with increased confusion, wandering and restlessness.

Stage : Early Localized Disease

Pin on Lyme Disease

Symptoms of Lyme disease usually start 3 to 30 days after the tick bite. One of the earliest signs of the disease is a bulls-eye rash.

The rash occurs at the site of the tick bite, usually, but not always, as a central red spot surrounded by a clear spot with an area of redness at the edge. It may be warm to the touch, but its not painful and doesnt itch. This rash will gradually fade in most people.

The formal name for this rash is erythema migrans.

Some people with lighter skin have a rash thats solid red. Some people with darker skin may have a rash that resembles a bruise.

The rash can occur with or without systemic viral or flu-like symptoms.

Other symptoms commonly seen in this stage of Lyme disease include:

Youll have a general feeling of being unwell. A rash may appear in areas other than the tick bite.

This stage of the disease is primarily characterized by evidence of systemic infection, which means infection has spread throughout the body, including to other organs.

Symptoms can include:

  • disturbances in heart rhythm, which can be caused by Lyme carditis
  • neurologic conditions, such as numbness, tingling, facial and cranial nerve palsies, and meningitis

The symptoms of stages 1 and 2 can overlap.

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How Do You Treat Lyme & Tick

Access to proper tick bite treatment can often be hindered because there the medical community disagrees about how to identify those with Lyme Disease. Moreover, no perfect measures of identification exist. Lacking good measures for Lyme Disease, which has been readily accepted for decades, is compounded by lacking measures for the dozens of co-infections.

Diagnosis guidelines do not require positive blood work, yet many physicians erroneously use the CDC epidemiology study submission guidelines for diagnosis. Thus, patients are often forced to pay out of pocket for the best diagnostic tools available, which are through private lab companies.

Relying on incorrect guidelines means patients are told they must have 5 out of 10 bands to be diagnosed with Lyme. This creates a major barrier to quick and necessary tick bite treatment. Only clinical opinion after a physical exam is required to make a diagnosis of Lyme.

Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

People with Lyme disease may react to it differently. Symptoms can vary in severity.

Although Lyme disease is commonly divided into three stages early localized, early disseminated, and late disseminated symptoms can overlap. Some people will also present in a later stage of disease without having symptoms of earlier disease.

These are some of the more common symptoms of Lyme disease:

  • a flat, circular rash that looks like a red oval or bulls-eye anywhere on your body

These symptoms may occur soon after the infection, or months or years later.

You may also notice some psychological symptoms in your child. According to a , some parents reported the following psychological issues in their child with Lyme disease:

  • anger or aggression
  • depression
  • nightmares

If your child seems to be acting differently and cant explain why or what theyre feeling, its important to talk with their doctor, as these changes could be a sign of many conditions, including Lyme disease.

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Neurological Lyme: A Recap

Neurological Lyme is a different flavor of Lyme disease that occurs when infection with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi affects the cranial or peripheral nerves or the central nervous system , reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

In other words, when a Lyme infection triggers an immune response, the immune system rallies white blood cells to act in defense, and inflammatory cytokine activity increases in the brain and spinal cord. When these immune cells infiltrate the CNS in response to a chronic infection, a range of noticeable neurological symptoms may result, such as:

  • Memory loss
  • Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditionsSensation changes on the skin

Not everyone with Lyme disease will experience neurological symptoms, though. When it comes to newly-diagnosed, acute infections, approximately 15% of patients reportedly experience one or more neurological effects like Bells palsy, meningitis, or numbness and tingling in the arms or legs, according to research published by Frontiers in Neurology. But this figure may be just the tip of the iceberg.

For a host of reasons, getting an accurate diagnosis and obtaining treatment for Lyme is often delayed due to a lack of physician understanding and public awareness, an unseen tick bite, the absence of the hallmark erythema migrans , and insensitive testing methods that produce false negatives.

Effective Solutions To Restore Your Memory

Think the Lyme Disease Rash is Always a Bull’s-eye? Think Again! | Johns Hopkins Rheumatology

Unfortunately, the current CDC treatment guidelines for neurological Lyme are antibiotics that are often ineffective in later stages of the illness, but all hope is not lost. If youre experiencing Lyme-related memory problems, there are lifestyle habits and natural remedies like herbs that can help normalize disrupted communications in the brain and nervous system and enhance your memory. Heres how.

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Lyme Disease And Cognitive Impairment

For decades, those who have had Lyme disease frequently complain of cognitive impairment, even after treatment with antibiotics is concluded. How frequently? A study led by researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reported that 92 percent of Lyme disease patients in the study reported experiencing cognitive issues.

All 124 patients had experienced either physical or mental post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome . Evidence from 26 percent of the patients showed significant cognitive decline in the areas of memory and cognitive processing speed.

The gap between the number of people reporting brain fog and the number of issues subjectively proven in tests led some researchers to think perhaps the issue was psychosomatic and related to depression or anxiety. Certainly, depression is an issue with Lyme disease, with as high as 45 percent of patients reporting feelings of depression in some studies, according to the Global Mental Health Program at Columbia University.

But new research shows that something else may be involved: brain inflammation.

Are There Other Kinds Of Tick

Yes. While most people automatically think about Lyme Disease, they need to remember ticks carry multiple infections at the same time.

One common infectious disease that ticks carry is Babesia, a parasite that infects red blood cells and presents like malaria. It is difficult to detect, and symptoms can be mild. For example the, most common physical symptom is sweating. Babesia can lead to serious illness and when present with a co-infection, it can increase the severity of Lyme disease. Babesia is well known to be associated with neurocognitive and neuropsychiatric symptoms.

One teen patient experienced a sudden onset of anxiety for several years. The anxiety was so severe she she was unable to leave her home. Although she had all the telltale signs of tick-borne infection, specifically Babesia. Although other doctors missed this, in our first session I identified her as having Tick-Borne Disease

The QEEG brain map clearly showed the illness that the long list of physicians, psychiatrists, and psychologists three year period had missed. That led to never being treated properly., She could then be referred to a Lyme physician for proper treatment. Sadly, this teen had a clear-cut case of Lyme Disease and Tick-Borne Disease, but was never identified early and treated with antibiotics. This is an all too familiar story that leads to a case of Late-Disseminated Lyme, and more importantly, a lot of suffering and heartache.

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Visual Treatment Of Lyme Disease

Medical treatment for Lyme disease doesnt always address Lyme-related visual problems, and without treatment, vision may still be impaired long after medical treatment is completed.

Any inflammation in the body can negatively affect the functioning of the limbs and organs. This is especially true for the brain and the visual system, which are often affected by Lyme disease.

Thats where neuro-optometry can help.

Neuro-optometry evaluates how our eyes and brain function together. When Lyme disease affects that connection, a patients balance may be affected, causing their vision and depth perception to be affected as well.

A neuro-optometrist may utilize lenses, prisms and, in some situations, neuro-visual therapy. Neuro-visual therapy is a rehab program for those who have had a neurological incident that has affected their vision and its functioning/processing.

This is especially true in the case of children. Lyme disease can disrupt important developmental cycles, resulting in visual problems and the likelihood of developmental delays and learning difficulties.

If you or your child has been diagnosed with Lyme disease, contact Eye Vision Associates, to learn whether it has affected your vision.

Eye Vision Associates serves patients from Nesconset, Ronkonkoma, Lake Grove, and Centereach & Hauppauge, New York and surrounding communities.

Common Causes Of Chronic Illness Flare

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When youre in the middle of a chronic illness flare-up, it can be difficult to pinpoint what might have triggered your reaction. But understanding your triggers is an important step in healing your body: It helps ensure youre not contributing to the problem, and that you can prevent flare-ups in the future.

If you feel like youve tried everything to manage or avoid flare-ups with no luck, keep reading to learn about 10 of the most common causes that you might not know about. By understanding what causes flare-ups, youll be able to gather the tools you need to avoid them in the future and feel better longer.

1. Herxheimer Reactions

Herxheimer reactions are common among Lyme disease patients using antimicrobials. When bacteria start to die off, they shed body parts called endotoxins that can circulate through the body and trigger a whole-body inflammatory reaction. The result: Lyme symptoms temporarily intensify.

Usual Herxheimer reactions include fatigue or generally feeling terrible all over. Generally, they start with the introduction of a new therapy, and ramp up as the serving size of the treatment is increased. Ordinarily, herxing is much more intense with conventional antibiotics than with herbal therapy the latter causes more gradual die-off and thus a less intense immune response.

2. Bacterial or Viral Flare-up

3. Acute Viral Infections

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What Lyme Disease Does To Your Brain

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that you catch when an infected deer tick bites you. The first symptoms can appear within a few days or weeks. They include a target-shaped rash, fatigue, fever, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches, and headache. Often, doctors promptly recognize and treat Lyme disease with antibiotics. But when treatment is delayed, the infection can spread to other areas, including the nerves, liver and eyes. It can also spread to the central nervous systemthe brain and spinal cordand cause the following problems.

How To Improve Your Memory

Dr. Bonner-Jackson says there are proven ways to boost brain health, which may help lower your risk for Alzheimers disease and dementia.

But keep in mind that memory loss does not automatically mean theres something wrong with your health or that you will develop Alzheimers. Resolving the problem may involve practicing meditation or other stress-busting techniques, getting more sleep or eating a balanced diet, explains Dr. Bonner-Jackson. The key is to pay attention to memory loss and talk to your doctor to figure out whats causing it.

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Do You Ever Fully Recover From Lyme Disease

Although most cases of Lyme disease can be cured with a 2- to 4-week course of oral antibiotics, patients can sometimes have symptoms of pain, fatigue, or difficulty thinking that last for more than 6 months after they finish treatment. This condition is called Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome .

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What Neurocognitive & Neuropsychiatric Conditions Result From Lyme & Tick

Lyme Disease, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, DIagnosis and Treatment.

Neurocognitive and Neuropsychiatric tick-borne disease symptoms can emerge either early or late in the disseminated phase of infection. In untreated Lyme Disease, the encephalopathy can be moderate to severe, and can wreak havoc on an individuals life. Unfortunately, the average person sees 5 to 7 doctors before they are correctly diagnosed . Lyme Connection: Leir Center Presentation).In one common scenario, an individual is certain they have Lyme and go to their physician.

The doctor then tells them they dont have it or dont meet the clinical criteria. Unless one takes control of their own medical care or sees a Lyme specialist, they may find themselves thinking they just have a psychiatric issue without a medical source. Individuals often go down this road only to find that they dont get much relief this way either.

Bransfield and Weintraub note there are hundreds of peer-reviewed articles address a causal association between Lyme Disease and mental symptoms. Fallon and Neilds note that 40% of patients with Lyme Disease develop neurologic involvement of either peripheral or central nervous system. The range of neurocognitive, neuropsychiatric and physical symptoms is wide.

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What Is Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness in the United States, with about 300,000 cases diagnosed each year. The black-legged tick carries the disease, which is caused by a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. Its named after Lyme, Conn., where it was first identified.

The symptoms of Lyme disease include headache, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, muscle and joint pain, fever and chills. Because of these symptoms, people sometimes mistake Lyme disease symptoms for the flu. But one of the most mysterious symptoms of Lyme disease involves long-term issues with fatigue and brain fog that may last for years after their initial infection has cleared up, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. These cognitive symptoms typically impact about 10% of Lyme disease patients.

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