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How Does Lyme Disease Affect The Brain


Acute Vs Chronic Lymedisease

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There are some importantdifferences between acute and chronic Lyme disease. When infection occurs andthe bacteria enter the body, the immune system recognizes the microbes asharmful and begins fighting them. If the immune system is strong and robust,the initial symptoms may be very mild, and sometimes there wont be anysymptoms at all. This is why people often dont even realize theyve beeninfected.

In its early stages, Lymedisease is usually treated successfully with antibiotics. But if the infectionremains undiagnosed, the bacteria can go on living inside the cells withoutcausing any trouble for a long time. As they travel to other tissues andorgans, including the brain, they eventually disperse throughout the body. Theonly time symptoms might present is when the immune system weakens due toillness, extreme stress, or some other reason. This is when the bacteria startto flourish, causing a chronic infection.

Chronic Lyme disease occurswhen the entire microbiome is disrupted. After this has happened, the immune system continues todysfunction, which can lead to many different types of symptoms. This chronicphase can even last a lifetime.

How Lyme Gets Into Your Brain

To understand how Lyme disease affects, the brain, its important to understand the different phases of the infection. Ticks, specifically deer ticks in the northeastern U.S., are the carriers of the bacteria spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi that causes Lyme disease. In particular, its the small, immature tick nymphs that feed on animals like the white-footed mouse, squirrels and other small mammals that serve as reservoirs for Borrelia burgdorferi. Later, an infected tick will attach themselves to a person or other mammal. Once attached, the tick will gorge on the blood of its host for several days. Many

Infection Phase

Even prior to entering the host, S. Borrelia Burgdorferi has its work to do. Host blood enters the tick gut during feeding, as S. Borrelia Burgdorferi simultaneously begins to multiply in preparation to travel to the ticks salivary glands. As the bacteria enter the host, there are several mechanisms that make it difficult for the immune system to attack and eradicate S. Borrelia Burgdorferi.

First, to avoid an immune response from the host, the bacteria decrease the number of surface proteins that signal a pro-inflammatory response. These proteins are normally found at high levels within the tick gut, but are significantly decreased during feeding periods.

Lyme Sci: Lyme Spirochetes In An Autopsied Brain

An important new study from Tulane University found Lyme bacteria in autopsied brain tissue of a woman who had been aggressively treated with antibiotics.

These findings underscore how persistent these spirochetes can be in spite of multiple rounds of antibiotics targeting them, says Dr. Monica Embers, of Tulane.

Dr. Embers team collaborated with Dr. Brian Fallon, of the Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

In their study, published in Frontiers in Neurology, the researchers performed an in-depth autopsy on the brain tissues of an elderly woman who had been previously treated for neurological Lyme disease.

And guess what? They found intact Borrelia burgdorferi, the agent that causes Lyme disease, inside portions of the patients brain as well as DNA evidence in her spinal cord.

Obviously, you cant take brain samples from a living person. Therefore, autopsy samples, such as used in this study, can demonstrate that Borrelia can remain in human tissues even after extensive treatment with antibiotics. Such studies are essential in the effort to develop better diagnostics and treatment.

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When Should You See A Doctor If You Think You Have Lyme

The rash is a pretty good indication that you may have been bitten. Take a photo of the rash and see your doctor. At this stage, treatment with antibiotics will probably work.

If you don’t have the rash but have symptoms like fatigue, fever, and headache but no respiratory symptoms like a cough, you may want to talk to your doctor.

Lyme Is Not The Only Threat

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As mentioned earlier in this article, there is another group of borrelia that causes a disease that is similar to, but biologically distinct from, Lyme. This disease, called Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever or TBRF, is often characterized by fevers that wax and wane every few days. However, many patients never experience relapsing fevers or any fevers at all. Like those of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, TBRF symptoms can often go undetected or be mistaken for other conditions, which can give the disease time to develop into neurological symptoms.

So, as with Lyme, it is crucial to get an early and accurate diagnosis of TBRF. Be aware that TBRF will not show up on a Lyme test the test must be designed to test for TBRF borrelia in order to show accurate results. If symptoms are Lyme-like but test results are negative, doctors should consider the possibility of TBRF.

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How Does Neurological Lyme Disease Enter The Brain

Scientists believe the bacteria travels through the hosts body through the bloodstream but they are unsure how they get from the bloodstream into the brain to cause Neurological Lyme Disease. The most likely theory is the bacteria travel through the blood-brain barrier via the endothelial cells that line the surface of blood vessels.

Neurological Lyme Disease Diagnosis And Treatment

Lyme disease is normally diagnosed basedon a combination of factors, such as symptoms, any physical signs, history oftick bites or potential exposure to infected ticks, and laboratory tests.

Patients with chronic neurological symptoms may benefit from a brain MRI scan and late-stage Lyme disease testing, such cerebrospinal fluid testing. These can help determine the presence of Borrelia burgdorferi. Brain scans may show lesions similar to the ones seen in multiple sclerosis. Spine lesions are also sometimes observed. Other diagnostic methods include neurocognitive tests, nerve conduction studies, and neuropsychological testing.

Chronic and neurological Lyme disease is the result ofweakened immunity, decreased cellular function and environmental and lifestylefactors. Therefore, treatment requires a holistic and personalized approach,addressing each cause separately, rather than focusing on specific symptoms.

Intravenous antibiotics are the main component ofstandard treatment for neuroborreliosis. Additional options to help boost theeffectiveness of antibiotics include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication,immune modulators, antiviral drugs, hormonal therapies, and nutritionalsupplements.

Patients are also often asked to consider making some lifestyle changes. For instance, an anti-inflammatory diet rich in leafy green vegetables, fatty fish, nuts, and fruits can help reduce the autoimmune effects of the illness.

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Immunofluorescent Detection Is The Most Reliable Method To Detect Spirochetes In Fixed Tissues

To strengthen the results of our PCR, we next explored immunofluorescence assay to see if these tissue specimens contain morphologically intact spirochetes. Initially, we tested our rabbit polyclonal antibody on NHP frontal cortex tissue that was incubated with borrelial spirochetes to see the specificity of the antibody . The image cleanliness was increased after incubating the tissue with the lipofuscin quencher that quenches the fluorescence of lipofuscin aggregates, which are formed during normal aging process . Secondary antibodies were tested with isotype controls for specificity on human and macaque . Optimal fixation time is very crucial for the success of the IFA. Tissues must be properly fixed under-fixation leads to tissue deformation, shrinkage and autolysis , whereas over-fixation may permanently mask the antigen, abolishing its detection even after antigen-retrieval steps .

Know How To Remove A Tick

How Lyme Disease Affects Your Vision
  • If possible, use pointy tweezers
  • Disinfect the tweezers with rubbing alcohol
  • Grab the tick close to the skin and use a slow, steady motion to pull the tick out
  • Disinfect the tweezers again
  • Keep an eye on the bite area
  • Lyme Symptoms: Days 1-30

    Treating an infection within the first 3 weeks is critical to reducing the risk of chronic Lyme disease, which can last for the rest of your life. If the following symptoms appear , seek medical assistance right away.

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    Key Points For Healthcare Providers

  • In patients with facial palsy who are unable to close one or both eyes, eye drops or an eye patch may be needed to prevent dry eyes.
  • Neurologic symptoms do not necessarily indicate central nervous system infection in a patient with Lyme disease.
  • Two-step serologic testing for Lyme disease is the recommended diagnostic test for neurologic Lyme disease.
  • Cerebral spinal fluid analysis is not necessary to diagnose Lyme meningitis, but can help exclude other causes of illness, such as bacterial meningitis.
  • Consider Lyme radiculoneuritis in patients who report severe limb or truncal radicular pain without preceding trauma who live in or who have traveled to Lyme-endemic areas.
  • Relationship Of Ptlds And Chronic Lyme Disease To B Burgdorferi Infection

    The key questions concerning these 2 entities are whether they truly exist, and if they do, what might the underlying mechanism be? With regard to the existence of PTLDS, 30% or more of patients treated for Lyme disease may report persisting, subjective posttreatment symptoms. However, several controlled trials have shown that identical symptoms are equally common in patients without Lyme disease . The few studies suggesting relatively more frequent subjective symptoms following treated Lyme disease show no increase in corroborating objective abnormalities . Studies of the general population indicate that up to a third of the normal, healthy population experiences the same symptoms to a varying degree , the same frequency as that found in the control populations of Lyme disease posttreatment studies. In the absence of any objective evidence of disease in these treated patients, and given that the identical symptoms are equally prevalent in control individuals, it seems plausible that the entity PTLDS is simply an example of anchoring bias. Patients who have been treated successfully for Lyme disease and subsequently experience common symptoms that they have heard are attributable to PTLDS incorrectly conclude that these nonspecific symptoms are indeed the sequelae of B. burgdorferi infection, perpetuating the notion of this construct.

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    Chronic Lyme And Mental Health

    The CDC lists having a chronic disease as a risk factor for developing mental illness. This underscores the reality that even for patients who do not develop neurological Lyme disease, the experience of Lyme disease alone can cause or exacerbate mental health problems like depression, anxiety, and others listed above.

    Getting diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease can be stressful and exhausting, especially the longer this process takes which, for many, can be several years. Patients often must deal with conflicting or inaccurate diagnoses, lack of support from health care professionals, and exorbitant medical bills, all while battling physically and mentally debilitating symptoms with no end in sight. This experience can lead to a drastic reduction in quality of life that creates the perfect conditions for mental illness.

    Treatment For Neurological Lyme Disease

    68 best images about Lyme Disease and Tick

    After defining the problem, she moves on to solutions. The next section deals with pharmaceutical approaches to Lyme disease in the brain, including an explanation of the blood-brain barrier and what drugs can effectively penetrate it. She discusses medications that reduce inflammation, as well as those to stabilize neurological function, balance mood and help people think more clearly.

    Section 3 discusses natural approaches to Lyme disease in the brain: antimicrobials, such as Cats Claw and teasel root anti-inflammatories, such as curcumin and stephania root antioxidants, such as glutathione neurotransmitter support and essential oils such as peppermint and frankincense.

    Section 4 deals with nutrition. Readers of her earlier book, The Lyme Diet, will find familiar themes: avoid gluten, dairy, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and additives such as MSG.

    Ducharme explains about therapies to help the brain, including neurofeedback, Brainwave Entrainment, and hyperbaric oxygen. She covers sleep and exercise. She reviews different kinds of psychotherapy for patients with Lyme brain.

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    How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed

    It can be hard for doctors to diagnose Lyme disease because:

    • The tick bites and rash might not be noticed.
    • Many early symptoms seem like the flu or other illnesses.
    • Blood tests are not always accurate, especially early in the illness.

    Doctors can diagnose early Lyme disease if they see a tick bite and rash. Blood tests usually aren’t helpful in the first month of Lyme disease.

    To diagnose late Lyme disease, doctors:

    • Ask about symptoms.
    • Do blood tests that look for signs of Lyme disease.

    Depending on the symptoms, doctors might order other tests, such as a spinal tap, which looks at the fluid around the brain and spinal cord.

    What Are The Stages Of Lyme Infection

    There are three stages:

    • Early localized Lyme: Flu-like symptoms like fever, chills, headache, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, and a rash that looks like a bull’s-eye or is round and red and at least 2 inches long
    • Early disseminated Lyme: Flu-like symptoms like pain, weakness, or numbness in your arms and legs, changes in your vision, heart palpitations and chest pain, a rash , and a type of facial paralysis known as Bellâs palsy
    • Late disseminated Lyme: This can happen weeks, months, or years after the tick bite. Symptoms might include arthritis, severe fatigue and headaches, dizziness, trouble sleeping, and confusion.

    About 10% of people treated for Lyme infection donât shake the disease. They may go on to have three core symptoms: joint or muscle pain, fatigue, and short-term memory loss or confusion. This is called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. It can be hard to diagnose because it has the same symptoms as other diseases. Plus, there isn’t a blood test to confirm it.

    Experts arenât sure why Lyme symptoms donât always go away. One theory is that your body keeps fighting the infection even after the bacteria are gone, like an autoimmune disorder.

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    How Lyme Disease Affects The Brain

    By Rachel Keck, MS

    Did you ever wonder how Lyme disease affects the brain, including symptoms of brain fog? The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 200,000 people are diagnosed every year with Lyme disease.

    But many believe the true number of people suffering from Lyme in the United States is actually much higher. Thats because Lyme disease symptoms vary greatly and can impact different people in different ways. Aside from that, the ELISA screening test most doctors use misses up to 35 percent of Lyme cases, making it a horrible first-line detection for the disease.

    The problem is likely only going to get worse, too, being that Lyme is among the major health effects of climate change.

    Even with many cases missed in the doctors office, Lyme disease is still the most common tickborne disease in the northern hemisphere. Despite being so common, Lyme disease symptoms vary depending on the patient and how the bacteria impacts different systems of the body. In fact, Lyme disease often mimics other diseases or illnesses and be referred to as the new great imitator.

    Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed as such diseases, including:

    • Chronic fatigue syndrome
    • Autism-like syndromes
    • Various psychiatric illnesses

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    Lyme and tick-borne disease are complex diseases that produce physical, cognitive, and psychiatric symptoms that present differently in each patient. One person may experience severe joint pain, and another may have brain fog and anxiety. Yet, they both have a Tick-Borne illness.

    Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection caused by a spiral-shaped bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi . It is usually transmitted by the bite of an infected tick, but many also believe spiders and other biting insects can pass it on. Most people are shocked to learn that the bacteria can also be passed through the placenta of a pregnant woman to the fetus, which is referred to as congenital Lyme. Research from Schlesinger et al. denotes poor treatment outcomes for those with congenital Lyme.

    Tick-borne disease symptoms may be acute, or they can wax and wane in a more long-term, chronic manner. Some symptoms appear immediately after a tick bite, but sometimes weeks, months or years pass before the disease presents making diagnosis and treatment even more complex. This waxing and waning of symptoms is confusing, leading to uncertainty regarding underlying cause. This makes one wonder if the tick bite or Lyme Disease one had months ago could be related to current symptoms.

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    The Cdc Reveals The Truth About Lyme Disease

    Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the bite of an infected black-legged tick, also known as a deer tick. Lyme and its numerous co-infections can mimic or cause virtually any medical, neurological, or psychiatric condition. It is called the great imitator and has been vastly underdiagnosed in the U.S. due to inadequate testing methods and general lack of acknowledgment by the medical community. A nasty relative of the STD syphilis, Lyme causes a multitude of medical, neurological, and psychiatric impairment issues, yet is much harder to cure.

    What Is Neurologic Lyme Disease

    Neurologic symptoms of Lyme disease occur when the Lyme disease bacteria affect the peripheral or central nervous systems.

    • Cranial nerve involvement: When the cranial nerves are affected, facial palsy can occur on one or both sides of the face.
    • Peripheral nerve involvement: When the peripheral nerves are affected, patients can develop radiculoneuropathy which can cause numbness, tingling, shooting pain, or weakness in the arms or legs.
    • Central nervous system involvement: When the central nervous system is affected, Lyme meningitis can cause fever, headache, sensitivity to light, and stiff neck.

    Out of every 100 patients whose cases are reported to CDC, 9 have facial palsy, 4 have radiculopathy, and 3 have meningitis or encephalitis. Because of reporting practices, this statistic may overestimate how often these manifestations are seen by clinicians.

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    Infectious Diseases And Mental Health

    Lyme disease and TBRF are not the only infectious disease to have ties to mental illness. One of the earliest and most well-known examples of an infectious disease that causes neurological and psychiatric symptoms is syphilis.

    This sexually transmitted disease, which like Lyme is caused by a spiral-shaped bacteria and treated at early stages with antibiotics, has been called the great imitator also like Lyme because its symptoms can be wide-ranging and non-specific, especially at late stages. That includes neurological and psychiatric symptoms that become much more likely the longer the disease goes untreated.

    Given that ties between late-stage syphilis and mental illness have long been recognized by the medical community, it shouldnt be surprising that untreated Lyme disease poses similar risks to patients psychological wellbeing. Recent studies have investigated possible connections between Lyme disease and a host of mental health issues, including:

    • Developmental disorders
    • Seizures
    • Suicide

    Yet there are still many doctors and scientists who doubt the existence of chronic Lyme disease, and/or do not realize how many different borrelia cause TBRF, hurting patients chances of fighting both the diseases themselves and their mental health consequences.