Who Gets Lyme Disease
Anyone bitten by an infected deer tick can get Lyme disease. Most U.S. cases of Lyme disease happen in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. But Lyme disease is also found in other parts of the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
Other things that might increase a person’s risk include:
- spending a lot of time outdoors in tall grass, brush, shrubs, or wooded areas
- having pets that may carry ticks indoors
- activities such as yardwork, hiking, camping, fishing, or hunting in tick-infested areas
Treatment For Neurological Lyme Disease
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.
Posttreatment Lyme Disease Syndrome
Posttreatment Lyme disease syndrome has been defined as the presence of any of: widespread musculoskeletal pain, cognitive complaints, radicular pain, paresthesias, or dysesthesias interfering with function within 6 months after initial diagnosis and treatment and persist for at least 6 months . The symptoms overlap extensively with those of Lyme encephalopathy, differing primarily by the requirement that encephalopathy occur in patients with active extraneurologic infection, whereas PTLDS patients have already been appropriately diagnosed with and treated for Lyme disease. Such symptoms are often present immediately after treatmentas they may be following treatment of other infectionsand usually resolve over time. PTLDS is diagnosed when symptoms persist for 6 or more months.
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Half A Million People Treated For Lyme Disease Each Year
Each year nearly half a million people in the United States are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, caused by a bacterium carried by deer ticks and transmitted to humans through their bite. The majority of cases have been reported in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and north-central states, but the geographic range where ticks and tick-borne diseases are found continues to expand.
Although most cases can be cured with a two- to four-week course of oral antibiotics, 10-20 percent of patients may suffer with symptoms of pain, fatigue, or difficulty thinking that last for months to years after treatment.
Several studies have pointed to a connection between Lyme disease and cognitive disorders months to years after antibiotic therapy or in people with untreated infections. In severe cases, individuals with late-stage Lyme disease may experience impaired concentration, irritability, memory and sleep disorders, and painful nerve dysfunction.
Dr. Michael Benros emphasizes that most people do not develop severe mental health issues after Lyme borreliosis. During the study period, only 7 percent of the nearly 13,000 individuals with a hospital diagnosis of Lyme disease followed up with hospital clinicians complaining of symptoms subsequently diagnosed as mental disorders.
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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Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
Single voxel 1H-MRS spectrum of the normal-appearing medulla oblongata of the 2 persons . A 22-year-old woman with left facial nerve palsy and meningitis in the course of Lyme neuroborreliosis. The cerebrospinal fluid analysis revealed lymphocytic pleocytosis, and intrathecal Borrelia burgdorferi antibody production was confirmed 1H-MRS spectrum shows marked elevation of choline and relative decrease of N-acetylaspartate indicating inflammation. Normal 1H-MRS spectrum obtained from a healthy woman of similar age in the same region.
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How Lyme Disease Can Affect The Brain
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Lyme disease and your brain Head trauma and Lyme An antibiotic that targets Lyme without hurting your gut Excerpt of Ross Douthats riveting Lyme memoir The Deep Places
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Lyme Is Not The Only Threat
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.
Neurological And Psychiatric Issues Associated With Lyme Disease And Tbrf
Chronic illness often has significant impacts on mental health, and Lyme disease is no different. With the accuracy and sensitivity of todays recommended Lyme testing still so lacking, many Lyme patients have to wait too long to get accurate diagnoses and treatment. To compound this problem, many patients with Lyme-like symptoms are not even tested for the similar, but biologically distinct, Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever . That gives infections time to spread throughout the body and cause neurological and psychiatric symptoms.
This article will outline the direct and indirect effects that Borreliosis both Lyme disease and TBRF can have on mental health, including how and why untreated Lyme can develop into neurological Lyme disease.
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How Does Lyme Disease Affect The Brain
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that youcan catch if youve been bitten by an infected deer tick. The first symptoms ofLyme disease, which include a target-shaped rash, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes,muscle aches, and headache, can appear within a few days or weeks. Your doctorcan promptly recognize and diagnose Lyme disease and treat it with antibiotics.But when treatment is delayed, the infection can spread to other areas,including the nerves, liver, and eyes. The infection can also spread to thecentral nervous system – the brain and spinal cord – and cause the problemslisted below.
Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented
Not all cases of Lyme disease can be prevented. But you can help protect your family from tick bites. If you go into an area where ticks live, be sure to:
- Stay in the middle of the trail, instead of going through high grass or the woods.
- Wear closed shoes or boots, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants. Tuck pant legs into shoes or boots to prevent ticks from crawling up legs.
- Use an insect repellent.
- Consider treating clothing and gear with permethrin to repel ticks. When used properly, permethrin is safe for all ages. But don’t use it on clothing or other material a child may suck on or chew.
- Wear light-colored clothing to help you see ticks more easily.
- Shower and wash hair after being outside to remove ticks before they attach.
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 .
Demographics And Clinical Data
Patient characteristics are shown in Table 1. Cranial nerve palsy and meningitis were the dominant clinical symptoms of LNB. Three patients demonstrated contrast enhancement of cranial nerves, which corresponded to clinical findings. The remaining patients had normal structural MRI.
Table 1 Epidemiological and clinical characteristics among 26 patients with Lyme neuroborreliosis
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Can You Have Lyme For Years And Not Know It
But I dont want people to think that this is common. Its quite unusual, said Farber, the infectious disease specialist. For the overwhelming majority of people who have Lyme disease, its been diagnosed and treated, and even when its not diagnosed, they dont go on to develop those symptoms, he stressed.
Does Lyme Disease Affect The Brain And Nervous System
Lyme disease affects the nervous system. This statement is both accurate and terrifying since, for many of us, damage to the brain is the most feared consequence of disease. However, when it comes to Lyme disease, much of this fear is misplaced. Lyme disease can affect the lining of the brain, a disorder known as meningitis. Other than causing fever and bad headaches, this form of meningitis is remarkably benign nobody has ever died of it, and it has rarely if ever caused significant damage to any patients brain. On extremely rare occasions, the infection can involve the brain or spinal cord, disorders that are now extraordinarily rare. Other patients can develop inflammation of various nerves, e.g., the nerves that control the muscles on one side of the face this might occur in about 5% of untreated individuals. Other nerves can be affected, but even less frequently.
When considering these disorders, it is essential to recognize some key facts. First, the infection is highly responsive to antibiotics. Second, if the facial nerve has been severely damaged, there may be some residual weakness after treatment. However it is extraordinarily rare for there to be any permanent damage to the brain itself.
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Whats The Difference Between Neurologic Lyme Disease And Ms
Olga Syritsyna, MD
Hearing the words you have Lyme disease or you have MS can be quite unsettling. And to complicate matters, when Lyme disease affects the central nervous system, the symptoms can be very similar to MS. So it can be hard to tell the difference to the untrained eye. Many doctors are generalists and not specially trained to diagnose either disease. Dr. Olga Syritsyna is a neurologist with subspecialty training in neurologic Lyme disease and MS.
What is neurologic Lyme disease?First, lets start with defining Lyme disease. Its a seasonal tick-borne infection caused by the borrelia burgdorferi bacteria that can affect multiple organs and systems in the body. Its named after Lyme, CT, where it was first identified in 1975. In about 15 percent of cases, Lyme disease affects the central nervous system. When it does, it is known as neurologic Lyme disease. Sometimes, people who think they may have Lyme disease find out they have MS . Lyme disease as an infection can act to trigger MS attacks. This is why being seen by a neurologist specially trained to know the differences is key.
Why choose Stony Brook for diagnosis and treatment of neurologic Lyme disease?For neurologic Lyme disease, Stony Brook has extensive experience in detecting antibodies to the borrelia burgdorferi bacteria that is carried by ticks and can affect the central nervous system. We do frequent lumbar punctures and perform a variety of tests on cerebrospinal fluid.
What Happens To The Brain During Acute Lyme Neuroborreliosis
A group of researchers from Tulane National Primate Research Center in Louisiana injected live Borrelia spirochete into rhesus monkeys and discovered that inflammation plays a causal role in the pathogenesis of acute Lyme neuroborreliosis. Their findings were published recently in The American Journal of Pathology.
Borrelia spirochete are injected into monkeys brains.
Individuals diagnosed with Lyme neuroborreliosis typically suffer from headaches, fatigue, memory loss, learning disabilities, and depression. Clinical findings have included meningitis, cranial neuritis, radiculoneuritis, encephalopathy, encephalitis, encephalomyelitis, radiculitis, radiculoneuritis, mononeuropathies, plexopathies, and demyelinating neuropathies.
Dr. Mario T. Philipp and colleagues at the Tulane National Primate Research Center launched an investigation to examine the role of inflammation on the central nervous system of subjects infected with Borrelia burgdorferi . Rhesus monkeys were injected with live Bb spirochete. Several monkeys received a potent steroid prior to being injected with the spirochete, while another group was pretreated with a non-steroidal medicine.
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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.
What Is Lyme Disease Exactly
Lyme disease, also called borreliosis, is a medical condition caused by bacteria carried by a tick, usually deer ticks.
Deer ticks are black-legged ticks that are most common in the northeastern, upper midwestern, and western parts of the United States.
The rash caused by Lyme disease looks like a bulls-eye pattern and is accompanied by flu-like symptoms. Joint discomfort and chronic fatigue syndrome can also occur.
The majority of Lyme disease sufferers will recover completely after finishing a course of antibiotics. However, for those who continue to experience symptoms , pain medications may help to alleviate these symptoms.
Even though Lyme disease is rarely fatal, it is more severe when treatment is delayed, as the infection has more time to spread and your immune system has already weakened.
If you notice a characteristic rash or any other possible symptoms, schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider immediately.
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Recovering From Lyme Disease
A diagnosis of Lyme disease doesn’t have to be a permanent label. It’s often worrisome to know you have a problem that could affect your brain and all organs, but there are many ways to treat the problem before it progresses.
Although the illness is rare and you can prevent tick bites by avoiding their environment or using tick repellant, a new study shows these diagnoses are on the rise. In fact, over the past year, the number of diagnoses has increased by over 59%.
No one wants to deal with bug bites, especially those that can cause brain fog and serious health conditions. But in this post-pandemic world, exploring nature is an antidepressant.
To avoid tick-induced brain fog and other conditions, use tick-repellant if you’re in their natural habitat and watch for bites. If you do find a tick on your body, remove it and keep an eye out for the above-listed early signs.
As long as you seek help quickly after you spot a potential problem, your body and brain can recover within a few months. The bodily symptoms like brain fog may linger, but your brain is safe from bacteria and infection.