Neurological symptoms are many and varied and can be diagnosed as many different illnesses, ME/CFS, MS, MN, ALS, Parkinson's, Autism and Alzheimer's. Some chronically sick patients of each of these illnesses have later been diagnosed with Lyme Disease or Lyme Borreliosis or Neuroborreliosis. That is not to say that everyone with these symptoms has Lyme Disease, but with the state of the controversy how many patients are properly assessed for Lyme Disease.
Dr. Daniel Cameron, (Past)President of ILADS (International Association of Lyme and Associated Diseases), describes neurological symptoms, the severity of the disease and its long term effects. Also covered is the difficulty of treatment, prevention recommendations and co-infections. The high costs to society are also discussed.
The presentation was made at a Lyme disease seminar on October 6, 2009 in the Candlewood Inn, Brookfield, CT. It was hosted by the Rotary Club and the Lyme Disease Task Forces of Brookfield, Newtown and Ridgefield, CT.
UK charity Lyme Disease Action has much useful information on Lyme Disease.
On their website from their Leaflet Lyme Borreliosis in Neurology and Psychiatry:-
Information on Involvement of the Human Brain and Central Nervous System
As more becomes known about the possible long-term effects of neurological Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, it becomes imperative that both the general public and medical professionals are made more aware of this disease.
The organisms that cause Lyme disease in Europe include at least three species within the bacterial genus Borrelia. These are Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, Borrelia garinii and Borrelia afzelii.
People with this disease may develop an extensive range of symptoms that affect both the body and the mind. In many cases these symptoms are similar to those that may develop in the disease syphilis. This is because these bacterial (spirochaetal) diseases are closely related.
Main symptoms indicating nervous system involvement:
Symptoms of cognitive loss such as:
Memory impairment or loss (‘brain fog’)
Word-finding problems and Dyslexia/ problems dealing with numbers
Visual/spatial processing impairment (losing things, getting lost, disorganisation)
Slowed processing of information
Poor abstract reasoning
Losses in fields of attention/executive functions such as inability to maintain divided or sustained attention
Poor auditory and mental tracking and scanning (loss in ability to follow daily affairs, which is complicated by persistent distractibility)
Neurological symptoms and signs including:
Neuralgia, i.e. nerve pain
Facial palsy, numbness and tingling, especially of the face
Cranial nerve disturbances such as - Optic neuritis, trouble swallowing, distortions of taste and smell, visual disturbance, certain movement disorders
States that mimic other defined neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease or MS
In children, indications of neurological involvement include behaviour changes, learning disabilities, school phobia, hypersensitivities of the skin and headaches.
Some patients have developed Lyme-related:
Psychoses including hallucinations and delusions
Violent behaviour, irritability
Rage attacks/inability to control impulses/out of context crying spells
Rapid mood swings that may mimic bipolar disorder (mania/depression)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
An Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD)-like syndrome
A progressive dementia
Further Sources of Information.
*More information on treatment is available at the website of The International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS), a professional medical and research society. The document ‘Diagnostic Hints and Treatment Guidelines for Lyme and Other Tick Borne
Illnesses’ by Dr. Joseph Burrascano is recommended.
*The Lyme Disease Research Program at Columbia University, New York has further professional information upon the role of neurology and psychiatry.
Available at http://www.columbia-lyme.org/
*Dr. Robert Bransfield, a psychiatrist who specialises in infectious causes of neuropsychiatric illness, has developed a structured clinical interview to assess Lyme seronegative patients.