"Borreliabakteeri on kupansukuinen spirokeetta, joka kykenee tunkeutumaan syvälle aivokudokseen ja aiheuttamaan mitä erilaisimpia neuropsykiatrisia ongelmia. Bakteeri kykenee olemaan leoptilassa jopa vuosikausia, jonka vuoksi myöhäisvaiheen Borrelioosia on vaikea tunnistaa. Normaalit borrelioosia epäiltäessä tehdyt vasta-ainetestit ovat usein "vääriä negatiivisia", erityisesti silloin, kun spirokeetat ovat syvällä aivokudoksissa tai seläydinnesteessä muuntuneina kystamuotoon."
"Fallonin tutkimuksessa borrelioosia sairastavilla lapsilla esiintyi kognitiivisia ongelmia, masennusta, itsemurhataipumusta, tarkaavaisuushäiriöitä jne. Oireiden vuoksi lapsille annettiin erilaisia psyykelääkkeitä. Lääkkeet saattoivat helpottaa oireita mutta eivät auttaneet oireet aiheuttavaan infektioon. Kukaan tutkimusryhmään kuuluvista lapsista ei parantunut lääkkeillä."
During the 1970s, several children living near Lyme, Connecticut were diagnosed with what appeared to be arthritis. Such severe joint pain in the young was unusual, and a cluster of cases raised flags.
Lyme Disease (LD), as it came to be known, is not a new scourge on the block, just a newly identified one. Reports of symptoms matching early stages of the illness ? a distinctive bull?s eye skin rash, fatigue and joint pain ?were first described in Europe over a century ago. By the 1940s, spirochetes, which researchers suspected were carried by ticks, had been isolated from the rash. But the prevailing wisdom was that spirochetes were found exclusively for soft-shelled ticks, so for decades scientists looked in the wrong ticks. Another 40 years would pass until Willy Burgdorfer, a medical entomologist studying Rocky Mountain spotted fever, accidentally discovered the bacteria in hard-shelled deer ticks. ?It was serendipity that I knew what I was looking at,? he recalls.
Like its distant cousin syphilis -- also caused by a spirochete -- Borrelia burgdorferi, the LD spirochete, burrows into body tissues, including brain tissue where it can cause all sorts of neuropsychiatric mayhem. It can also lie dormant for months or even years, making ?late stage Lyme? very difficult to diagnose. The standard blood antibody test is prone to ?false negatives,? especially if spirochetes are buried in tissue or circulating as cysts in cerebrospinal fluid. Although a short course of antibiotics can stem an infection caught early, catching it early isn?t always so easy. According to some estimates, the bull?s eye rash only appears in half the cases; and many victims don?t remember being bitten by a tick.
Borreliabakteeri on kupansukuinen spirokeetta, joka kykenee tunkeutumaan syvälle aivokudokseen ja aiheuttamaan mitä erilaisimpia neuropsykiatrisia ongelmia. Bakteeri kykenee olemaan leoptilassa jopa vuosikausia jonka vuoksi myöhäisvaiheen Borrelioosia on vaikea tunnistaa. Normaalit Borrelioosia epäiltäessä tehdyt vasta-ainetestit ovat usein "vääriä negatiivisia" erityisesti silloin kun spirokeetat ovat syvällä aivokudoksissa tai seläydinnesteessä muuntuneina kystamuotoon.
Using brain scans, Columbia University neuropsychiatrist Brian Fallon discovered that patients with chronic LD have significant reduction in blood flow in brain regions associated with memory and visual-spatial organization. There are many cases of patients ultimately diagnosed with LD of first being diagnosed with depression, bipolar disease and even schizophrenia.
In another small, but particularly disturbing study, Fallon also looked at children, who are especially at risk because they play outside where the ticks are. Compared to the healthy kids in the control cohort, all the LD children ? who were diagnosed on average a year after infection ? showed significant cognitive and psychiatric problems. They scored low on tests for memory and perception. They were depressed?some with thoughts of suicide. And because their symptoms matched descriptions of psychiatric disorders, including Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), many of the kids were given psychotropic drugs. While the drugs often helped alleviate some of the symptoms, they did not target the underlying infection. None of the kids completely recovered.
Incidence records for LD are spotty because most cases aren?t reported, but it is widely believed to be the most prevalent vector-borne illness in the U.S., with tens (some think hundreds) of thousands of new cases each year.
These are boom times for the ticks that carry LD. They thrive in the leaf litter of second and third growth forests such as the ones near Lyme, Connecticut. The number of deer -- which play a key role both spreading both disease and ticks -- has exploded in recent years to historically high densities. (Deer had been hunted to near extinction in the area, then reintroduced beginning in the 1920?s.) But it was suburban sprawl that put people directly in harm?s way. Kids and pets playing outside picked up ticks. And infected ticks, perhaps hitchhiking on the family dog, were transported by car far, wide and fast; armed and ready to conquer new territories.
Borrelia burgdorferi is actually part of a large group of related bacteria found all over the world, in all sorts of ticks, all causing similar disease, though of varying severity. In 1996, a new spirochete, B. lonestari, discovered in the lonestar tick common throughout the southern tier of the United States, was linked to Lyme symptoms. As yet, there are no tests, so no case statistics; and the very real possibility of patients being diagnosed and treated for psychiatric conditions while their infections go undetected.