Friday, May 11, 2007

some interesting facts-- potential Lyme disease/autism links

According to the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society......

Patients with late-stage Lyme disease may present with a variety of neurological and psychiatric problems, ranging from mild to severe. These include:

Cognitive losses including: Memory impairement or loss ("brain fog")
Violent Behavior, Irritability
Rage Attacks - Impulse Dyscontrol
Panic Attacks
Rapid mood swings that may mimic bipolarity (mania/depression)
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Sleep Disorders
Attention deficet/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) like syndrome
Autism-like syndrome

Reported Lyme Disease Cases from 1991-2005- provided courtesy of

Immune link to autism
Autistic children develop the condition around the age of two
Autism may be linked to diseases of the immune system, researchers have said.

The discovery could pave the way for treatments for the little understood condition.

A team from the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore found that families of children with autism have an unusually high incidence of such diseases, in particular rheumatoid arthritis.

The researchers stress that larger studies are needed to establish how strong the link is.

However, if it is proven, standard treatments such as steroids or injections of immunoglobulin may help in the management of the condition for some autistic children.

Increased incidence

Dr Anne Comi and colleagues sent questionnaires to the families of 61 children with and 46 children without autism.

They were asked if they suffered from autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, early-onset diabetes, multiple sclerosis and thyroid disorders. (lyme!!!!!!!)

Autoimmune diseases are caused by the body attacking itself - immune cells think the body's own tissue is foreign and seek to eradicate it.

The results showed that in 46% of the families of autistic children two or more members had autoimmune disorders and 21% of autistic children had at least one parent suffering from such a disorder.

This compared with 26% of normal children's families having such a disease and four per cent of parents.

Another finding was that 11% of children with autism had allergies compared with 39% of children without.

Further research

The finding supports earlier studies, Dr Comi told BBC News Online, and some researchers had even tried using autoimmune disease treatments on autistic children.

However, the research so far had been on a small-scale and more larger studies were needed, she said.

"It's going to be really important to look at larger numbers of patients and study them well - it may be useful in identifying subgroups of patients," she said.

"One of the reasons autism is so difficult is because it's so many things - it may be that what we call autism now is more than one condition, we just haven't figured that out yet."

The team published its findings in the Journal of Child Neurology

AND more about tick bites:

Updated 4/15/06 - courtesy of International Lyme and Associated Disease Society

1. Lyme disease is transmitted by the bite of a tick, and the disease is prevalent across the United States and throughout the world. Ticks know no borders and respect no boundaries. A patient's county of residence does not accurately reflect his or her Lyme disease risk because people travel, pets travel, and ticks travel. This creates a dynamic situation with many opportunities for exposure to Lyme disease for each individual.

2. Lyme disease is a clinical diagnosis. The disease is caused by a spiral-shaped bacteria (spirochete) called Borrelia burgdorferi. The Lyme spirochete can cause infection of multiple organs and produce a wide range of symptoms. Case reports in the medical literature document the protean manifestations of Lyme disease, and familiarity with its varied presentations is key to recognizing disseminated disease..

3. Fewer than 50% of patients with Lyme disease recall a tick bite. In some studies this number is as low as 15% in culture-proven infection with the Lyme spirochete.

4. Fewer than 50% of patients with Lyme disease recall any rash. Although the erythema migrans (EM) or “bull’s-eye” rash is considered classic, it is not the most common dermatologic manifestation of early-localized Lyme infection. Atypical forms of this rash are seen far more commonly. It is important to know that the EM rash is pathognomonic of Lyme disease and requires no further verification prior to starting an appropriate course of antibiotic therapy.

5. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveillance criteria for Lyme disease were devised to track a narrow band of cases for epidemiologic purposes. As stated on the CDC website, the surveillance criteria were never intended to be used as diagnostic criteria, nor were they meant to define the entire scope of Lyme disease.

6. The ELISA screening test is unreliable. The test misses 35% of culture proven Lyme disease (only 65% sensitivity) and is unacceptable as the first step of a two-step screening protocol. By definition, a screening test should have at least 95% sensitivity.

7. Of patients with acute culture-proven Lyme disease, 20–30% remain seronegative on serial Western Blot sampling. Antibody titers also appear to decline over time; thus while the Western Blot may remain positive for months, it may not always be sensitive enough to detect chronic infection with the Lyme spirochete. For “epidemiological purposes” the CDC eliminated from the Western Blot analysis the reading of bands 31 and 34. These bands are so specific to Borrelia burgdorferi that they were chosen for vaccine development. Since a vaccine for Lyme disease is currently unavailable, however, a positive 31 or 34 band is highly indicative of Borrelia burgdorferi exposure. Yet these bands are not reported in commercial Lyme tests.
8. When used as part of a diagnostic evaluation for Lyme disease, the Western Blot should be performed by a laboratory that reads and reports all of the bands related to Borrelia burgdorferi. Laboratories that use FDA approved kits (for instance, the Mardx Marblot®) are restricted from reporting all of the bands, as they must abide by the rules of the manufacturer. These rules are set up in accordance with the CDCs surveillance criteria and increase the risk of false-negative results. The commercial kits may be useful for surveillance purposes, but they offer too little information to be useful in patient management.

9. There are 5 subspecies of Borrelia burgdorferi, over 100 strains in the US, and 300 strains worldwide. This diversity is thought to contribute to the antigenic variability of the spirochete and its ability to evade the immune system and antibiotic therapy, leading to chronic infection.

10. Testing for Babesia, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia and Bartonella (other tick-transmitted organisms) should be performed. The presence of co-infection with these organisms points to probable infection with the Lyme spirochete as well. If these coinfections are left untreated, their continued presence increases morbidity and prevents successful treatment of Lyme disease.

11. A preponderance of evidence indicates that active ongoing spirochetal infection with or without other tick-borne coinfections is the cause of the persistent symptoms in chronic Lyme disease.

12. There has never been a study demonstrating that 30 days of antibiotic treatment cures chronic Lyme disease. However there is a plethora of documentation in the US and European medical literature demonstrating by histology and culture techniques that short courses of antibiotic treatment fail to eradicate the Lyme spirochete. Short treatment courses have resulted in upwards of a 40% relapse rate, especially if treatment is delayed.

13. Most cases of chronic Lyme disease require an extended course of antibiotic therapy to achieve symptomatic relief. The return of symptoms and evidence of the continued presence of Borrelia burgdorferi indicates the need for further treatment. The very real consequences of untreated chronic persistent Lyme infection far outweigh the potential consequences of long-term antibiotic therapy.

14. Many patients with chronic Lyme disease require treatment for 1–4 years, or until the patient is symptom-free. Relapses occur and maintenance antibiotics may be required. There are no tests currently available to prove that the organism is eradicated or that the patient with chronic Lyme disease is cured.

15. Like syphilis in the 19th century, Lyme disease has been called the great imitator and should be considered in the differential diagnosis of rheumatologic and neurologic conditions, as well as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, somatization disorder and any difficult-to-diagnose multi-system illness


lv2scpbk said...

Have you ever visited Ali Edwards site about Autism? Go to:

She has raised alot of money to help out with this cause. Check it out if you'd like.

Anonymous said...

I read your post with interest. And I suppose it is natural to ask if there is a connection and what is your next step, if any? I don't know how or what to say or ask. I hope it is something that will be helpful in any case for any number of people who are suffering through their Lyme Disease or their Autism. Sure is a nice day here this morning. Cool. Lots of green things to look at.

Melinda, mom of Noah said...

I don't place too much stock in this type of information though I do find it interesting.

Melinda, mom of Noah said...

Noah had a ton of blood tests done when he was younger though I doubt they did any for Lyme disease. BUT I really don't think he would have it regardless.

K.C.'s Blog said...

Have A Happy Mother's Day!

Kindness said...

Happy Belated Mother's Day! Now I am going to go back read your blog!

Grandma said...

Good Evening Noah,
Just wanted to say I hope you had fun yesterday playing with Audrey and Alex. Also visiting with Grandma Custer, Grandpa Lincoln and me. We enjoyed your visit. Love you to the moon and back.