Severe, lingering symptoms seen in some patients after Lyme disease treatment

Excerpted from John Hopkins Univ. : (02/02/2018)

In a study of 61 people treated for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, Johns Hopkins researchers conclude that fatigue, pain, insomnia, and depression do indeed persist over long periods of time for some people, despite largely normal physical exams and clinical laboratory testing.

“Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS) is a real disorder that causes severe symptoms in the absence of clinically detectable infection,” says John N. Aucott, associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center.

The findings, published in the December issue of Frontiers in Medicine, could spur further investigation into the cause of persistent symptoms, a source of medical controversy.

An estimated 300,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with the disease each year, and as Lyme disease rates have steadily climbed, so have reports of a collection of symptoms that patients commonly refer to as chronic Lyme disease. Experts in the field have questioned the validity of this term because of the lack of direct evidence in this group of patients of ongoing infection with Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.

Efforts to better understand patients with these symptoms have largely failed, says Aucott, because patients grouped under the umbrella term “chronic Lyme disease” could belong to one of various subgroups.

“People have been comparing apples to oranges by grouping all of those with chronic Lyme disease together,” he says. “Our study was designed to compare apples to apples.”

To do that, Aucott and his colleagues first agreed to study individuals with PTLDS, a disorder defined by the Infectious Diseases Society of America as the development of significant fatigue, widespread musculoskeletal pain, and/or cognitive difficulties that arise within six months after completion of antibiotic therapy for physician-documented Lyme disease and that last for at least six months. They meticulously gathered prior medical records for evidence of Lyme disease and excluded patients with conditions that may mimic those of PTLDS.

Aucott cautions that because so little is known about the origins of PTLDS, its underlying cause has remained unclear, and a range of hypotheses exist. This study, and the term “PTLDS,” do not define the cause of the condition, but do provide a starting place for future studies.

For more: https://hub.jhu.edu/2018/02/02/lingering-severe-chronic-lyme-disease-symptoms/

 

For more: https://www.lymedisease.org/lyme-patients-sue-idsa-insurers/

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~ by Rob on February 14, 2018.

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