410 – Lyme & ALS

Severe cases of Lyme disease can be misdiagnosed as ALS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Excerpted from lymenet.DE: http://www.lymenet.de/indexordner/ials.htm

When I published my work on metronidazole in Lyme around 20 patients contacted me and said they had Lyme AND ALS.

Once I had decided there may be a connection between the diseases I encouraged every ALS patient I came across, and a few physicians to test for Lyme.  All told that is about 30.  This is the most important group for they were unselected.  There were NO negatives in this group and for the most part they were either IgG or IgM Western Blot positive, mostly to CDC criteria (which is over strict and ignores the 39kDa line)

If we were to take 150 Lyme patients we would be VERY surprised to have 150 positives, more like 100.  However many of the above were pre-selected (why would you contact me if you were diagnosed ALS but Lyme negative, I would be snake oil.).

BUT, if the diseases were independent, we would expect a MAXIMUM of 100 cases in the whole of the US, so 150 becomes a significant number.

Now, those patients who were diagnosed ALS and tested Lyme positive carried on to develop the sequelae of ALS.  Last Thursday we lost Dean Chioles who has a web page at http://www.shoptown.com/dean/ . Note that he was diagnosed with Lyme in 1998, before I published anything on Lyme.

We should also remember:  Brian Pierson and Katherine Crowe who we also lost, both Lyme positive.  Brian was 43 years old or so.

Now there have been 5 papers that describe clinically diagnosed ALS patients with Lyme reactive serologies (including the Halperin paper which finds a statistically significant number of Bb positive patients with ALS) and one letter by Mandell, Steere et. al. NEJM 1989;320:255-6 which found NO Bb antibodies in any ALS patients.

The responsibility is now with Mandell, Steere et. al. to come forward and explain how they can find NO Lyme positive ALS patients when I can find them so easily and even ALS patients themselves can see the connection.

How about it Dr Steere, this is an open venue? Perhaps one of the Yale workers will read this and we can enter into a debate that will explain why this connection has been stalled for 12 years.

With best regards to all.

Dr Martin Atkinson-Barr


Excerpted from MERCURYNEWS.COM ( Posted: 1/22/2010 )

A month ago, Bart Fenolio was told he had Lou Gehrig’s disease and had two months to live. Doctors advised his wife, Heidi, to take him home and call a hospice.

But Fenolio is proving the doctors wrong. Instead of getting worse, he’s growing stronger each day, thanks to antibiotics. That’s because he doesn’t have Lou Gehrig’s disease, which isn’t curable. He has Lyme disease, which is.

Lyme disease, a bacterial illness spread by ticks, is a poorly understood and strangely controversial illness that has been sweeping the country since it was discovered in Connecticut in the 1970s. While still rare in California, there were 28,921 confirmed cases and 6,277 probable cases in the United States in 2008, nearly twice as many as in 1994.

But Lyme experts suspect there could be 10 times that many. That’s because when not treated immediately, Lyme can hide in the body for years and then attack, masquerading as anything from heart disease to arthritis to lupus. Folks might not even know they’d been bitten. And the tests for Lyme disease are notoriously unreliable.

Dr. Raphael Stricker, a Lyme disease expert in San Francisco, regularly sees patients who have been misdiagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome or Parkinson’s disease.

“I saw a new patient the other day who had weird symptoms and had gone to the Mayo Clinic for a complete work-up,” Stricker told me. “All they could come up with was fibromyalgia,” a syndrome characterized

by chronic pain, fatigue and depression. Stricker learned that the woman had grown up on Cape Cod, where Lyme-carrying ticks are common.

 “How could you miss that little tidbit of her history?” he wondered.

The original article is no longer available.  You can learn more about Bart Fenolio at: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/bartfenolio/mystory


Take the case of a Colorado doctor named David Martz. He was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2003 and given two years to live. Although he had initially tested negative for Lyme, he pursued treatment by a Lyme-literate doctor — and the treatment reversed his symptoms and saved his life.



From LymeBlog.COM  ( Posted: 4/22/2006 )

 Obituaries: Emmy-winner Scott Brazil dies of ALS and Lyme disease at 50

More at: http://lymeblog.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=479

Lyme/ALS success story: Bart Fenolio

Only through the persistence of Heidi, his wife of 46 years, and their scientist son and social-worker daughter was Bart given a series of Lyme tests that came back positive. He says his doctors at Kaiser Permanente insisted he had ALS even though he began to improve with antibiotics, and he left Kaiser to get the treatment he needed.


51 Responses to “410 – Lyme & ALS”

  1. Toofan,

    Thank you, but, I try to make it clear when I am opining to prefix my op-ed posts with “COMMENTARY”. I am schooled in the MATHS, not the SCIENCES, so I think it is important that readers differentiate between my views and those of Physicians and Scientists.

    I am also cognizant that many of the site’s readers have “Lyme Fog” so I try to make it clear and concise, and above all else, easy to use. Any comments for improvement are greatly appreciated.

    I have gathered Lyme information from scores of chronically sick Lyme patients over the past decade so I have a pulse on our collective feelings, anger, and ills, as well as the horror stories we all experienced with Doctors; hospitals and insurance companies.
    As such, our stories and emotions about this disease can get extreme. But the most important thing is to make sure others are properly educated so they might avoid the devastation we had/are going through.

    I lost two family members to this disease. Even though they both tested positive for Lyme, neither believed they had it, and neither did their doctors. But, that’s just blood under the bridge.


  2. What antibiotic works for lyme? My brother -in-law is lyme positive, but is diagnosed with ALS. I was thinking that there would be no harm in trying the antibiotic. If it doesn’t work then the diagnosis is propbably ALS.

  3. Helen,

    I am not a physician but I have spoken to a number of people that have used antibiotics as a prophylactic with success. They had gotten early Lyme symptoms like flu; aches; severe fatigue and it cleared up so they concluded it was Lyme they had.

    IMHO, to really know if you have LD instead of ALS, you need an expert LLD. They would be able to test you properly for Lyme and other co infections. If necessary they could put you on a IV antibiotic regimen (e.g., Rocephin; Zithromax).

    Just taking the standard 21 days of Doxycycline might give you some positive results but, most likely won’t be conclusive.

    Keep in mind, that not properly taking antibiotics as prescribed enables the bacteria to mutate. Pathogens that survive a course of antibiotics generally become resistant to the antibiotic which can be more detrimental down the road.

    All antibiotics weaken your immune system.

    Best of luck,


  4. I think ALS is a severe form of neuroborreliosis. The problem with treatment is that the rate of killing bacteria has to equal efficency of removing neurotoxins and repairing your membranes- phospholipids etc. This is complex so the regular Drs shy away from treating ALS patients. The antibiotics give rise to die off reaction so symptoms worsen. The co-infections are vital in the recovery process. The co-infections also reflec how immunosuppressed you are. I wish neurologists would study microbiology or work closely with microbiologists in treating chronic infections. As one famous scientist said chronic disease= chronic infections

  5. After a relative has been under Dr. Jemsek’s care for over a year now, he is now in his final stages of ALS, not Lyme, as Jemsek so enthusiastically convinced him he had. “It is absolutely NOT ALS, it’s definitely Lyme”, Jemsek said. (I should probably mention he had been diagnosed with ALS by Mayo and the ALS center in Miami prior to seeing Jemsek). He had also been treated by another ‘lyme-literate’ doctor for 6+ months prior, with no improvement. Jemsek’s false assurances made my relatives last year even worse, driving 17 hours to DC at least every 5-6 weeks, buying Jemsek’s magical potion of “HOPE”. “Remarkable improvement” he would write in his report as each month as he was getting worse and worse. “One more round of antibiotics” he would say. Yes, I believe there is corruption with in the CDC, but I also believe there is corruption among ‘lyme-literate’ doctors as well. For those of you that believe you have lyme… get every test available and understand them, do your research, step back and look at everything objectively. If the LL Dr hasn’t improved your symptoms within a few months, go to a real Dr, don’t let them take what’s left of your life away.

    • Jennifer,
      I am sorry to hear of your relative’s debilitating condition and fully understand your frustration with the lack of success with his Lyme treatment. But, since studies have shown that 40% of Northeasterners have been exposed to the Lyme bacteria in some fashion, it is no wonder that Dr Jemsek believes it may have some influence on his condition.

      Since ALS has no explanation as to what causes it, or cure, pursuing the Lyme treatment SEEMS like the correct course of action. Unless of course it is not economically feasible.

      Keep in mind, curing Lyme disease is a long and arduous task with no guarantee of success.

      I wish you all the very best,

  6. My Mother was diagnosed with ALS a little over 1 1/2 ago, and we had completly accepted this diagnosis until last Wed when for the first time since her diagnosis I came accross Lyme information. We went and seen he PCP Wed 12/21/11 and I presented her with all the research that I had found and she will begin testing my Mother for Lyme disease on January 19, 2012 due to her just having a steriod shot we are waiting 6 weeks to make sure we get accurate results. I would appreciat any and all advise that anyone has to offer as far as what the next step should be if in fact she does test positive. Thank you all and have a very Merry Christmas!!

  7. I understand it is very difficult to succumb to a terminal illness, I am so sorry for you and your family. What I have learned in the past two years through my brother in laws experience, first and foremost, if the Doctor is listed on the quack list, they are there for a reason, avoid them! Unfortunately my in laws fell into the trap. There is a Dr in CO that recognizes Lyme & ALS you may want to consider. Having the blot test alone won’t matter, the results are so inaccurate and depending on the Dr you are seeing will depend on the course of action. By no means are these tests conclusive but have found that lyme patients have certain things in common through these tests: CD57, PCR Test, Spinal fluid, MRI. My brother in law was convinced by the ‘best in the country’ he had lyme, NOT ALS. My in laws have footed the bill as they have the means to do so. He has done just about every controversial method and treatment along with over 18 months of antibiotics being pumped through a port. What was clear is his mind was never cloudy (as they say lyme patients have), his muscles had atrophy and the above tests all came back normal (relevant to lyme) and yet ‘the best’ still insisted it was lyme and he could ‘cure’ him. Each month he declined further and further. Understand these tests, question these tests and don’t just listen to what the LLMD’s have to say. If you are unable to look at things objectively, find someone close that you respect that can help you do that. I have recently read a quote… “Acceptance does not mean defeat. Hope is an integral part of living and should go hand in hand with acceptance.” Wishing you the best through the journey ahead of you. Merry Christmas!

    • Jennifer,
      It is an intense debate as to whether desperate patients want to believe they have LD, or that non Lyme Literate doctors have all the answers and a better treatment. After all, what causes ALS? Auto-immune problems? Heredity? That is a cop out.

      My genius neurologist insisted that I had MS. A disease that I was told afflicts 2 in a million people. Lyme on the other hand has been detected in 40% of the population. Though, the majority of these people are stage-1 and have no symptoms.

      My neurologist treated me with antifuerons, and during this treatment the Lyme spirochetes overcame my spinal chord and brain causing irreparable nerve damage.

      I then gave up on this neurologist and spent the next 9 years on and off daily IV antibiotics. All my Lyme symptoms cleared up, but not the nerve damage.

      The genius is now head of neurology at his medical center. The medical center has a few new buildings, and he lives in a wealthy community. My Lyme doctor lives a modest, highly stressed life, with hundreds of patients that other doctors won’t touch, and constantly worries that she’ll lose her medical license because she treats so many Lyme patients.

      I know several chronic Lyme patients with very similar stories.

      As much as scientists, doctors, the CDC, et al want all Lyme patients to have definitive symptoms and treatment, our physiology is complex and the bacterium is random and indiscriminate. The healing process is different for everyone.

      Logically, the odds are much greater that an individual has contracted LD rather than MS or ALS.

      Have a good holiday,

  8. Thank you for your response to my post. We spent about 5 days in the hospital over Christmas break. My Mom went in with pneumonia on 12/25/11 and was discharged on 12/30/2011 during that time she recieved rocephin, azithromyicin, and vancomyicin. on or about the 3rd day we started to notice some very obivious changes! She was eating without choking, and she was also able to move both of her legs with out assistance!! We are home now and have gone without the anibiotics for 8 days and things have gone back to the way they were which is very dissapointing!! We are still looking into this further and I will keep you updated!! Thanks for the kind words!!

  9. We were building our “Retirement House” in Thousand Oaks, California and about 3 (Could be 4) years ago my husband found a tick burrowing into his side, he removed it and as far as I know he was fine. Last January he was diagnosed with a inner ear problem, then he started having difficulties in swallowing and was diagnosis with a paralyzed vocal cord. Then they found a massive goiter pressing against his vocal cords so a total thyroidectomy was performed. Now he has been diagnosed with Motor Neron Disease, I might be grasping for straws here but do you think it may be possible that he has Lyme disease? I don’t even know if I am asking this question at the right website, if not could someone lead me in the right direction I would be forever grateful.


    • Laura,
      It certainly resembles neurological Lyme. Even though 3 years have passed, if it is LD and you defer treatment, curing it with antibiotics becomes more difficult and he faces the possibility of it becoming chronic. I strongly suggest seeking out a Lyme Literate doctor. A proper Lyme test and clinical diagnosis are essential before dismissing LD altogether. And please be careful, most all doctors claim to be Lyme Literate even though today’s medical journals are just beginning to learn about the disease.
      Good luck,

    • Laura,

      Tami Duncan was the speaker at our Lyme support group recently and she is the co-author of The Lyme- Autism connection had similar symptoms as you described. She was having many throat issues and the Dr. said she had bells palsy of the vocal cords. Tami was later diagnosed with Lyme disease. Please find a good lab like Igenex for proper lyme testing. Best of luck to you and your husband.


  10. I have advanced Lyme and now my kidneys seem to be failing. Does Lyme very often attack the kidneys?

    • Susan,
      Lyme is such a random disease that it may be causing kidney problems. But, I would suspect that the meds are more the culprit. I know that more liquids can only excacerbate your torture, but do you drink cranberry juice regularly? It might help.

  11. My kidneys now seem to be failing. Does Lyme very often cause kidney failure in people? I know it does in dogs.

    Also, I was around lots of wild birds such as geese: Do they carry Lyme/have many ticks?

  12. My husband was diagnosed by two different drs with having ALS. The first diagnosis was made in April of 2011 and the second in September. His symptoms acually started in mid 2010. Just a little shoulder soreness in one shoulder. It came and went over the next few months. By December of 2010, he was having difficulty lifting his arms over his head. Know the muscles in his arms have shriveled drasticly with the exception of his triceps, which have only shrunk a little. He has lost all muscle tone to the shoulder and a lot to the back and chest. His legs have started getting weaker and shrinking and he is also starting to have some problems breathing. His swallowing however is fine, though his voice has gotten weaker. He has been tested for a veriety of things including LD. He was acually tested twice for LD. The first test was done April 2011, and was a Lyme Sero REF and was negative. The second was done October 2011 and was a Lyme IgG/IgM AB wich was negative at <0.91.

    We do not beleive that it is acually ALS. My husband is only 28 years old. Ticks, fleas, mosquitos, and practicly any thing that crawls, flies or bites absolutely loves him. He has always worked outdoors and been into hunting and fishing all of his life. Where we live, in central Georgia, we are surounded by wooded areas and are constently in contact with areas brone to ticks and fleas. Where he used to work, they would be constently cutting back bushes and trees on the side of the road. Always outdoors.

    Just in your opinion, given the time-delay between the onset of symptoms to first diagnosis, do you think that the test could have been wrong? If so, what would be the best way to find a good LLD to try and dig a little deeper?

    • D,
      You are absolutely correct in challenging the doctor’s prognosis. Your husband is much too young to be experiencing a disease that generally afflicts a much older age group.

      Since he loves the outdoors, I assume he was not a complainer about pains and health problems. Well, at least until this nightmare became intolerable. If true, this is very common with Tick-borne infections (TBI). I have talked to a number of very athletic people who rarely complained and now have advanced LD. I believe this is because without early treatment, the disease festers until eventually it causes neurological damage. At this Stage-3 LD, the patient will most likely require long-term treatment,

      LD research and understanding is still in its infancy. This implies that the average doctor knows quite little about it. Of course, nearly all doctors will claim differently. Also, most Lyme Tests are inconclusive, so they will only add to the confusion. If your husband reacts positively to antibiotics, this can be a tell-tale sign of TBI. But please, if you do go on these powerful drugs, hit them hard otherwise the surviving pathogens will mutate and become resistant to the antibiotic causing greater problems later on.

      As for his breathing problems, Babesiosis, also a TBI, is like malaria and generally affects one’s respiratory system. For more info, you can read https://lymehandbook.com/2010/07/26/malaria-like-disease-appearing-in-new-york/

      Keep pushing and remain assertive,

  13. My uncle was recently diagnosed with ALS, he’s 45 years old and has always been somewhat active, though his eating habits leave much to be desired… His symptoms started with numbness of the tongue and then quite a large amount of weight lose and loss of most feeling in his hand. He’s had these issues now for 8 months before telling our family, and before the doctors finally diagnosed him with ALS… I’m holding out hope that it could be something else, and would like to get him tested with a recommended LL Dr in Michigan if you have any suggestions. I’m also trying to change his dietary habits (pizza and mountain dew should not be the main diet of an adult male of his age) and anything I can think of to get him and my family through this trial. Hope is pretty much all we have right now.

    • M,
      I am not familiar with the dietary constraints of ALS, but if it is LD, he should try to:

      • Exercise often. It is believed that the spirochetes don’t like oxygen, so oxygenating the body might help.

      • Eat plenty of natural antibiotics like garlic. But if he does, remember to replenish the good bacteria (e.g. acidophilus).

      • Eat anti-inflammatory foods like blueberries. It might relieve some joint pains.

      • Likewise, avoid inflammatory foods like breads, pastas, etc.

      • He might try the Vit C and Sea Salt regimen, but be careful. Too much salt in the diet is dangerous.

      If these ideas are succeeding, he might experience some severe Herxing. Though torturous, it should be a good sign; the spirochetes are dying.

      All the best,

    • Megyn.
      I was just diagnosed with ALS! How is your uncle. Did he get tested for Lyme disease. I have the same symptoms. My hand has no muscle left!

  14. My father died of Lou Garrich’s disease 17 years ago today. I was talking to my mother today and she brought up that before he was diagnosed with ALS, he had went on a hunting trip and they had gotten several dear and that when he returned, he had symptoms of Lymes Disease and they gave him anitibiotics and it got better but returned again. She said he had a round circle spot on his leg that he said was more visible when he took a bath. She said when they were trying to diagnose him back when he started having trouble with his muscles, she mentioned to the doctors about checking for Lymes disease and they told her no, it was ALS and there was no correlation. After that discussion, I figured I’d read on line to see what I could find out and came upon your site. Since you say we are still in our early stages of understanding Lymes Disease and my father passed aware 17 years ago after an 8 year battle, I am thinking it is very possible, as my mother suspected back then, that his ALS was a symptom of Lymes Disease. Would you agree?

    • Julie,
      I am so sorry for your loss.

      Of course, it is difficult to know for sure if his death was due to LD or ALS. What we are learning with each new study is that LD is much more prevalent than thought. It is being detected in all types of ticks. Stage-1 LD symptoms are relatively minor for some time before the debilitating stage-2 symptoms show up.

      As you already know, the likelihood (and probability) of an outdoorsman contracting LD is far greater than developing ALS. Yet physicians are much quicker to diagnose ALS. Why this is we can only speculate.

      Did his doctors ever explain what causes ALS? They probably said genetics. That seems to be the textbook answer for all ills that can’t be explained. More likely, it is caused by some bacterial infection like LD.

      Why would anyone accept a “death sentence” over an antibiotic is beyond me, but for now, the system is rigged against us. I hope the tides are shifting some.


  15. I have a very dear friend who was just diagnosed with ALS this week. Her symptoms include numbness in part of her tongue, raspy voice, numbness in her finger tips. Part of the testing was to walk a straight line with her arms out which she couldn’t do. Also her reflex responses in testing were way higher than they should have been. These symptoms have been going on for several months now. It was mainly her voice issue that caused them to seek a voice specialist at Emory in Atlanta. He referred her to a neurologist there and he made the diagnosis after lots of testing. We live in NW FL and my friend is in her yard a lot. Does this sound like she might possibly have LD instead of ALS and if so, where do they start in seeking an answer?

    • Jan, sorry to hear about your friend. All of the symptoms you listed are very consistent with stage-2 neurological Lyme disease (LD).

      IMHO, being that your friend loves gardening and that the probability of contracting LD is far greater than developing ALS, I would pursue the LD path aggressively. In addition, since ALS is not curable, your friend needs to weigh the negatives of exploring LD (i.e. the ALS may progress more rapidly if ignored; antibiotics can weaken one’s immune system and cause gall bladder damage/ intestinal problems, etc.).

      Also, keep in mind that if it is LD, it may be causing the ALS. I’ve seen this also occur with MS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. To get a better handle on this, you need to seek out a LLD.

      If your friend does get a course of antibiotics, noting the response to the drugs is important. If your friend’s symptoms become dramatically worse for a few days, it’s most likely a Herxheimer Reaction to the Lyme spirochetes dying. If things are neither better nor worse with the antibiotics, then it probably is not LD.


  16. Diagnosed with ALS .Still think I may have Lyme disease.Coon hunted a lot and was bit by several ticks when I was younger

  17. I have recently had issues with walking. It is becoming more difficult. I have some neurological damage indicated by and EMG test. I have had three different Lyme tests. On the Western Blot I showed marker 23 and marker 41. On another test that was done with a percentage I showed .25 not the .75 and up to be considered a positive result. I have talked briefly with a Lyme doctor and she says if I show any antibodies regardless of levels, I have Lyme disease. I am going to have a spinal tap done in two weeks. I am 65 and have always been an outdoor person. I really think I have Lyme disease.
    Mary Jane

    • MJ.
      I am not a physician, but I have seen countless people with similar symptoms that indeed were induced by LD and coinfections. Since you are experiencing neurological problems, you probably had it for some time.
      Not treating it will likely allow the disease to progress to the chronic stage. Treating it and being wrong (IMHO) is a lot less detrimental than being crippled for life.
      Best of luck and keep us posted on your developments,

    • MJ.
      I am not a physician, but I have seen countless people with similar symptoms that indeed were induced by LD and coinfections. Since you are experiencing neurological problems, you probably had it for some time.
      Not treating it will likely allow the disease to progress to the chronic stage. Treating it and being wrong (IMHO) is a lot less detrimental than being crippled for life.
      Best of luck and keep us posted on your developments,

  18. My 3 yo son was diagnosised with lyme disease. I brought him to his pediatrition at least 4 times for fever rash on his cheeks, flu symptoms, falling/tripping, joint pain and his freequent complaint of “mommy my head feels fuzzy” I was sent away and told it was a virus for more than 1 month. when he finally did get the “bullseye rash” it lasted all of 10 minutes, was not true bullseye shapes, was all over his body and had the same rash from his cheeks all mixed in from head to toe. they did treat and get a positive result then told me he would be positive for lyme for life. He got 3 weeks of amoxacillan given his age. But since he has freequent episodes of rash on his cheeks, followed by irritability, fatigue, “high strung”, intermittent complaints of pain in joints, back and numbness in his feet. this is intermittent and continues 2 years after his initial dx and treatment. Any suggestions or ideas?

    • CB,
      I am so sorry to hear of your son’s situation. It’s amazing given all the admissions regarding the threat and prevalence of this disease that we still have to convince doctors to be aggressive. They should know that the POTENTIAL long term effects of LD are much worse than the effects of antibiotics. What responsible person would want to take this gamble?
      If you can’t get further antibiotic treatment, you may want to research the Salt and Vitamin C regimen. Also, anti-inflammatory foods may temporally relieve some of the joint pains, and good chicken soup, etc. will help strengthen his immune system.
      Please remember to take diluted apple cider vinegar daily to cleanse the gall bladder when taking antibiotics.
      Good luck and please keep us posted on his progress,

    • CB,
      I am so sorry to hear of your son’s situation. It’s amazing given all the admissions regarding the threat and prevalence of this disease that we still have to convince doctors to be aggressive. They should know that the POTENTIAL long term effects of LD are much worse than the effects of antibiotics. What responsible person would want to take this gamble?
      If you can’t get further antibiotic treatment, you may want to research the Salt and Vitamin C regimen. Also, anti-inflammatory foods may temporally relieve some of the joint pains, and good chicken soup, etc. will help strengthen his immune system.
      Please remember to take diluted apple cider vinegar daily to cleanse the gall bladder when taking antibiotics.
      Good luck and please keep us posted on his progress,

  19. This is gonna be long but please help!!!!! I am a 23 years old, have husband and two year old son. First off, I’m a country girl and have lived in the country my whole life so obviously have been exposed to critters and insects throughout my life. I can literally say i can estimate well over 500 ticks that i have actually been bit by. In the spring of 2012, me and my husband found an amazing park to ride our dirtbikes and had a set routine of checking each other for ticks when we got home, because we were always guaranteed approx. ten ticks hiding. All the way up to 30. In September of 2012 i started feeling off balace when walking, I would stumble or run into things, then one night i was dancing and noticed my leg wasnt doing quite what i wanted it to, then my leg started doing the weirdest thing. If I am sitting in a chair and extend my leg straight out and try to bring it back down, my leg goes into SEVERE convulsions. Or also when I’m in bed and I stretch, when I start to release from my stretch it does it. This all came in one month. It slowly progressed to a shift in my gate. In December, I was hanging my sons jeans on a clip hanger and noticed that it was harder to open than usual. I knew then that something was wrong. I had no insurance, and was a long battle to see a neurologist. After one visit with the neurologist who ordered the MRIs, i did not even have a follow up he said whatever was going on was not in his profession and sent me to a MDA clinic. I was seen in July and he ordered a bunch of lab work and said he would do an EMG and nerve conduction study when i returned. On Aug. 1st I returned and he did as said and told me I had ALS. It has progressed and my current condition/symptoms is a bad limp with visible atrophy, foot drop, left arm and hand weakness with extremely visible atrophy, I am losing usage of hand and arm much quicker than my leg. Muscle twitches and cramps, headaches, also never had a migraine but experience the most horrible pain in my forehead that only lasts approx 10 sec. But is extremely excruciating and I cant do anything but close my eyes and not move for those 10 long sec. My joints ache, especially the knee of my affected lrg. Stiffness!!! Very bad in the mornings. The longer I sit, the stiffer i get. The longer I’m moving, the more I can do and better i can move. Extreme fatigue. I require much more sleep now. Loss of appetite. Deep down pain in limbs that feels like its coming from the bone. I also have a huge bulge in the left side of my abdomen that is only seen when i slightly lean back, the posture you would use to lean your head back under the shower head. That is how I initially noticed it. Intense creepy crawly sensations all over. I now have a quarter sized indention on lower back, looks like a large dimple. Also have has occasional night sweats that have me so covered I had to dry off with a towel. Is this too much like als or could I possibly have lyme? What should I do to get a correct diagnosis? I have to try anything possible because my son needs me here and if there is a chance this is lyme I have to make certain of it.

    • Shelby,
      After hearing similar stories for the past 15 years, it sounds like neurological Lyme (LD). Being that you’re experiencing convulsions, you have probably been living with it for several years. You may have experienced tingling in your fingers and toes in the beginning. But at this point, it’s more important that you get properly diagnosed by a Lyme Literate Doctor. Any other doctor will most likely deny you treatment and be adamant that it is some other incurable disease like MS, ALS, etc.

      Be skeptical about LYME tests. They are often inconclusive even though doctors won’t tell you that. It is more likely they will use the results as definitive proof to confirm there desired diagnosis. Unfortunately, you must get a positive Lyme result to have your insurance company pay for treatment.

      If you do get antibiotic treatment, the standard 3 weeks of Doxycycline will almost certainly be insufficient due to your advanced symptoms. Also, if you take antibiotics, remember to cleanse your gall bladder with diluted apple cider vinegar.

      If you haven’t already seen it, watch UNDER OUR SKI9N on HULU. It will give you a primer on the Lyme issues that are continuously being debated.

      Good luck,

    • sounds like Lyme to me. Hope you are ok. get on abx

    • Hey just know i have almost the same symptoms minus the night sweats and dimple. My first lyme test was negative so im going to do a non conventional lyme test. Ive had my symptoms for over 2yrs. Ive been diagnosed with als 5x by standard neuros but my body screams infection especially when i try to detox mildly. Oh im also a single dad of a slighlty special needs boy of 8 yrs old.

      • Randy,
        If you want to test the possibility of having Lyme disease, you might try putting lots of garlic in your diet for a period of one or two weeks. Garlic is an natural antibiotic and is an anti inflammatory. this might give you some relief from any joint pains you may be experiencing.

        Caution… If you do have Lyme disease then the garlic may cause two or three days of a Herx reaction. I provide a chapter on the subject to give you some information. But if you do experience this reaction to the garlic, then it is almost most certain to be Lyme disease.

        All the best,

  20. My wife was diagnosed early ALS in 12/13. Symptoms haven’t changed much since so the say it is slow progression…slurred speech, fasciculations all over (twitching). She is very strong so no weakness other than R thumb and index which may be carpal tunnel.

    Question to all is: She has had two EMG tests performed that show irregular responses to needle irritation. Can this happen and still be LD? Or is it only “positive” when ALS is truly present?

    BTW, we are pursuing LD testing but spinal, Western blot both negative. Trying to get them to treat her with antibiotics to see if it helps.

  21. Were those patients that were diagnosed with ALS given an EMG. I have been told that test can determine the difference between ALS and Lyme?

  22. If those who had Lyme Disease did not get long term antibiotic treatment die and have it chalked up to ALS?

    • Bud,
      I had a very similar experience with a family member. They refused antibiotics for years and treated her for Parkinson’s. When she died, the death certificate said she died from Parkinson’s and LD. Talk about covering your ass…

  23. My cousin was diagnosed with Als. He had a Lyme test years ago and it was negative. Since then he sent his blood to the states and the Lyme came back positive. He is severely crippled. Living in long term care he is 52 years old. Is it to late to try treating the Lyme disease? Thank you. Lori

    • Lori your cousin should be treated!!! Look up Dr David Martz, he was so weak that he was bedridden but made a miraculous turn around once he started taking antibiotics. http://vimeo.com/2074932 here is his video.

  24. […] 410 – Lyme & ALS | Lyme Handbook – Severe cases of Lyme disease can be misdiagnosed as ALS, … Lyme/ALS success story: … As one famous scientist said chronic disease= chronic infections. […]

  25. My dad was just diagnosed with ALS, and I don’t believe that this is it. He had two negative lymes test, but I believe it’s there. I need help to to get him the proper testing and don’t know where to turn. I refuse to believe this is the end, and there is no more hope.

    • Heather,
      As you well know, the probability of getting ALS is very low. Contrarily, depending on where you live, contracting Lyme disease can be quite high. So, ruling out LD over a non-curable disease would be foolish.
      Yes, you are correct in saying that getting a proper test result is difficult. The larger laboratories only test for a few strains of LD. And with well over 300 strains known today, the odds of having one of those three strains is minimal and not conclusive of the patient not having LD.
      The more reliable laboratories are stony brook labs and specialty labs. You can request having your blood tests sent to these labs.
      Best of luck,

  26. My brother was diagnosed with ALS over 2 years ago, since he lives in North Jersey and is outside often I refused to believe he had ALS. God opened a door to a Lyme literate Dr so he went. He does have Lyme with a co infection along with heavy metal toxicity. He is still taking meds and has bad and better days. You should goggle Dr. Martz, the mainstream Dr refuse to admit there is such a thing as chronic lyme.d


    I was diagnosed of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) in summer of 2012, my symptoms started out with a “foot drop” on my left foot, from there my left leg lost all muscle tone followed by slurred speech and inability to eat without getting choked, strangled, and coughing. My neurologist prescribed me some medications to help my symptoms but the medications did no good and their side effects were too severe. In 2015 i started on NewLife Herbal Clinic ALS Herbal formula treatment, i read alot of positive reviews on their success rate with the ALS Herbal treatment and i immediately started on the treatment. Just 11 weeks into the ALS Herbal formula treatment I had great improvements with my coordination, speech, breathing and muscle movements. I have basically gone stronger than i’d thought i could ever be again, visit NewLife Herbal Clinic official website www. newlifeherbalclinic. com or email info@ newlifeherbalclinic. com. The fatigue and general muscle weakness had also declined, this treatment is nothing less of a miracle!

    Julianne Regan

  28. My mother was diagnosed with ALS in May 2016. Her doctor put her on riluzole, letting her know there was no cure but the medication might provide her a few more months of delayed symptoms. ALS progresses at different rates and affects different body parts first. My mother, being 73 at the time, fell into a category of what they call “fast progression” (older female). Her arms weakened first, then her hands, her mouth, and throat, and finally her lungs. Throughout her two-and-a-half-year ordeal, she was able to walk with assistance nothing was really working to help her condition.I took her off the riluzole (with the doctor’s knowledge) and started her on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis herbal formula i ordered from Health Herbal Clinic, her symptoms totally declined over a 5 weeks use of the ALS disease natural herbal formula. She’s now almost 75 and doing very well, the disease is totally reversed!! Visit there website www. healthherbalclinic. net

  29. This sounds like my husband’s diagnosis. Please let me know what specifically you ordered so that I might help him. Such wonderful news about your mom. Thank you for any info you might be able to provide!!! Linda

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