470 – Lyme & MS
Excerpted from Associated Content ( Posted: 1/09/2006 )
Because both Multiple Sclerosis and Lyme Disease are diseases of the central nervous system, they both manifest themselves in ways that are different person to person. Multiple Sclerosis is caused by lesions, sometimes called plaques, that appear on the brain and spinal cord. Lyme Disease is caused by introduction of the BB virus into the body by the bite of a deer tick. This virus attacks the same areas as the lesions of MS. The deer tick is smaller than the dog tick, and as the symptoms come on slowly and progress over a period years, so many patients either don’t know or don’t remember that they were ever bitten.
Both diseases present with a host of myriad symptoms. Numbness or pain in the arms and legs, shaking or twitching, headaches, visual problems, depression, cognitive issues such as slurring of speech, memory problems, trouble speaking or recalling words. Multiple Sclerosis is far common than Lyme Disease, and has been much more widely studied. Therefore, most doctors are more familiar with MS and its manifestations, and are more willing to diagnose a patient with symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis even if the lesions do not appear on and MRI of the patient’s brain and spinal cord, and evidence of the disease does not appear in the spinal fluid obtained by a lumbar puncture. And it is not entirely their fault. A great many patients with legitimate diagnoses of MS live under just the same scenario. Many times the symptoms will present before the lesions are visible, and they will usually become apparent later in life. That having been said, it seems vitally important that any patient who is undergoing the grueling process of being diagnosed with any sort of central nervous system problem should absolutely be encouraged by their physician to be tested for Lyme Disease. Both diseases are debilitating, and for both there are treatments that can help. These treatments are vastly different, however. Patients living with Multiple Sclerosis have various treatment options, depending on the type and severity of MS they have. There are injections of betaseron that can help with some of the symptoms and lengthen the time between attacks. Some patients are treated with chemotherapy drugs. The treatment plan needs to be tailored to the individual patient and appropriate to their symptoms. The case is very different for the treatment of Lyme Disease. Patient’s with Lyme need to be put on a long course of antibiotics, which should be successful in abating their symptoms, and can in most cases extinguish them. This can take months or sometimes years, but the patient should start to see some improvement fairly quickly.
Excerpted from an article by Melissa Martin [ Winnipeg Free Press ( Posted: 04/15/2010 )]
Fact: Manitoba has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis in the country.
Or do we just think we do?
In a recent thesis, Winnipeg researcher Kathleen Crang found that some Manitobans diagnosed with MS and other chronic conditions may actually be suffering from an unwelcome visitor: the borrelia bacteria, a tick-borne “biological evil genius” that causes Lyme disease.
“If I knew someone with MS, I’d be saying, ‘let’s look at those questions,’” said Crang. “If their MS is coupled with heart problems, or skin rashes, or rheumatological involvement, there might be some question as to why.”
After all, we’re talking about a bug dubbed “the second great imitator.” (Syphilis is the first.) Tests for Lyme disease can be unreliable; many of the disease’s 75 known symptoms are shared by a host of neurological conditions. Case studies have even found that Lyme can produce lesions on the brain like those seen in MS.
For the complete article: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/is-tick-borne-germ-causing-scourge-90919034.html