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Link between Chronic Lyme and CFIDS

Even well into my so-called ‘normal’ post-Lyme life, there are days, such as this, when regular routine tasks -- preparing and cleaning up after a meal, writing an email, grocery shopping, seem unbearably exhausting. Friends I confide in say they have the same feelings and that it comes and goes. We attribute this to a variety of causes, hormones, diet, children, our jobs and just plain ol’ getting older. Illness is also suspect, especially for those of us who have battled with fatigue due to Chronic Lyme (aka neurologic post-Lyme), and/or the syndrome we call Chronic fatigue.

More studies are needed to examine the relationship between these two potentially devastating diseases. A dear friend and neighbor of mine, an aging Southern writer appeared astonishingly frail and weak, but whose wicked sense of humor never rested, died last year after struggling for many years with CFIDS. In spite of her failing health it always seemed that her role in our friendship was to make me laugh. She succeeded. Mine was to give her news about the steps being taken to find a cure to what ailed us. If I could get her updated address, I’d email this article to her this morning:

Possible links between Chronic Lyme and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, are under scrutiny of experts including Steven E Schutzer, MD, and Brian Fallon, MD, the Director of the Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center at Columbia University.  

Scientists have discovered proteins in spinal fluid that can distinguish people with two mysterious illnesses that mimic each other — chronic fatigue syndrome and a kind of chronic Lyme disease.

Wednesday's study is small and needs verification. But specialists called it a promising start at clearing some of the confusion surrounding two illnesses with similar symptoms and no good means of diagnosis.

"It's a very important first step," said Dr. Suzanne Vernon of the Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome Association of America.

Lyme disease usually is cured with antibiotics, but some patients report pain, fatigue and memory or other neurologic problems that linger for months or years after treatment ends. This post-treatment Lyme disease shares symptoms that characterize chronic fatigue syndrome.

The new study analyzed spinal fluid from 25 of those chronic Lyme patients, 43 people diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and 11 healthy people. Using a special high-powered technology, researchers detected more than 2,500 proteins in each group.

Read the abstract of the study here.

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