Archive for the ‘Alzheimer’s’ Category

Tulane Researcher Asks, “Could Chronic Lyme Contribute to Alzheimer’s Dementia?” avatar
Focus – Opinions and Features
15 APR 2022

Tulane researcher asks, “Could chronic Lyme contribute to Alzheimer’s dementia?”

By Kris Newby, Invisible International

In 2019, the late-great-science-writer Sharon Begley wrote an insightful article, “The maddening saga of how an Alzheimer’s ‘cabal’ thwarted progress toward a cure for decades.”

Begley’s reporting described how a powerful group of researchers became fixated on one theory of Alzheimer’s causation at the expense of all others.

Their hypothesis: that Alzheimer’s cognitive decline was caused by neuron-killing, beta-amyloid protein clumps in the brain, and that if you dissolved the clumps, the disease process would stop.

As this theory hit a brick wall, Begley showed how the actions of the cabal harmed patients: “…for decades, believers in the dominant hypothesis suppressed research on alternative ideas: They influenced what studies got published in top journals, which scientists got funded, who got tenure, and who got speaking slots at reputation-buffing scientific conferences.”

Decades later, with no cure or effective drugs for Alzheimer’s dementia, some researchers are gathering evidence on a different causation theory — that dementia could be triggered by any number of chronic infectious diseases, and that amyloid plaques are a byproduct of an active infection, not the cause.

One of these researchers is Monica Embers, PhD, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology at the Tulane National Primate Research Center. She’s also the leading expert in identifying treatments that can eradicate Lyme bacteria infections in nonhuman primates, our closest mammalian relatives.

CME course on infection and dementia

In her new continuing medical education course, “Chronic Infection and the Etiology of Dementia,” she lays out the evidence that the Lyme bacteria could be one possible cause of dementia.

Her theory is this: When pathogens like the Lyme bacteria sneak past the blood-brain barrier, the immune system doesn’t allow protective killer cells from the entering the inflexible brain cavity, because resulting brain inflammation and swelling could lead to death.

Instead, it encapsulates invading microbes with protein clumps, called beta-amyloid plaques or Lewy bodies, to stop the infection. As a person ages, the bodily processes that clean up this “brain gunk” slows, resulting in protein accumulation that impedes brain signaling and kills neurons.

In her 31-minute course, Dr. Embers describes the clinical symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Lewy body dementia, the impact on public health, genetic risks, and the list of infections associated with dementia-like symptoms.

The course also reviews a well-documented case study about a 54-year-old woman who was treated for the Lyme bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi), developed dementia, then died 15 years after the initial infection. After death, B. burgdorferi was identified by PCR (DNA detection) in her brain and central nervous system (CNS) tissues, and by immunofluorescent staining of the bacteria in the spinal cord. (For more, read this peer-reviewed study.)

Dr. Embers and her study’s co-authors conclude, “These studies offer proof of the principle that persistent infection with the Lyme disease spirochete may have lingering consequences on the CNS. Published in postmortem brain autopsy images and extensive pathology tests are a compelling reason to pursue this line of scientific inquiry.”

You can watch this free CME course here.

Kris Newby is Communications Director of Invisible International, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation dedicated to reducing suffering from invisible illnesses. The organization offers 24 free, online Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses on the diagnostics, epidemiology, immunology, symptoms, and treatment of Lyme disease, bartonellosis, and other vector-borne infections. 

For more:

Case Study: Autopsy Results on Alzheimer’s Death Showed Chronic Brain Infection

Borrelia Invasion of Brain Pyramidal Neurons and Biofilm Borrelia Plaques in  Neuroborreliosis Dementia with Alzheimer’s Phenotype 

Alan B. MacDonald* 

Received 29 Janaury 2021; Accepted: 25 February 2021


Dementia in Lyme borreliosis complex has been reported, mainly in post-mortem studies without available  antemortem evidence of active borrelia infection. Blanc in 2014 studied living patients with Lyme neuroborreliosis dementia and several dementia phenotype illnesses including an Alzheimer’s Phenotype. Herein we report an additional case study of a longitudinal evolution of European neuroborreliosis over eight years from tick bite to mild cognitive disease, to advanced dementia to death with a brain Alzheimer’s disease phenotype and concurrent borrelia deposits in brain Alzheimer’s disease sites at autopsy. 

Intrathecal borrelia specific antibodies were detected by commercial diagnostic laboratories (antemortem).  Molecular autopsy tissue imaging was completed with borrelia specific DNA probes and an immunomicroscopic  detection histopathology method. 

Results: Autopsy showed intact spirochetes, fragmented spirochetes, deposits of borrelia-specific proteins inside  plaque lesions and inside of neurons, and borrelia DNA deposits in plaque and neuronal sites. Pure Alzheimer’s  disease (without Lewy bodies) was a routine neuropathological finding. 

CSF evidence for a brain compartment immune response is established here. Intrathecal antibodies to infection  presented as oligoclonal total CSF IgG bands (n=twelve increase to n=13 bands) and separate borrelia IgG  western blot band analysis in cerebrospinal fluids (seven diagnostic borrelia CSF antibody bands). Blood western  blot disclosed triple borrelia species infection; burgdorferi European type (eighteen bands), garinii (twelve bands)  and afzelii (eighteen bands). Total borrelia IgG antibodies in blood during life were two hundred-fold higher  than normal range. Western blot of cerebrospinal fluid prior to death disclosed 7 protein bands which were not  represented in simultaneous blood western blot studies, further validating the intrathecal fingerprint of a separate  brain compartment immune response to neuroborreliosis infection. 

Conclusion: Borrelia protein antigenic stimulation of intrathecal borrelia antibodies was caused by resident  deposits of spirochetal protein deposits in plaques, in diseased neurons, and in neuropil brain sites, and in intact brain spirochetes. Deposits of borrelia proteins inside neurons and brain phagocytes and in neuropil sites (invasosomes) confirm remnants of chronic brain infection. 

For more:

Case Review: 80 Year Old With Lyme Encephalopathy Instead of Dementia

Case review: 80-year-old with Lyme encephalopathy instead of dementia


“An 80-year-old patient was admitted to the hospital after a fall, and subsequently developed an acute confused state requiring transfer to a neuropsychiatric unit,” writes Karrasch and colleagues in the journal Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases. [1]

“While mostly vigilant and awake, he intermittently lacked full orientation, had reduced attention, concentration, short-term memory function, increased motor activity, mild formal thought disorder (incl. some tangential thinking), but no frank psychotic symptoms,” the authors explain.

The man was diagnosed with delirium, potentially related to dementia. An abnormal F18-FDG-PET scan was interpreted as consistent with early Alzheimer’s disease. And memantine was prescribed.

However, the patient remained confused, despite receiving the antipsychotic medication risperidon and pipamperone for sleep disturbances. “The patient lacked orientation, had recurrent pervasive disturbances of sleep-wake-cycles, was intermittently restless, and also incontinent,” states Karrasch.

The patient’s spinal tap revealed an increased protein, lymphocytic pleocytosis of 260 leucocytes/μl, intrathecal IgM-synthesis, and elevated lactate. “The lymphocytic pleocytosis with signs of activation together with the dominance of intrathecal IgM-synthesis raised the differential diagnosis of neuroborreliosis,” writes Karrasch.

He also had an elevation of the chemokine CXCL13. And while this is not yet validated as a routine diagnostic tool, CSF [cerebrospinal fluid] CXCL13 may be another option to increase sensitivity and accuracy in diagnosing Neuroborreliosis, next to CSF lymphocytic pleocytosis, explains Karrasch.

The patient was given a 21-day course of ceftriaxone. As a result, his confusion and delirious symptoms resolved.

The man was “dismissed from the hospital in a clearly improved clinical status,” writes Karrasch, “despite an additional complication of aspiration pneumonia.”

The authors point out their case report demonstrates the possibility that confusion or acute encephalopathy can be a presenting feature of neuroborreliosis and that CXCL13 may be useful as a biomarker in central nervous system manifestations of Lyme borreliosis.

It is fortunate the doctors were able to recognize neuroborreliosis and successfully treat the 80-year-old man, or he might have been misdiagnosed with dementia.

  1. Matthias Karrasch, Volker Fingerle, Katharina Boden, Andreas Darr, Michael Baier, Eberhard Straube, Igor Nenadic, Neuroborreliosis and acute encephalopathy: The use of CXCL13 as a biomarker in CNS manifestations of Lyme borreliosis, Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, Volume 9, Issue 2, 2018, Pages 415-417, ISSN 1877-959X,



It is highly likely this man will relapse and need further treatment; however, this topic is purposely avoided by the ‘powers that be’ as that would put direct salvos through their accepted narrative that a few weeks of antibiotics cures this.

How many more are walking around diagnosed with dementia, Alzheimer’s, MS, and other neurological labels when they have undiagnosed Lyme/MSIDS?

For more:

Can Lyme Disease Cause Cognitive Dysfunction or Dementia?  Video Here

Can Lyme disease cause cognitive dysfunction or dementia?


Welcome to another Inside Lyme Podcast with your host Dr. Daniel Cameron. In this episode, Dr. Cameron will be discussing a paper that addresses the question, “Can Lyme disease cause objective cognitive dysfunction or dementia?”

The question of whether Lyme disease could cause dementia was addressed by Wormser and colleagues in an article entitled “Lack of Convincing Evidence That Borrelia burgdorferi Infection Causes Either Alzheimer Disease or Lewy Body Dementia,” published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.¹

The authors reviewed a paper by Gadila et al.² which concluded that a Lyme disease infection might cause Lewy body dementia. The case described a 69-year-old woman who died 15 years after her initial infection with Lyme disease with a clinical diagnosis of Lewy body dementia.

The woman had initially presented with an erythema migrans rash, headache, joint pain, and fever. Her symptoms resolved with 10 days of doxycycline.

Over time, she developed a sleep behavior disorder, cognitive problems (processing speed, mental tracking, and word-finding), photophobia, paresthesias, fasciculations, and myoclonic jerks. She initially improved with IV followed by oral antibiotics. But her condition later worsened.

“The extensive workup at that time led to the diagnoses of both a REM behavioral disorder with verbalizations and movements and a neurodegenerative dementia characterized by expressive aphasia, visual agnosia, anomia, deficits in executive function and calculation, and mild memory problems.”

She passed away 15 years after the onset of her illness.²

An autopsy revealed the presence of Borrelia burgdorferi in the brain and spinal cord tissue of the patient.

The authors point out, “These results, however do not clarify whether the Borrelia infection had anything to do with her progressive neurodegenerative disorder.”

“Lewy body dementia is characterized by fluctuations in cognitive function, sometimes also with fluctuations in alertness and attention,” wrote Wormser et al.

The authors also added, “Patients with Lewy body dementia are easily distracted and can appear to be ‘zoning out’ at times. Impaired job performance is a common early sign, and patients with Lewy body dementia have problems with multitasking. Sleep disorders are common.”¹

No precise test can accurately diagnose Lewy Body Dementia (LBD). “Due to the incomplete specificity in the clinical diagnosis and the pathological definition of the disease, a postmortem biopsy or autopsy is the only method to secure a definite diagnosis,” explains Haider et al.³

Can Lyme disease cause dementia?

In their article, Wormser et. al conclude, “no convincing evidence exists that Lyme disease is a cause of either Alzheimer disease or Lewy body dementia.”

The authors expressed concern over the validity of laboratory testing, as it did not meet the CDC criteria and the temporary effectiveness of the antibiotic treatment prescribed. They also had reservations regarding the use of a nested PCR technique and the immunofluorescence antibody test.

“Cognitive complaints, such as concentration or memory disturbances, are common in patients with Lyme disease and in patients with residual subjective symptoms after treatment for Lyme disease,” Wormser et al. suggest.

“Dementia-like syndromes from Lyme disease occur as a consequence of the very rare late neurologic manifestation of Lyme disease referred to as chronic progressing meningoencephalomyelitis (also referred to as chronic encephalomyelitis).”

“Anecdotal evidence, however, does suggest that Lyme disease may rarely cause dementia.”¹

These dementia-like Lyme cases are primarily in Europe. “Thus, the few reported cases of dementia-like syndromes from Lyme disease are clinically very different from the Lewy body dementia case attributed to Lyme disease by Gadila and colleagues.”

The following questions are addressed in this Podcast episode:

1. What is Lewy body dementia?
2. How is Lewy body dementia diagnosed?
3. What findings in this patient suggested Lewy body dementia?
4. What cognitive problems have been described in Lyme disease?

Thanks for listening to another Inside Lyme Podcast. Please remember that the advice given is general and not intended as specific advice to any particular patient. If you require specific advice, please seek that advice from an experienced professional.

Inside Lyme Podcast Series

This Inside Lyme case series will be discussed on my Facebook page and made available on podcast and YouTube.  As always, it is your likes, comments, and shares that help spread the word about this series and our work. If you can, please leave a review on iTunes or wherever else you get your podcasts.

  1. Wormser GP, Marques A, Pavia CS, Schwartz I, Feder HM, Pachner AR. Lack of Convincing Evidence that Borrelia burgdorferi Infection Causes Either Alzheimer’s Disease or Lewy Body Dementia. Clin Infect Dis. Nov 29 2021;doi:10.1093/cid/ciab993
  2. Gadila SKG, Rosoklija G, Dwork AJ, Fallon BA, Embers ME. Detecting Borrelia Spirochetes: A Case Study With Validation Among Autopsy Specimens. Front Neurol. 2021;12:628045. doi:10.3389/fneur.2021.628045
  3. Haider A, Spurling BC, Sanchez-Manso JC. Lewy Body Dementia. StatPearls. 2022.


For the other side of the story:

Heartbreaking Connection Between Personality Changes & Lyme Disease

The heartbreaking connection between personality changes and Lyme disease

Jan. 13, 2022

By Nicole Danielle Bell

Early in our relationship, my husband, Russ, and I never argued. We were both engineers, so our disagreements felt more logical and debate-like.

But fast forward ten years, and all of that changed. He was irritable, moody, and sometimes outright nasty. The simplest thing caused an argument, and I didn’t understand why.

I figured he was depressed and unhappy. We had two young children, and he had stepped back from his fast-paced career to be “Mr. Mom.”

When that change didn’t seem to fit, I had encouraged him to go back to work — a suggestion that led to more resistance and fighting.

We went to therapy, but it didn’t help. Everything was a struggle, and divorce seemed imminent.

Then one day in 2016, the phone rang, and my entire vantage point changed.

The call was from our security company. Something triggered the house alarm, and they wanted to see if they should send the police. I called Russ, and he had set off the alarm. The problem was, he couldn’t figure out how to shut it off.

After I processed my confusion, I realized that he couldn’t remember the five-digit alarm code. His issue was more than unhappiness. His memory was failing. His irritability wasn’t “just life.” It was a symptom.

The search for answers

The following year was, frankly, a mess. I had to convince Russ that he was sick when we couldn’t even agree on dinner plans. And conventional medicine didn’t help. They ran a series of tests, but everything came back “normal.”

Eventually, he was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, but that diagnosis didn’t make sense. Russ was young and had no genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s. So I continued to dig.

Finally, almost two years after that blaring alarm, we found the root of his issue. And it had all started with a tick bite.

The three B’s

Russ suffered from three tick-borne infections: Borrelia (otherwise known as Lyme disease), Bartonella, and Babesia. They are known as the three B’s for those familiar with tick-borne illness. Each one is nasty, and each one can lead to mood disorders and cognitive decline.

Many folks have heard of Lyme disease. It causes fever, a rash, and is cured by a round of antibiotics, right? Wrong, at least for a lot of people.

Russ never experienced a fever or the characteristic bullseye rash, and this is not unusual.

A CDC report on Lyme carditis, which can be fatal, found that only 42% of cases experienced a rash. Symptoms vary immensely based upon the immune system response and where the infection takes hold. If the bacteria infect the joints, arthritis erupts. If they infect the heart, Lyme carditis develops. And if they infect the brain, neurological symptoms emerge — as they did with Russ.

Bartonellosis is a lesser-known disease but is turning out to be more prevalent than once thought. Fleas, ticks, and lice–as well as cat scatches–can transmit the bacteria, so people regularly in contact with animals are at greater risk.

One study showed that 27% of veterinarians were infected with various species of Bartonella — and the bacteria can lead to a host of psychological symptoms, including irritability, rage, depression, and anxiety. Russ’s symptoms? Check, check, check, and check. Some extreme cases have been linked to schizophrenia and other psychiatric conditions.

And the tick-borne diseases go on.

Babesia is linked to fatigue, sleep disorders, and muscle aches. Ehrlichia can cause seizures, difficulty breathing, and organ failure. Mycoplasma results in fatigue, musculoskeletal symptoms, and cognitive problems. Ticks are nature’s dirty needle and can transmit a long list of bacteria, viruses, and parasites—and they don’t always trigger a fever or a rash, as we’ve been told.

What to do?

So what can you do if you suspect that tick-borne illness is impacting you or your loved ones?

Well, you should get tested, but, unfortunately, that isn’t as easy as it sounds. The big problem is that the antibody-based, standard two-tier test recommended by the CDC is grossly inadequate. A study published in June 2020 demonstrated that only 29% of people known to have Lyme (because they presented with the typical rash) tested positive with the standard CDC method.

Wait, what? Only 29% of people known to have Lyme test positive with the gold standard test? Why is that?

There are many reasons, but a significant contributor is that chronic infection weakens the immune system.

Lower immune function means lower antibody levels, so there aren’t enough to trigger the test. In 2018, Congress established a Tick-Borne Disease Working Group to study the growing problem. Their report highlighted “the need for improved approaches to detecting tick-borne diseases.” Unfortunately, the standard still hasn’t changed.

Russ tested negative for Lyme in 2016 using the standard two-tier approach. Fifteen months later, we retested him using a different method. Instead of testing for antibodies, we tested for the bacteria itself using Polymerase Chain Reaction or PCR, as used for COVID-19. With that test, he was positive.

The moral of the story, in tick-borne illness, the test method matters. Lyme-literate physicians recommend labs such as Igenex, Galaxy Diagnostics, and Vibrant America, which specialize in tick-borne testing. If you get tested, be sure to ask where your sample is going and how it will be analyzed.

Current status

Back to Russ. You may ask, how is he doing? Unfortunately, not well.

We treated his tick-borne diseases for over 18 months, and he had many ups and downs.

In the end, we couldn’t get ahead of the cognitive decline. He is currently in a dementia care unit nearing the end. It has been a heartbreaking journey — one that has left our two children, now 8 and 11, without their dad.

I get asked all the time, “What would you do differently?”

The answer is simple. Personality changes are symptoms. Something has changed, and it is crucial to figure out why. If therapy doesn’t work, think infection, specifically tick-borne infection. Get tested with a Lyme-literate physician as soon as possible.

Ticks can kill, so heed the early warning signs—before it’s too late.

Nicole Danielle Bell is the author of “What Lurks in the Woods: Struggle and Hope in the Midst of Chronic Illness.” Click here to read our review and an excerpt of this gripping memoir.

It wasn’t until I complained to my kids’ coach, who after listening stated:

“This sounds like a page out of my book.  I was just diagnosed with Lyme disease.” 

This information set me on a journey I’m still on.  Learning daily about a complex, misunderstood illness that is affecting nearly 500,000 people yearly, and those are just the acute cases, has been my full-time occupation. There are millions more of us who repeatedly relapse requiring stints of treatment to keep us functioning.

In time, I came down with full-blown symptoms as well, increasing the stress and financial burdens as the two of us required expensive treatment not covered by insurance.

I’m very thankful the author points out the problems with testing as well as the many coinfections that are often present, complicating cases exponentially.  These pathogens also require savvy, synergistic, holistic treatment that addresses the complexity.  Mainstream medicine is hopelessly in the dark on this complexity, similarly with COVID – and with the same conflicts as public health ‘authorities’ are more concerned about creating lucrative tests and lucrative “vaccines” than they are with effective treatments.  The exact same smear campaign that is currently occurring with COVID has occurred in Lymeland for over 40 years.  And biowarfare is a similar refrain.

Unfortunately, Mr. Bell in the story above didn’t get proper help soon enough, and had irreversible damage.  This can happen and does happen.  Everyone now admits that early detection and treatment are the key yet continue to take a “wait and see” approach, or to falsely believe that 1 or two pills of doxycycline prophylactically will cure this.

I’m thankful to report that extended antibiotic treatment, hormones, supplements, nutrition, and many other adjunctive therapies ameliorated mood swings, cognitive decline, pain, and other physical ailments we both suffered with.  We are both in good health and miles from where we started.  We must continually work to keep our immune systems working properly, but the work we’ve done has been fruitful and very much worth it.