Archive for the ‘Inflammation’ Category

The Role of Host Response in Chronic Illnesses

The Role of Host Response in Chronic Illnesses

Anti-Inflammatories Help Major Depression

By Odelya Gertel Kraybill Ph.D.

Anti-Inflammatories Help Major Depression

New study suggests that anti-inflammatories can mitigate MDD symptoms

Posted Nov 11, 2019

Odelya Gertel Kraybill Expressive Trauma Integration

A new study* published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry asserts the efficacy of anti-inflammatories in treating major depression. This adds to the mounting evidence that there is a connection between emotional functioning and inflammation.

An increasing number of studies have shown that depression and/or bipolar disorder are accompanied by immune system dysregulationinflammation, and high levels of cytokines. Researchers have found that inflammation triggers depression, almost like an allergic reaction.  (See link for full article)



More and more is coming out on the role inflammation plays in chronic disease states and Lyme/MSIDS is no acceptation. These patients are full of inflammation and addressing that inflammation is an important aspect of treatment.

Of course, the first step is to address the pathogens which are causing this, the second step is to aid the body in detoxifying these pathogens, and the third step is to support the body by supplementing with the things our bodies are deficient in – which varies from person to person. But, the last factor is this addressing the burgeoning inflammation caused by the war brought on by pathogens.

Here are some things that have helped me in my journey.  I pray they help someone else out there as well.

(Please read about melatonin in the first link under the comment section.  Melatonin is particularly good for the brain as it not only reduces inflammation but it protects the blood-brain barrier.)

For examples of effective Lyme disease treatment:  Please remember Lyme is the tip of the spear and patients are often coinfected with numerous pathogens all requiring different medications.  This is why effective treatment is overlapping in nature and given for a much longer duration than a few weeks.  This fact has not been accepted and embraced by mainstream medicine and until it is, patients are required to be treated by ILADS trained professionals who understand this complex illness.  For a great video on this:





Cope With Depression & Anxiety When You Have Lyme

How to Cope with Depression and Anxiety When You Have Lyme

How to Cope with Depression and Anxiety When You Have Lyme

by Jenny Lelwica Buttaccio
Updated 10/31/19

(Content Notice: Please be aware that this article contains content about suicide. If you’re contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or dial 911. These services provide free, confidential support 24 hours/day, and can assist you with finding the resources you need to get help.)

Depression and anxiety are no strangers to chronic Lyme disease patients. The neuropsychiatric symptoms — defined as involving both neurology and psychiatry — can be debilitating, particularly when added to the physical symptoms of Lyme, and experts suspect they’re not just a side effect of struggling with chronic illness in general.

In fact, there’s a growing body of evidence that Lyme disease may be a causative agent for depression and anxiety. Yet, many mental health professionals and healthcare providers aren’t aware that Borrelia, the bacteria most commonly associated with Lyme disease, along with coinfections like Bartonella and Babesia can contribute to mental health symptoms. And to make matters worse, the stigma that surrounds mental health combined with the contentious politicization of persistent Lyme disease often fosters an unwelcoming environment for those seeking help.

Because many healthcare professionals don’t know just how prevalent the neuropsychiatric manifestations of Lyme disease can be, patients can be mistaken as unmotivated, lazy, or obstinate. Consequently, patients often feel abandoned, confused, and misunderstood by the very system they look to for help.

Furthermore, suicide is a legitimate concern among the Lyme disease population. “It is estimated there are over 1,200 LAD (Lyme and associated diseases) suicides in the U.S. per year,” says Dr. Robert Bransfield, MD, DLFAPA, Clinical Associate Professor at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Also, about 41% of children with Lyme disease will experience suicidal thoughts.

Dr. Bransfield’s knowledge of Lyme disease stems from 30 years of clinical practice and research. “I treated treatment-resistant psychiatric cases, and because I did, I ended up getting a lot of Lyme patients referred,” he says. “A lot of the treatment-resistant cases ended up being Lyme cases, and they just kept coming.”

Based on his experience, Dr. Bransfield has identified some critical risk factors that can contribute to the prevalence of suicide among Lyme patients. They are:

  • Immune-mediated (abnormal activity of the body’s immune system) and metabolic changes in the body
  • Dysregulation of amino acids or neurotransmitters such as tryptophan and dopamine that impact mood, sleep, alertness, motivation, and more
  • Feeling like a burden to family, friends, or society
  • Encountering negative and unsupportive attitudes about Lyme disease from friends, family, or the medical community
  • Feeling overwhelmed while trying to deal with a host of debilitating symptoms
  • Impulsivity or unpredictable behaviors
  • Persistent-low grade infections that intensify and expand the list of symptoms

If all of that feels very technical, here’s a sense of how it translates to real life, as portrayed in a recent Twitter thread by members of the Lyme community when they were asked about what it feels like to live with anxiety and depression:

Twitter post stating anxiety and depression are very common with Lyme

Tweet describing Lyme as despair and hopeless with no escape

Tweet showing sadness and frustration of having health ruined by a tick bite and society's lack of understanding of Lyme

Tweet describing Lyme as having purpose but also wanting God to take her to heaven

As intense as these thoughts, feelings, and experiences are, they are invisible — much like the physical symptoms of chronic Lyme. As a result, many patients encounter widespread disbelief that tick-borne diseases could be at the root cause of their anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues, leaving them unsure of where to turn for help.

What Depression and Anxiety Look Like in Lyme Patients

Depressed woman sitting in the corner of her bedroom

Let’s start by defining depression and anxiety, which aren’t cookie cutter conditions. They can include a range of behavioral and physical symptoms and manifest differently in different people.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) — the handbook used by healthcare professionals to diagnose mental disorders — details specific criteria for making a formal diagnosis, but here’s a more layman look at both:

Symptoms of clinical depression or major depressive disorder (MDD) can include:

  • Mood-related symptoms such as hopelessness, loss of interest in things that once gave you pleasure, sadness, discontent, guilt, apathy, and anxiety
  • Behavioral symptoms such as being agitated or irritable, removing yourself from social situations, and excessive crying
  • Whole-body fatigue
  • Excessive hunger or loss of appetite
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Cognitive changes such as lack of concentration
  • Sleep issues, such as insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Suicidal thoughts

Symptoms of clinical anxiety or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) can include:

  • Excessive anxiety or worry that is difficult to control about a variety of topics, events, or activities
  • Feeling on edge, restless, and/or irritable
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Cognitive changes such as impaired concentration or a blank mind
  • Muscle aches and soreness
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep

When looking at any of these symptoms in Lyme patients, it’s hard to know if they are stemming from an infectious process in the body versus other genetic, biological, or environmental factors. The timing of symptom onset can sometimes offer a clue.

Often, depression and anxiety don’t occur right after a Lyme infection. When Lyme is treated in an acute stage, patients may not develop further symptoms.

But due to inaccurate tests for Lyme disease and coinfections, many people go undiagnosed and thus untreated, and they may go on to develop chronic Lyme. Others won’t receive adequate treatment for their infection, resulting in chronic Lyme symptoms or delayed ones that pop up further down the road.

“The later presentation of Lyme disease is quite different — it’s more neuropsych symptoms, or could even be Alzheimer’s,” says Dr. Bransfield. “There’s a lot of unknown.”

Dr. Bransfield notes some unique characteristics of depression and anxiety in patients whose symptoms are caused by Lyme disease:

“The greater the degree of comorbidity (the presence of two or more conditions in a patient), the greater the degree it’s Lyme disease,” he explains. In other words, the more neuropsychiatric symptoms or diagnoses you have as a Lyme patient, the greater the likelihood your anxiety and depression are rooted in tick-borne infections.

“If you only have depression and nothing else, or panic attacks and nothing else, it’s probably not due to Lyme disease,” says Dr. Bransfield. “But if you have both physical and mental symptoms — aches, pains, fatigue, headaches, GI (gastrointestinal) problems, depression, anxiety, depersonalization — it’s probably a result of Lyme disease.”

In fact, many people report that they’ve never had depression, general anxiety, or social anxiety before Lyme disease — after the disease, however, some people will struggle immensely with these symptoms. Dr. Brainsfield has found a specific variation of anxiety in people with Lyme: “A panic attack that lasts longer than half an hour is specific to Lyme disease — I’ve found that to be a big rule of thumb,” he says.

Why Lyme Triggers Neuropsychiatric Symptoms

Because Lyme has metabolic and immune effects, it can impact every system in the body, including the central nervous system (brain) and endocrine system (hormones).

“When pathogens invade the nervous system, white blood cells — immune cells like lymphocytes and plasmocytes — flood into the white matter of the brain and the spinal cord, says Dr. Bill Rawls, Medical Director of RawlsMD and Vital Plan. “This causes a cascade of inflammatory immune messengers, called cytokines, in cerebrospinal fluid.”

In a healthy individual, the body will react with an adaptive immune response — highly specialized cells with a mandate to eliminate harmful microbes or stop the spread of them. An example of adaptive immunity is the common cold or flu.

However, if you have a compromised immune system (which the majority of Lyme patients do), you’re unlikely to rally an adaptive response. Instead, your immune system will continue to fight these harmful invaders, but it lacks the strength to defeat the pesky tick-borne infections.

The result? You’ll remain entangled in an endless loop of persistent symptoms that can include depression and anxiety, and inflammation and a buildup of toxins will run amok. Some individuals may even develop autoimmune symptoms along the way. As for why some people develop significant neuropsychiatric symptoms when dealing with Lyme disease and others don’t, it’s still a bit of a mystery.

How to Treat Lyme-Related Depression and Anxiety

Although there are more than 400 peer-reviewed articles on the subject of Lyme disease and depression, anxiety, and other neuropsychiatric symptoms, the medical community remains divided on how to treat patients. “One way to conceptualize this is to think of a pyramid,” says Dr. Bransfield. “At the top of the pyramid, everyone agrees the patient has Lyme disease. As you go down the pyramid, it’s not so clear-cut.”

If you’re one of the many Lyme patients who find themselves at the bottom of the pyramid — stuck and disheartened without a definitive path to recovery — there is hope. The following strategies can help you advocate for yourself and access appropriate care to restore your mental and physical health.

1. Work with a Healthcare Provider Who Considers All Your Symptoms, Past and Present.

male doctor explaining medical clipboard to young adult female, in doctors office

Since we don’t have an adequate way of testing for Lyme disease and coinfections, it can be hard to tell if tick-borne diseases are present, much less the root cause of depression and anxiety. Therefore, says Dr. Bransfield, a person’s clinical presentation is the best reference point to determine if Lyme disease is at play.

However, the clinical presentation will differ from one person to another, so you’ll need to work with a healthcare provider — preferably a Lyme-literate one — who’s familiar with both your medical history and the wide range of symptoms a tiny tick bite can produce.

Don’t know where to find such a doctor? The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) offers a Provider Search option. The Global Lyme Alliance can also help you find a Lyme-literate medical professional near you. Additionally, many online support groups and forums have lists of healthcare professionals to whom they can refer you.

2. Treat Chronic, Low-Grade Infections.

tick crawling on man's skin. zoomed in.

Dr. Bransfield notes that low-grade infections are immunosuppressive and contribute to chronic illness. To effectively treat Lyme patients who are struggling with depression and anxiety, low-grade and persistent infections must be addressed, too.

However, remember that multiple microbes can contribute to mental health symptoms. Although Borrelia burgdorferi is the most well-known tick-borne disease, there are other coinfections that ticks carry that could be instrumental in the onset of mental illness. Those include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Different species of Borrelia, such as Borrelia afzelii (found in Europe), Borrelia hermsii (the primary cause of tick-borne relapsing fever in North America), and Borrelia miyamotoi (closely linked to tick-borne relapsing fever)
  • Bartonella henselae (cat scratch fever)
  • Babesia microti and Babesia duncani
  • Rickettsia rickettsii (Rocky Mountain spotted fever)
  • Anaplasma phagocytophilum (human granulocytic ehrlichiosis)

But these pathogens are just the very tip of a colossal iceberg. In actuality, there are innumerable other microbial possibilities that contribute to mental health issues. Plus, people with Lyme disease also have additional bacterial, fungal, viral, parasitic, and protozoal infections to contend with, which can make an accurate diagnosis all the more challenging.

3. Prioritize Sleep.

woman falling asleep on bed at night with a book in her lap

We’ve all heard that sleep is essential for recovery from Lyme disease, but for many of us, it seems like an impossible feat. But better sleep hygiene can lead to improvements in mood swings, immune function, and fatigue, says Dr. Bransfield.

If you can improve immune function, then you’re allowing your body to fight infections on its own.” Try the following to get some shuteye.

  • Establish your circadian rhythm by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
  • Power down your phone and computer around 9 pm. The blue light from your devices can disrupt the production of melatonin in your brain.
  • If you have trouble sleeping, don’t consume caffeine after 4:00 pm, including coffee, green or black tea, and chocolate.
  • Make your room as comfortable as possible. Keep it cool and dark, and wear a sleep mask if you notice that the light keeps you awake.
  • To quell a racing mind, take a few minutes to jot your thoughts down in a journal or notepad. This simple exercise can calm an overactive mind, and you can repeat it as often as needed.

4. Manage Stress.

woman and blurred group meditating in a yoga studio

Chronic stress suppresses the immune system as well, so minimizing stress as much as possible can give your body the best chance of fighting infections. Speaking with a therapist (especially one who knows about Lyme disease), enjoying time in nature, and engaging in mind-body exercises like yoga, Pilates, qigong, and meditation can balance the nervous system and bring on calm.

5. Psychotropic Drugs Can be Helpful.

pink prescription pills pouring out of a white, plastic bottle

Most Lyme patients have dealt with friends, family, or clinicians who are unaware of the role tick-borne diseases play in mental health. They may also have been told that they’re fine, they’re a hypochondriac, or their illness is all in their head, says Dr. Bransfield.

Understandably, Lyme patients become leery of seeing a psychiatrist or taking psychotropic medications because they don’t feel believed, or they experience unpleasant side effects when taking a drug. But with the right treatment plan, there can be a place for such medications to aid in feeling better.

“A lot of Lyme patients have low body temperatures, and they are often highly sensitive to things, even at low doses, yet they are often treated with things at high doses,” says Dr. Branfield. He often treats Lyme patients with low doses of medications, which can be just as effective and minimize side effects. The key is to understand how psychotropic medications can act differently in people with Lyme disease, and opt for an individualized approach to addressing their concerns.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, the entire medical community must understand that there are psychiatric issues caused by Lyme disease. Until they do, Dr. Bransfield has found this concept to be well-received among psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, and family practitioners, all of whom tend to look at diseases using a multi-system model, pulling information for a variety of areas, as opposed to specialists who can sometimes be myopic.

“We can diagnose depression and anxiety, but we also recognize that what causes them is an area that’s not well understood,” Dr. Bransfield says. “If you understand causality, you can go past chronic symptom management. The earlier you intervene, the better.”

Dr. Rawls is a physician who overcame Lyme disease through natural herbal therapy. You can learn more about Lyme disease in Dr. Rawls’ new best selling book, Unlocking Lyme.
You can also learn about Dr. Rawls’ personal journey in overcoming Lyme disease and fibromyalgia in his popular blog post, My Chronic Lyme Journey.

1. Berenbaum SK, Kupcha Leland D. When Your Child Has Lyme Disease: A Parent’s Survival Guide. Davis, CA: Lyme Literate Press; 2015.
2. Bransfield RC. Neuropsychiatric Lyme Borreliosis: An Overview with a Focus on a Specialty Psychiatrist’s Clinical Practice. Healthcare. 2018; 6(3):104. doi: 10.3390/healthcare6030104
3. Bransfield RC. Suicide and Lyme and associated diseases. 2017; 13: 1575–1587. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S136137
4. Clinical depression: What does that mean? Mayo Clinic website.
5. Fallon BA., Nields JA. Lyme disease: a neuropsychiatric illness. The American Journal of Psychiatry. 1994;151(11):1571–1583. doi: 10.1176/ajp.151.11.1571
6. Hassett AL, Radvanski DC, Buyske S, Savage SV, Sigal LH. Psychiatric comorbidity and other psychological factors in patients with “chronic Lyme disease.” The American Journal of Medicine. 2009 Sep; 122(9): 843-50. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2009.02.022
7. Lyme Disease Overview. Children’s Lyme Disease Network website.
8. Schwan TG, Raffel SJ, Schrumpf ME, Porcella SF. Diversity and Distribution of Borrelia hermsii. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2007 Mar; 13(3): 436–442. doi: 10.3201/eid1303.060958
______________________  Accepting that some cases of depression result from infections and other inflammation-causing disorders of the body could lead to much-needed new treatments, he argues.

Omega-3s Recommended as Adjunctive Therapy for Major Depression

Omega-3s Recommended as Adjunctive Therapy for Major Depression

Megan Brooks

September 25, 2019

A clinical practice guideline from the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research (ISNPR) recommends omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) as adjunctive therapy for major depressive disorder (MDD).

The value of omega-3 PUFAs in depression is “overlooked,” even though accumulating evidence supports it. This therapy “needs to be on the radar” of physicians, Kuan-Pin Su, MD, PhD, chief of the Department of General Psychiatry, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan, told Medscape Medical News.

Su, a founding member of the ISNPR and a strong proponent of “nutritional psychiatry,” organized a subcommittee of the ISNPR and invited the top 10 most-cited authors in the use of omega-3 PUFAs for depression to review the literature and develop the practice guideline on appropriate prescribing of omega-3 fatty acids for MDD.

The consensus guideline was published online September 3 in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.

Prophylaxis, Maintenance

The guideline emphasizes the importance of accurate clinical diagnosis and measurement-based psychopathologic assessments in the therapeutic setting when recommending omega-3 PUFAs for depression.

The guideline notes that there is a growing body of evidence demonstrating the efficacy of n-3 PUFAs as an adjunctive treatment for MDD. The guideline authors also note that omega-3s are safe and effective for accelerating the effect of antidepressants at treatment initiation and for augmenting existing antidepressant therapy when efficacy is inadequate.

With respect to formulation and dosage, the guideline recommends pure eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) or a combination of EPA and docosahexaenoic acid, with net EPA starting from at least 1 g/day up to 2 g/day for at least 8 weeks as adjunctive treatment. Importantly, the authors note that the quality of n-3 PUFAs may affect therapeutic activity.

The guideline also endorses n-3 PUFAs as a potential prophylactic treatment for high-risk populations, in addition to standard medical care. The duration of acute n-3 PUFA treatment may be extended to include maintenance treatment to prevent recurrence.

Potential side effects, such as gastrointestinal and dermatologic conditions, should be monitored, and comprehensive metabolic panels should be obtained during treatment, the guideline authors note.

They call for further research into personalizing the clinical application of n-3 PUFAs in subgroups of patients with MDD whose omega-3 index is low or who have high levels of inflammatory markers.

The panel acknowledges in the guideline that there is ongoing debate on the benefits of omega-3 PUFAs for MDD. Meta-analyses have shown “only small but statistically significant effects,” the authors write.

They note that in three meta-analyses, the estimated effect sizes (standardized mean differences between n-3 PUFAs and placebo) ranged from 0.23 to 0.56, with wide confidence intervals (CIs).

However, small effect sizes have also been reported regarding antidepressant drugs compared to placebo (standardized mean differences, 0.30 – 0.47, with narrower CIs).

Given that currently recommended therapies for MDD have only small effects, the panel notes three “practical” strategies that should be employed to address the “unmet” need in depression treatment.

These include an open-minded attitude to integrative intervention; the application of personalized medicine; and a shared decision-making process based on balanced information to enhance treatment adherence.

Reasonable Approach

Commenting for Medscape Medical News, Timothy Sullivan, MD, chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwell Health’s Staten Island University Hospital in New York City, said the recommendation constitutes a “perfectly reasonable practice guideline.

“The big picture, however, is that while there is a literature on the usefulness of omega-3s, average clinical experience hasn’t been as impressive. Clinicians generally haven’t been overwhelmed by the results. There are practitioners that favor them more than others,” said Sullivan.

“Conceptually,” he added, “what’s appealing about omega-3s is we know that depressive states are associated with dysregulation of the immune system, and agents like the omega-3s appear to have a role in helping to re-regulate or positively regulate the immune system and combat some of the metabolic effects of stress. But it’s still an area that we need to understand more about.”

The guideline authors were supported by research grants from the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan; the National Health Research Institutes, Taiwan; and the Chinese Medicine Research Center from the China Medical University. Su is a founding committee member of the ISNPR, the board director of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids, and an associate editor of Brain, Behavior and Immunity. The original article contains a complete list of authors’ relevant financial relationships. Sullivan has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Psychother Psychosom. Published online September 3, 2019. Full text


For more:


Many people are surprised to learn that infectious diseases, including Lyme disease, are a major contributor to mental illnesses and cognitive issues.Research shows that children who have had an infectious disease are significantly more likely to have mental health problems as they grow up. In a study that followed over 3.5 million people, scientists found a 62% increase in the risk for mood disorders if a person had been hospitalized for any type of infection.

This is happening more and more, yet is considered to be rare:  Two stories are presented in this link – Susannah Cahalan’s story from the book, “Brain on Fire,” who had a similar auto-immune brain issue, and then the story of Patrik who had Lyme disease which morphed into Autoimmune encephalopathy.

Lyme/MSIDS, PANS, PANDAS, & autoimmune encephalopathy can all be interconnected and we need knowledgable practitioners who can recognize this as it’s not going away anytime soon.




Science and Alternative Medicine Agree: It’s Probably Time You Try Acupuncture  Full Article Here

Science And Alternative Medicine Agree: It’s Probably Time You Try Acupuncture

October, 29 2019
Image: Antonika Chanel

Inflammatory Processes Drive Progression of Alzheimer’s and Other Brain Diseases

Inflammatory processes drive progression of Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases

Summary: The NLPR3 inflammasome and the inflammatory response it triggers play a critical role in the emergence of tau pathology.Source: DZNE

Inflammation drives the progression of neurodegenerative brain diseases and plays a major role in the accumulation of tau proteins within neurons. An international research team led by the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and the University of Bonn comes to this conclusion in the journal Nature. The findings are based on the analyses of human brain tissue and further lab studies. In the particular case of Alzheimer’s the results reveal a hitherto unknown connection between Amyloid Beta and tau pathology. Furthermore, the results indicate that inflammatory processes represent a potential target for future therapies.

Tau proteins usually stabilize a neuron’s skeleton. However, in Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and other “tauopathies” these proteins are chemically altered, they detach from the cytoskeleton and stick together. As a consequence, the cell’s mechanical stability is compromised to such an extent that it dies off. In essence, “tau pathology” gives neurons the deathblow. The current study led by Prof. Michael Heneka, director of the Department of Neurodegenerative Diseases and Gerontopsychiatry at the University of Bonn and a senior researcher at the DZNE, provides new insights into why tau proteins are transformed. As it turns out, inflammatory processes triggered by the brain’s immune system are a driving force.

A Molecular Switch

A particular protein complex, the “NLRP3 inflammasome”, plays a central role for these processes, the researchers report in Nature. Heneka and colleagues already studied this macromolecule, which is located inside the brain’s immune cells, in previous studies. It is a molecular switch that can trigger the release of inflammatory substances. For the current study, the researchers examined tissue samples from the brains of deceased FTD patients, cultured brain cells, and mice that exhibited hallmarks of Alzheimer’s and FTD.

“Our results indicate that the inflammasome and the inflammatory reactions it triggers, play an important role in the emergence of tau pathology”, Heneka said. In particular, the researchers discovered that the inflammasome influences enzymes that induce a “hyperphosphorylation” of tau proteins. This chemical change ultimately causes them to separate from the scaffold of neurons and clump together. “It appears that inflammatory processes mediated by the inflammasome are of central importance for most, if not all, neurodegenerative diseases with tau pathology.”

A Link between Amyloid Beta and Tau

This especially applies to Alzheimer’s disease. Here another molecule comes into play: “amyloid beta” (Amyloid Beta). In Alzheimer’s, this protein also accumulates in the brain. In contrast to tau proteins, this does not happen within the neurons but between them. In addition, deposition of Amyloid Beta starts in early phases of the disease, while aggregation of tau proteins occurs later.

This shows a head with a swirly background

In previous studies, Heneka and colleagues were able to show that the inflammasome can promote the aggregation of Amyloid Beta. Here is where the connection to the recent findings comes in. “Our results support the amyloid cascade hypothesis for the development of Alzheimer’s. According to this hypothesis, deposits of Amyloid Beta ultimately lead to the development of tau pathology and thus to cell death,” said Heneka. “Our current study shows that the inflammasome is the decisive and hitherto missing link in this chain of events, because it bridges the development from Amyloid Beta pathology to tau pathology. It passes the baton, so to speak.” Thus, deposits of Amyloid Beta activate the inflammasome. As a result, formation of further deposits of Amyloid Beta is promoted. On the other hand, chemical changes occur to the tau proteins resulting into their aggregation.

A Possible Starting Point for Therapies

“Inflammatory processes promote the development of Amyloid Beta pathology, and as we have now been able to show, of tau pathology as well. Thus, the inflammasome plays a key role in Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases,” said Heneka, who is involved in the Bonn-based “ImmunoSensation” cluster of excellence and who also teaches at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. With these findings, the neuroscientist sees opportunities for new treatment methods. “The idea of influencing tau pathology is obvious. Future drugs could tackle exactly this aspect by modulating the immune response. With the development of tau pathology, mental abilities decline more and more. Therefore, if tau pathology could be contained, this would be an important step towards a better therapy.”


Media Contacts:
Marcus Neitzert – DZNE
Image Source:
The image is in the public domain.

Original Research: Closed access
“NLRP3 inflammasome activation drives tau pathology”. Christina Ising et al.
Nature doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1769-z.


NLRP3 inflammasome activation drives tau pathology

Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by the accumulation of amyloid-beta in plaques, aggregation of hyperphosphorylated tau in neurofibrillary tangles and neuroinflammation, together resulting in neurodegeneration and cognitive decline1. The NLRP3 inflammasome assembles inside of microglia on activation, leading to increased cleavage and activity of caspase-1 and downstream interleukin-1β release2. Although the NLRP3 inflammasome has been shown to be essential for the development and progression of amyloid-beta pathology in mice3, the precise effect on tau pathology remains unknown. Here we show that loss of NLRP3 inflammasome function reduced tau hyperphosphorylation and aggregation by regulating tau kinases and phosphatases. Tau activated the NLRP3 inflammasome and intracerebral injection of fibrillar amyloid-beta-containing brain homogenates induced tau pathology in an NLRP3-dependent manner. These data identify an important role of microglia and NLRP3 inflammasome activation in the pathogenesis of tauopathies and support the amyloid-cascade hypothesis in Alzheimer’s disease, demonstrating that neurofibrillary tangles develop downstream of amyloid-beta-induced microglial activation.


For more:



Link Between Inflammation & Mental Sluggishness Shown & How MSM, Systemic Enzymes, and Melatonin Can Help

Link between inflammation and mental sluggishness shown

Summary: Inflammation appears to have a negative impact on attention and cognition.

Source: University of Birmingham

Scientists at the University of Birmingham in collaboration with the University of Amsterdam have uncovered a possible explanation for the mental sluggishness that often accompanies illness.

An estimated 12M UK citizens have a chronic medical condition, and many of them report severe mental fatigue that they characterize as ‘sluggishness’ or ‘brain fog’. This condition is often as debilitating as the disease itself.

A team in the University’s Centre for Human Brain Health investigated the link between this mental fog and inflammation – the body’s response to illness. In a study published in Neuroimage, they show that inflammation appears to have a particular negative impact on the brain’s readiness to reach and maintain an alert state.

Dr Ali Mazaheri and Professor Jane Raymond of the University’s Centre for Human Brain Health, are the senior authors of the study. Dr Mazaheri says:

“Scientists have long suspected a link between inflammation and cognition, but it is very difficult to be clear about the cause and effect. For example, people living with a medical condition or being very overweight might complain of cognitive impairment, but it’s hard to tell if that’s due to the inflammation associated with these conditions or if there are other reasons.”

“Our research has identified a specific critical process within the brain that is clearly affected when inflammation is present.”

The study focussed specifically on an area of the brain which is responsible for visual attention. A group of 20 young male volunteers took part and received a salmonella typhoid vaccine that causes temporary inflammation but has few other side effects. They were tested for cognitive responses to simple images on a computer screen a few hours after the injection so that their ability to control attention could be measured. Brain activity was measured while they performed the attention tests.

On a different day, either before or after, they received an injection with water (a placebo) and did the same attention tests. On each test day, they were unaware of which injection they had received. Their inflammation state was measured by analyzing blood taken on each day.

The tests used in the study assessed three separate attention processes, each involving distinct parts of the brain. These processes are: “alerting” which involves reaching and maintaining an alert state; “orienting” which involves selecting and prioritizing useful sensory information; and “executive control” used to resolving what to pay attention to when available information is conflicting.

The results showed that inflammation specifically affected brain activity related to staying alert, while the other attention processes appeared unaffected by inflammation.

This shows a red brain

“These results show quite clearly that there’s a very specific part of the brain network that’s affected by inflammation,” says Dr Mazaheri. “This could explain ‘brain fog’.”

Professor Raymond says,

“This research finding is a major step forward in understanding the links between physical, cognitive, and mental health and tells us that even the mildest of illnesses may reduce alertness.”

Dr Leonie Balter the first author of the study which was completed as part of her PhD, concluded:

“Getting a better understanding of the relationships between inflammation and brain function will help us investigate other ways to treat some of these conditions. For example, further research might show that patients with conditions associated with chronic inflammation, such as obesity, kidney disease or Alzheimer’s, could benefit from taking anti-inflammatory drugs to help preserve or improve cognitive function.”

“Furthermore, subtle changes in brain function may be used as an early marker cognitive deterioration in patients with inflammatory diseases.”

The next step for the team will be to test the effects of inflammation on other areas of brain function such as memory.


University of Birmingham
Media Contacts:
Beck Lockwood – University of Birmingham
Image Source:
The image is in the public domain.

Original Research: Open access
“Selective effects of acute low-grade inflammation on human visual attention”. Ali Mazaheri et al.
NeuroImage doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.116098.


Selective effects of acute low-grade inflammation on human visual attention

Illness is often accompanied by perceived cognitive sluggishness, a symptom that may stem from immune system activation. The current study used electroencephalography (EEG) to assess how inflammation affected three different distinct attentional processes: alerting, orienting and executive control. In a double-blinded placebo-controlled within-subjects design (20 healthy males, mean age = 24.5, SD = 3.4), Salmonella typhoid vaccination (0.025 mg; Typhim Vi, Sanofi Pasteur) was used to induce transient mild inflammation, while a saline injection served as a placebo-control. Participants completed the Attention Network Test with concurrent EEG recorded 6 h post-injection. Analyses focused on behavioral task performance and on modulation of oscillatory EEG activity in the alpha band (9–12 Hz) for alerting as well as orienting attention and frontal theta band (4–8 Hz) for executive control. Vaccination induced mild systemic inflammation, as assessed by interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels. While no behavioral task performance differences between the inflammation and placebo condition were evident, inflammation caused significant alterations to task-related brain activity. Specifically, inflammation produced greater cue-induced suppression of alpha power in the alerting aspect of attention and individual variation in the inflammatory response was significantly correlated with the degree of alpha power suppression. Notably, inflammation did not affect orienting (i.e., alpha lateralization) or executive control (i.e., frontal theta activity). These results reveal a unique neurophysiological sensitivity to acute mild inflammation of the neural network that underpins attentional alerting functions. Observed in the absence of performance decrements, these novel findings suggest that acute inflammation requires individuals to exert greater cognitive effort when preparing for a task in order to maintain adequate behavioral performance.



As most of you are aware, Lyme/MSIDS patients suffer with infection, inflammation, insomnia, and quite often – brain fog. Finding successful ways of treating each of these issues is part of treatment success.  Personally, I’ve found a number of things to help with these issues.  One is an inexpensive supplement called MSM:  Another is called systemic or proteolytic enzymes: and  Even though I am done with Lyme/MSIDS treatment, I still take both substances as they do so many good things for the body including:

  • Control inflammation throughout the body, not just in your joints.
  • Repair and rebuild the cardiovascular system.
  • Optimize blood flow & cleanses blood of debris
  • Prevent and dissolve blood clots by dissolving fibrin
  • Dissolve plaque in your arteries and dental plaque in your mouth.
  • Clean up your immune system.
  • Minimize the impact of allergies but breaking down and removing circulating immune complexes.
  • Improve the ability to exercise and speed up recovery times.
  • Kill bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens.
  • Accelerate recovery from sprains, strains, fractures, bruises & surgery
  • Help with arthritis
  • Help with detoxification
  • Improve body alkalinity
  • Help with sinusitis and asthma
  • Help reduce MS symptoms

Another supplement I’ve taken for years is melatonin, which according to Dr. Mercola, also reduces inflammation and is neuroprotective by strengthening the blood-brain barrier.

Melatonin Has Anti-Inflammatory and Metabolic Effects

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola
melatonin benefits


  • Melatonin is responsible for your sleep/wake cycle and it plays an important role in fighting inflammation and weight gain
  • It affects your immune system, gut health, pain level, blood pressure and recovery from stroke and traumatic brain injury
  • You can naturally boost your melatonin levels by getting at least 15 minutes of sun exposure in the morning, among other ways
  • Melatonin has a safe track record with few adverse reactions, but its long-term effects are unknown; supplementation may not be safe for those taking certain medications or dealing with specific health conditions

Your body is a complex organism requiring quality sleep to function optimally. Your body’s circadian rhythms are a combination of biological clocks regulating everything from your metabolism to psychological functioning. One sure way to cause dysregulation of your biological clock is to skimp on sleep.

Although you have a master clock in your brain to synchronize bodily functions, every organ and cell has its own biological clock as well. In a stunning discovery published in 2017, researchers found half your genes are controlled by circadian rhythms that turn them on and off in a cyclical wave.

The whole-body circadian rhythm is largely dictated by your pineal gland, which is responsible for secreting melatonin or N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine. This hormone normalizes your circadian rhythm as it signals your body it’s time for sleep. The production of melatonin will depend on how much and when your body absorbs light.

The gland is located near the center of your brain and usually starts secreting melatonin near 9 p.m. Without an adequate amount of sleep and exposure to sunlight, your levels will naturally drop. Researchers have found an association between melatonin and rising levels of inflammation.

Melatonin Reduced Inflammation and Obesity Markers in Mice

In a combined effort, scientists from universities in Brazil and Italy1 sought to identify the role melatonin may have in improving disorders commonly found in those who are obese. The researchers used mice who were induced to become obese and treated them for 10 weeks with melatonin.

The objective was to determine if the hormone could effectively delay or block the damage from eating too much. The researchers found multiple results supporting their theory that melatonin supplementation could have a significant effect on the animals, including reducing triglyceride levels and total and LDL cholesterol levels.

They also found that supplementation prevented larger weight gain by reducing the formation of fat tissue and increasing the capacity to break down white fat. This combination of effects helped to prevent the hypertrophy of fat cells caused by excessive eating.

Additionally, the researchers noted the supplementation reduced a characteristic inflammatory process found in obese subjects where macrophages infiltrate adipose tissue. The mice also experienced a reduction in inflammatory related factors through a decrease in gene expression.

Overall, at the end of the 10-week trial, the group of mice eating an excessive amount without melatonin gained 49% body mass over the control group that ate a normal diet. The group of mice supplemented with melatonin increased their body mass 28% over the control group, but 13% lower than the group eating excess food without melatonin.

The researchers believe the data suggest that melatonin could be considered as a therapeutic agent to help mitigate the metabolic and inflammatory conditions triggered in those who are obese.

The Importance of Melatonin to Sleep/Wake Cycles

As with many hormones and chemicals in the body, melatonin has more than one function. The best known role it plays is in controlling your sleep/wake cycle. This well-publicized function may be due to the fact that sleep plays a significant role in your overall physical and mental health.

An estimated 40% of Americans are sleep deprived every day, with many people getting less than 5 hours of sleep per night. Millions struggle to fall asleep and others find it challenging to stay asleep. Some wake up too early in the morning.

There are a number of hazards associated with sleep deprivation; you can read about these in my past article, “Nobel Prize-Winning Science Highlights Importance of Good Sleep for Health.”

Melatonin is a marker your body uses to influence what time of day or night it thinks it is. This happens regardless of the actual time. During a normal night of sleep, levels stay elevated for about 12 hours. As the sun rises, the pineal gland reduces production until the level in your blood is hardly measurable.

If you experience disruption to your circadian rhythms, your body will produce less melatonin and you will experience poor quality sleep. This can happen to those who work the night shift, have jet lag or are exposed to light during the night.

Melatonin Benefits More Than Sleep

A deficiency in this hormone may come with profound biological risks, such as potentially having higher levels of inflammation, a weaker immune system and an increased chance of developing cancer. The hormone interacts with receptor proteins that help control the different stages of sleep and are present in other organs and immune cells.2,3

Additionally, melatonin is a potent antioxidant that can raise the levels of other antioxidants, such as glutathione. Melatonin plays a role in the health and survival of mitochondria,4 your body’s powerhouse, where energy production takes place at a cellular level.

Melatonin has shown some promise for pain control in those suffering from endometriosis. In one study,5 10 mg per day decreased pain by 39.8% and dysmenorrhea by 38.01%. Topical application may help prevent sunburn,6 while oral supplementation was 150 times more effective at treating tinnitus as compared to other drugs. Melatonin may also play a protective role in:7

Delayed sleep phase syndrome Strengthening the blood-brain barrier Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Reducing transplant complications Recovery from stroke and traumatic brain injury Diabetes
Vision and eye health Parkinson’s disease Thrombocytopenia
Gut health Jet lag Blood pressure and heart health
Acid reflux Aging Fertility

Boost Your Melatonin Naturally

Melatonin does come in supplemental form, but it’s also possible to raise your levels naturally. Researchers recognize nonpharmacological approaches to insomnia include better sleep hygiene, physical exercise and mindfulness meditation.

It makes sense to engage in simple habits to increase your natural production and improve your overall health and sleep without adding supplements. Four simple strategies include:

Sunshine during the morning — Melatonin is affected by your exposure to light and dark. When it’s light, production of melatonin naturally drops. Getting at least 15 minutes of sunlight in the morning hours helps to regulate the production of melatonin, dropping it to normal daytime levels, so you feel awake during the day and sleep better at night.

Sleep in the dark — Your body produces and secretes melatonin in the dark, helping you to go to sleep and stay asleep. Sleeping in a completely darkened room, without lights from alarm clocks, televisions or other sources will improve your sleep quality.

If you get up during the night to use the bathroom, it’s important to keep the lights off so you don’t shut off your production of melatonin. Also, wear blue-light blocking glasses after sunset to avoid blue-light exposure.

Lower your stress level and your cortisol level — The release of melatonin is dependent on the release of another hormone, norepinephrine. Excess stress and the resulting release of cortisol inhibits the release of norepinephrine, and therefore the release of melatonin. Stress-reducing strategies you may find helpful before bed include yoga, stretching, meditation and prayer.

Increase foods high in magnesium — Magnesium plays a role in reducing brain activity at night, helping you to relax and fall asleep more easily. It works in tandem with melatonin. Foods containing higher levels of magnesium include almonds, avocados, pumpkin seeds and green, leafy vegetables.

Supplementation and Potential Negative Effects

The beneficial effects associated with melatonin suggest it may primarily have a function as an antioxidant. In speaking with Time magazine, Helen Burgess, co-director of the Sleep and Circadian Research Laboratory at the University of Michigan, said:8

“Some of the emerging science is showing that in people with higher levels of inflammation — which could be because they’re obese, or because they’re in the [intensive care unit] for a transplant — melatonin in the range of 6 mg to 10 mg may decrease markers of inflammation.”

The authors of past studies have associated a deficiency in melatonin with obesity. It also may address inflammation, as supplementation has been associated with lowering oxidative stress and regulating adipokines involved in the inflammatory process. While believed to be relatively safe for up to 18 months, the long-term effects are largely unknown.

Possible negative interactions have been suggested for those with epilepsy or those taking Warfarin, a blood thinner. Melatonin is sometimes used in children to benefit those with sleep disorders, but long-term effects in children are also unknown. There has been some research suggesting that using melatonin during puberty may interfere with natural production of the hormone.

Researchers leading one study cautioned that supplementation should be limited in those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. They suggest considering the supplement only for those who also have chronic insomnia. It’s crucial to remember that melatonin is a hormone, and long-term supplementation with hormones can have unknown effects on the body.

In addition to the strategies listed above to boost your natural production, you may benefit from sleep habits information in my past article, “Top 33 Tips to Optimize Your Sleep Routine.”