Is There a Link Between Lyme Disease and Dementia?

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Frederika Malichová

Frederika Malichová

Neuroscientist at the University Of Cambridge.

Lyme Disease and Dementia

According to the World Health Organization, dementia affects around 55 million people worldwide. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder affecting the cognitive abilities of the sufferer. There are different types of dementia and the most common ones are Alzheimer’s disease, sporadic frontotemporal dementia and familial frontotemporal dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and others.

Lyme disease is on the other hand a infectious disease caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi (a bacteria).

Some studies suggest a potential link between Lyme disease and dementia. Especially, because Lyme disease can lead to dementia-like symptoms. However in comparison to the irreversible effects of neurodegeneration, in Lyme disease the cognitive symptoms might be reversed [1, 2]. However, other studies failed to observe association between Lyme disease and an increased risk of dementia [3]. Instead, Lyme disease was found to be associated to an increased short term risk of epilepsy [3]

This discrepancy suggests that more research needs to be done in order to understand and determine the association between Lyme disease and dementia.

Frederika Malichová

Frederika Malichová

Frederika is a postgraduate researcher at the University of Cambridge, where she investigates new biomarkers for Frontotemporal Dementia and other tauopathies. Her research has been published at prestigious conferences such as the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2023. She obtained her BSc in Biomedical Sciences from UCL, where she worked closely with the UK Dementia Research Institute.