A while back, we looked at some emerging research showing how one particular remnant of B. burgdorferi – the bacterium that causes Lyme disease – may contribute to the lingering pain and inflammation in patients with post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS, commonly called “chronic Lyme”).
New research in Scientific Reports now adds to our understanding of the impact other remnants may have long after the initial infection if the body isn’t able to eliminate them sufficiently
In this case, researchers exposed samples of nonhuman primate nervous system tissue to remnants of B. burgdorferi. Control samples were exposed to live bacteria.
Not only did the researchers find that inflammatory markers were several times higher in tissues exposed to the bacterial remnants; the remnants also caused cell death in brain neurons. “As neuroinflammation is the basis of many neurological disorders,” lead author Geetha Parthasarathy explained in a university news release,
lingering inflammation in the brain due to these unresolved fragments could cause long term health consequences…
…consequences such as the neurological symptoms and conditions that at least some patients with PTLDS live with.
This is in line with other research, as well. For instance, a 2019 Yale study found that B. burgdorferi leaves behind parts of its cell wall in patients’ joints. This, in turn, may trigger an immune reaction that contributes to the inflammation observed in Lyme arthritis patients.
While such research deepens our understanding of PTLDS and guides the development of new treatments, there’s actually much we can do to help both those with the initial infection and with lingering symptoms. In fact, roughly 70% of Dr. Joe’s practice is focused on helping people recover from Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. (Singer/songwriter Debbie Gibson’s story of healing with Dr. Joe’s help is an especially powerful one, which you can read here.)
With his expert integrative, functional medicine approach, Dr. Joe starts by first getting the big picture, sussing out potential co-infections, hormonal imbalances, heavy metal toxicities, and other issues that may be playing a role. From there, he develops a custom treatment plan for each patient, where the focus is not mere symptom relief but addressing root causes and barriers to healing.
For while there’s certainly plenty of overlap in treatment, no two patients are exactly alike. Their care shouldn’t be either. Click here for an outline of important considerations in Dr. Joe’s Lyme disease protocols and here to hear Dr. Joe speak about his approach to treating Lyme.
B. burgdorferi image by NIH, via Flickr