Saturday, 19 May 2012

Lyme Rage

The link between Lyme neuroborreliosis (LN) and aggression is reviewed from multiple perspectives. Cases are presented and discussed. It appears Lyme disease (LD) and other related tick-borne diseases contribute towards causing human aggression and violence. Greater attention to this area has the potential of reducing crime and saving lives. Narrow and restrictive opinions on the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease can contribute to the increased consequences of late stage disease, which includes aggression and violence associated with Lyme disease and other related tick-borne diseases.

Lyme disease (LD) is a multi-systemic disease with a predominance of dermatological, musculoskeletal and neuropsychiatric symptoms. Predominant symptoms are first dermatological, then musculoskeletal, and finally involve the central nervous system (CNS) in late stage disease. These symptoms may be cognitive, psychiatric and other neurological impairments. Late stage LD, with a predominance of cognitive, psychiatric and neurological symptoms has been called many different names throughout history and in different geographical regions. Recently used terms include Neuropsychiatric Lyme disease, Neurolyme, Lyme Encephalopathy and Lyme neuroborreliosis. The causative agent of LD is Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb.), a spirochete, with many similarities to syphilis. Since vectors which transmit Bb. are often infected with other microbes, an infection with Bb. is sometimes complicated by other tick-borne pathogens. Interactive copathogens are more common in more severe and more chronic cases.

Although aggression is a normal human function, dysregulated aggression causes violence, which does not facilitate adaptation and poses a major threat to individual health, social stability and the survival of our species. Pathological aggression and violence are not a result of any one cause. Instead, it is a result of a combination of contributors to violence, which are not adequately compensated by the deterrents to violence. Many of these contributors are unknown and others have described some (1,2,3,4,5). This paper shall focus upon a contributor, which has not been the subject of a large amount of research in the past, the role of infectious diseases, and more specifically tick-borne diseases and LN.