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David Baxter

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New data supports autism - Lyme disease link
June 22, 2007

News reports indicate a staggering number of Lyme disease cases going unreported. With autism rates rising each year, doctors are examining this new connection.

With new CDC numbers showing one of the largest populations of Lyme disease sufferers being boys from the age of 5-14, this rings of d?j? vu to parents of children with autism. Young boys are the largest category of victims of autism as well as Lyme disease, which is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. Interestingly, the symptoms of chronic Lyme disease when affecting the central nervous system are literally the same symptoms as autism spectrum disorder.

The LIA Foundation will hold its first conference this week in Irvine, CA, in which new data will be released supporting this connection. "It's time that parents and doctors start looking outside the box as to why these children are so sick," comments co-founder of the LIA Foundation, Tami Duncan. "At this conference, we have presenters who will show that this connection is real."

"The increasing incidence of autism spectrum disorder (560,000 in the US) is a serious threat to our children and in most cases the cause is still unknown. Some clinicians and parents have noted chronic infections, including tick-borne infections; including Lyme disease and the immune reactions to these infections are sometimes associated with autistic symptoms and autistic spectrum disorder. This meeting will review the data regarding this observation and possible explanations of this association with a goal to help reduce any preventable cases of autism spectrum disorder," states Robert Bransfield, M.D. of Red Bank, NJ.

Doctors are beginning to support this link. Joseph Burrascano, M.D., the Vice President of ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Disease Society) states his position on Lyme disease and Autism. "It is my contention that Autism is an inflammatory encephalitis cause by a pathogen such as Bartonella or Mycoplasma. I share the view that Bartonella is a major infection that may eclipse Borrelia burgdorferi as the ultimate cause of the morbidity in chronic Lyme disease. Mycoplasma too is a major concern of mine - in reviewing my 7000+ cases, those patients who were relentlessly chronic, all at one point or another in their illness, were positive for Mycoplasma."

Lyme disease is a infection of the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which is most often acquired from the bite of an infected tick. Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, persistent rash, tingling or numbness of the fingers or toes, disorientation, mental 'fog,' achy joints, short term memory loss, sensitivity to light and/or sound, fatigue, slurring words or word retrieval problems, poor concentration and sleep disturbance.

Treatment for Lyme disease consists of antibiotic therapy. Delayed or inadequate treatment may lead to "late stage" Lyme disease that is disabling and difficult to treat.
 

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