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A NEW STUDY SHOWS INTENSIVE & LONGER TREATMENT HELPS PEOPLE WITH CHRONIC LYME DISEASE

Report from the NIH-funded Columbia Study: Chronic Neurologic Lyme Disease

Jackson, New Jersey, November 2, 2004

Patients with chronic Lyme disease retreated with 10 weeks of intravenous antibiotics showed significant improvement in cognition and other symptoms, said Columbia University neuropsychiatrist Brian Fallon, MD, principal investigator for a $4.7 million study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Fallon presented the results for the first time at the October 22 conference jointly sponsored by the national New Jersey based Lyme Disease Association (LDA) in conjunction with Columbia University.

To be eligible for the study, patients had to have chronic Lyme disease with ongoing memory impairment. All had previously been treated with at least 3 weeks of IV antibiotics and relapsed. All patients in the study were tested with cutting-edge brain-imaging techniques, and significant improvement in neurocognitive function was seen over the 10-week IV antibiotic retreatment period.

"This is the first randomized controlled trial of chronic neurologic Lyme disease; the results support the benefit of a repeated course of longer-term intravenous antibiotic therapy for patients with a return of cognitive problems," said Fallon.

Columbia University's Lyme disease research is found at: http://www.columbia-lyme.org

Lyme disease is caused by spiral-shaped bacteria carried by poppy- seed-sized ticks and is rapidly spreading throughout the United States. The numbers of cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) increased 40% to 24,000 cases in 2002. The CDC estimates that reported cases represent less than 10% of true cases-so about 240,000 Americans may have contracted new cases in 2002. Many physicians never report positive findings due to time limits, ignorance of reporting obligations, or fear of facing state board hassles. Also, lab testing done at common centers is junk and commonly negative in serious cases.

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