Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by victoria, Jan 5, 2006.

  1. victoria

    victoria New Member

    Interesting article, glad to see this kind of stuff getting into the mass media!
    Newsweek International Edition
    Bacteria, viruses and parasites may cause mental illnesses like depression and perhaps even autism and anorexia

    By J. Ginsburg Newsweek International

    Dec. 1 issue - Olga Skipko has had the good fortune to live most of her adult life in the Polish village of Gruszki, in the heart of the Puszcza Bialowieska, one of Europe's most beautiful forests and home to wolves, lynxes and the endangered European bison. Unfortunately, the forest is also a breeding ground for disease carrying ticks. Skipko, 49, thinks she was bitten about 10 years ago, when she began having the classic symptoms of Lyme borreliosis, a tickborne nervous system disease: headaches and aching joints. She didn't get treatment until 1998. "I was treated with antibiotics and felt a bit better," she says.

    That was only the beginning of her troubles. A few years later, she began to forget things and her speaking grew labored. It got so bad that she had to quit her job in a nursery forest and check herself in to a psychiatric clinic. "I hope they will help me," she says. "I promised my children that when I come back home, I will be able to do my favorite crosswords again." Doctors ran a battery of tests and concluded that her mental problems were the advanced stage of the Lyme disease she had contracted years ago.

    Scientists have long known that some diseases can cause behavioral problems. When penicillin was first used to treat syphilis, thousands of cured schizophrenics were released from mental asylums. Now, however, scientists have evidence that infections may play a far bigger role in mental illness than previously thought. They've linked cases of obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia to a variety of infectious agents, and they're investigating autism, Tourette's and anorexia as well. They're beginning to suspect that bad bugs may cause a great many other mental disorders, too. "The irony is that people talked about syphilis as the 'great imitator'," says University of Louisville biologist Paul Ewald, "but it may be the 'great illustrator'-a model for understanding the causes of chronic diseases."

    Mental illnesses constitute a large and growing portion of the world's health problems. According to the World Health Organization, depression is one of the most debilitating of diseases, on a par with paraplegia. Psychiatric illnesses make up more than 10 percent of the world's "disease burden" (a measure of how debilitating a disease is), and are expected to increase to 15 percent by 2020. Much of this may be the work of viruses, bacteria and parasites. Psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey, of the Stanley Medical Research Institute in Maryland, has found from studying historical asylum records that hot spots-higher-than-normal incidences-of mental illness can shift, much like infectious-disease outbreaks, which lends credence to the notion that infectious agents play a big role. "Mental disorders are the major chronic recurrent disorders of youth in all developed countries," says Harvard policy expert Ronald Kessler, who directs the WHO's mental-health surveys.

    Perhaps the most well known disease that's been linked to mental disorders is Lyme disease, which is caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi germ. First identified in the mid-1970s among children near Lyme, Connecticut, the disease has long been known to cause nervous-system problems and achy joints if left untreated. Now scientists are finding that Lyme disease can also trigger a whole smorgasbord of psychiatric symptoms, including depression. One New York man (we'll call him Joe) found out firsthand how debilitating the disease can be. When he began having bouts of major depression back in 1992, he had forgotten all about the tick bite he had gotten four years earlier. He spent two years in a blur of antipsychotic drugs, mental institutions, jails and suicide attempts. On a hunch, a doctor at a psychiatric hospital in New Jersey had Joe tested for Lyme disease. After an intensive course of antibiotics, Joe's improvement was dramatic and immediate. "I started to have this fog lift," he recalls. Still, he will probably have to be on psychotropic drugs for the rest of his life.

    Some psychiatrists fret that there may be thousands of people suffering from Lyme-induced depression without knowing why. Not only is Lyme disease tricky to diagnose-not everybody gets the circular rash, and lab tests still aren't wholly reliable-it can take a decade or more for mental disorders to set in. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says that nine out of 10 cases of Lyme diseases remain unreported. There are 15 species of borellias-making them the most common tickborne disease-producing bacteria in the world.

    For its part, the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which can be found in undercooked meat and cat feces, can lead to full-blown psychotic episodes. Some studies suggest that the parasite stimulates the production of a chemical similar to LSD, producing hallucinations and psychosis. Even when the parasite lies dormant in muscle and brain tissue, it can affect attention span and reaction time in otherwise healthy people. Researchers at Charles University in Prague have discovered that people who test positive have slightly slower-than-average reaction times and-possibly as a result-are almost three times as likely to have car accidents. That's a disturbing prospect, considering that the disease is so widespread: billions of people are thought to be infected.

    Even a simple sore throat can lead to psychiatric problems. Few children avoid coming down with a streptococcus infection, also known as strep. Scientists now think that one in 1,000 strep sufferers also develops abrupt-onset obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in a matter of weeks. Strep bacteria trigger OCD by igniting an overzealous response from the immune system, which attacks certain types of brain cells, causing inflammation. Symptoms generally die down after a few months but can flare up again, especially if there's another bout of strep, says Susan Swedo, a childhood-disease expert at the National Institutes of Health. The most effective treatment, still experimental, is to filter out the misbehaving antibodies from the blood. Best is to treat strep early on.

    The specter of a depression germ or contagious obsessive-compulsive disorder is unnerving, but it also opens up many more treatment options-antibiotics, vaccines, checking for ticks. Geneticists believe that diseases may trigger the onset of inherited mental illnesses by activating key genes. Avoiding and treating infection may be just as important as the genes you inherit, and a whole lot easier to do something about.
    With Joanna Kowalska In Warsaw

  2. damz68

    damz68 New Member

    thanks for posting this. I am real confused about what I have. Even though I have been dxed with lyme sometimes I find it hard to believe because I never got a positive except with babesia and that test is not even approved.

    Reading an article like this makes me feel better about dx. Maybe one year the abx will start to work for me.
  3. justlikemom

    justlikemom New Member

    Thanks for sharing.
  4. Jen102

    Jen102 New Member

    thanks for the great article. i read your bio and noticed you felt the best while nursing your children. have you ever tried to receive supplemental hormones--I think oxytocin--which contributes to the let down while nursing. i think jacob teitelbaum talks about this in his book "from fatigued to fantastic". i suppose you could have your level tested or do a trial on the hormone. blessings to you. thanks for the goood info. jen102
  5. victoria

    victoria New Member

    No, tho I did want to try oxytocin +/- others, I couldn't seem to convince anyone to try it on me...

    Currently I am doing the Marshall Protocol and do feel I have been helped, altho i've had to put of phase 2 due to 'life' getting in the way for a while... lost hip pain that was beginning to get crippline and was able to decrese thyroid med from 3 grains to .5 grains... so keeping fingers crossed as I do figure I have either Lyme or other type bacteria, as my son has Lyme active/chronic too (he's on 'regular' LLMD protocol of abx). We're waiting to hear results on new round of testing to see if mycoplasma shows up and how retesting of other things looks for him.

    All the best,
  6. kcollins

    kcollins New Member

    This article is very enlightening. I have had FMS for 10 years, my 18 yr old daughter was diagnosed bipolar 6 years ago and my 20 yr old son was diagnosed with depression 2 yrs ago. I tested positive for Lyme and babesia infection 8 yrs ago with a controversal LUAT test and was on ABX for over a year with little improvement. I have recently been researching lyme disease again and have been wondering if all of these illnesses in my family are linked to chronic lyme.............
    Take care,
  7. victoria

    victoria New Member

    it is well worth looking into it... the first symptoms for our son were psychological/mental/neurological... suddenly hit with anxiety and depression, over a 2 year period could not even complete enough credits to say he'd finished freshman year of high school... then we started realizing he had problems with short term memory etc...

    Also did you read about the FSU quarterback who was found wandering down the street disheveled and mumbling saying he was God? Teammates and friends at school reported he had been acting somewhat strangely in the months leading up to this. Many thought he'd done drugs and/or was schizophrenic etc, but went thru extensive testing as he was hospitalized; all tests came back normal... a family friend finally suggested he be tested for Lyme.

    He was found to have it, has been treated past 6 months with IV abx, and is now back at school and will be back for tryouts this spring for football to see if his stamina has recovered... it was very controversial, many Florida doctors criticized his diagnosis AND treatment, but guess what - it worked! despite other doctors disbelief in Lyme.

    all the best,
    [This Message was Edited on 01/06/2006]
  8. karatelady52

    karatelady52 New Member

    Has anyone told you about

    Many wonder if they have lyme because the testing is so iffy, but if you have one of the coinfections, you probably do. Don't forget lyme is also a clinical diagnosis.

    Anyway, I just wanted to tell you about the website --- its full of good information.

  9. victoria

    victoria New Member

    I would suggest you go there too. For some, changes can be seen immediately; for others it takes a good while unfortunately...

    all the best,

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