In advanced cases, Lyme Disease symptoms can include neurological problems: mood swings, brain fog, memory loss, facial palsy or paralysis, changes in sleep patterns, tingling in extremities, shooting pains, weakness in the legs… and worse. Some of these effects are transient, some permanent.

Collectively, these problems are termed “neuroborreliosis,” and appear to result from the inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and acute swelling of the brain (encephalitis). But new studies suggest that the presence of Lyme bacteria in the brain can cause far worse.

The Alzheimer’s Connection

Most of us have heard of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), an acute form of dementia that steals away a person’s memory and personality piece by piece before finally killing them. We still don’t complete understand AD’s cause even now, but we do know that it causes cell-destroying structures called plaques to form in the brain.

Researchers have known for years that, on occasion, doctors misdiagnose acute chronic Lyme as AD. The error is usually discovered when the patient receives antibiotic treatment for another problem, and recovers from the “Alzheimer’s” symptoms.

Sneaking Suspicions

This begs a question: How many people diagnosed as having AD are really suffering from Lyme? And to take it a step further: if the two diseases are that hard to tell apart sometimes, then how do we know they’re not related?

Certainly, advanced AD and chronic LD often share surprising similarities at the neural level. This connection has gotten some LD researchers wondering: could it be possible that, in at least some AD patients, dementia is a complication of untreated or poorly-treated Lyme Disease?

lyme disease symptoms and alzheimers

How many people diagnosed as having AD are really suffering from Lyme?

The MacDonald Studies

Back in the mid-2000s, Dr. Alan MacDonald returned from scientific exile and turned his attention back to Lyme. He had been more or less harried out of the LD research field 15 years before, after reporting the possible presence of Borrelia spirochetes in patients who had died of AD.

MacDonald had theorized then that chronic Lyme, or something like it, might be the true culprit behind a variety of neurological problems: all forms of dementia, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), and even Parkinson’s Disease. His data had been merely suggestive, derived from silver stains and monoclonal antibody studies.

By the time MacDonald re-emerged, however, other researchers had sequenced and deciphered the genome of Borrelia burgdorferi, providing a potential smoking gun for his research in the form of indisputable genetic markers. ┬áSo he decided to try again using new methodologies…and what he discovered was fascinating.

Chilling Results

MacDonald proceeded to examine the brains of ten deceased Alzheimer’s patients — and discovered a monster. In the hippocampi of seven of those brains (a full 70%) he found a mutant DNA strain that was part human, part Borrelia.

Apparently, though a process called transfection, Borrelia spirochetes had suborned human cells to produce the proteins that cause the symptoms of Lyme Disease. When something like that happens, the bacteria are no longer necessary: the patient’s own cells cause the illness!

The Devil Inside

This may explain why doctors can’t find Borrelia infections in many of the people who present with persistent chronic Lyme symptoms. In truth, the disease may very well be “all in their heads,” but not in the psychosomatic way that these disbelieving doctors insist.

Has Alan MacDonald found the true cause of AD? That’s hard to say at this point, but the evidence is intriguing. Join us in Part II of this article, when we’ll further explore the possible link between Alzheimer’s Disease and advanced Lyme Disease symptoms.