Sudden Onset Dementia: Could It Be Lyme?

It might be trivial. It might produce only an itchy spot or  symptoms that are brief and go away entirely. Or a tick bite could change your life in terrible ways for a long, long time.

And worse, almost 70% of those who get Lyme disease from a tick bite go undiagnosed. Or if treated, they may be getting subclinical results from insufficient antibiotic treatment.

It’s hard to know the facts, but one fact is that we don’t have all the facts. We have underestimated and often failed to detect the reservoir of pathogens a single tick can inject, and have misunderstood how resistant to treatment some of these tick-injected  pathogens truly are.

The possibility of serious mental changes is a fact about Lyme I was unaware of. According to this article from a Martha’s Vineyard hospital publication, Kris Kristofferson’s apparent dementia turned out to be undiagnosed Lyme.

“Sudden-onset dementia should really be a red flag for Lyme [disease], especially in people with compromised immune systems,” she said.

“Everyone over 50 has a compromised immune system.”

So do the regular full-body body scan for ticks several times a day during the warm months. Be sure your dog has proper tick deterrent. (We are getting good results with a Seresto collar).

And if your spouse goes off her nut and stays there longer than usual, it might not be late onset of Obnoxious Personality Disorder after all!

Share this with your friends!

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Fred:

    Long long time, no talk

    Just wanted to say hello.

    Hope you and family are well.

    Have not been on your site for some time…….. so sorry.

    Yes, I still have the photo, of You and I, together, that my wife shot, several years ago, at a Floyd County fair.

    Take care.

    Greensboro NC