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Abstract: Long-term neuropsychologic and health outcomes of children with facial nerve palsy attributable to Lyme disease

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www.ProHealth.com • September 19, 2003


Pediatrics. 2003 Aug;112(2):e93-7.  Vazquez M, Sparrow SS, Shapiro ED.  Department of Pediatrics and the Yale Children's Clinical Research Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8064, USA.

BACKGROUND: There is little information about the long-term outcomes of children with facial nerve palsy attributable to Lyme disease, a group putatively at high risk for poor neurologic outcomes.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study is to assess the long-term neuropsychologic and health outcomes of children with facial nerve palsy attributable to Lyme disease.

METHODS: We conducted a matched cross-sectional study of children with facial nerve palsy in Connecticut who met the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention national surveillance case definition for Lyme disease. We identified children with facial nerve palsy attributable to Lyme disease from population-based data for the state of Connecticut from 1984 to 1991 as well as from selected clinical practices from 1984 to 1998. For each case, 2 controls without Lyme disease, matched by age, were selected by sequential digit dialing technique. Both patients and controls (or their parents) were interviewed using structured questionnaires. Outcomes included self/parents' reports both of symptoms and of abilities to perform normal daily activities since the diagnosis was made (or for an equivalent period of time for controls). In addition, the patients with facial nerve palsy attributable to Lyme disease were evaluated with a battery of neuropsychologic tests.

RESULTS: Of the 43 patients, 30% were female and 93% were white. Median age at diagnosis was 8 years (range: 2-18 years). Mean time to follow-up was 49 months (range: 7-161 months). Of the patients, 16% had been treated parenterally with ceftriaxone and 84% had been treated orally with either doxycycline or amoxicillin. Overall, 79% believed they were cured of Lyme disease, 9% believed they were not cured, and 12% did not know. The proportions of patients and of matched controls that reported increased problems with normal daily activities (eg, exercise, academic performance, word recall, sleeping) were similar.

Patients with facial nerve palsy attributable to Lyme disease were more likely than matched controls to report symptoms of neck pain, changes in behavior, pains in joints or muscles, numbness or funny sensations in nerves, and problems with memory, but three quarters of them did not attribute these problems to Lyme disease. Twenty patients agreed to undergo neuropsychologic testing; all had average to above average scores on tests of IQ (eg, mean IQ was 110.2), memory, learning, attention, concentration, math, reading and spelling performance, executive functioning, abstract thinking, sequential processing, visuospatial scanning, and motor speed. There were no apparent differences in outcomes between children who received oral versus parenteral treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: The neuropsychologic and health outcomes of children with facial nerve palsy attributable to Lyme disease 7 to 161 months earlier are comparable to those who did not have Lyme disease.

PMID: 12897313 [PubMed - in process]




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