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Does process-specific slowing account for cognitive deficits in Lyme disease?

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Although several studies have suggested that cognitive slowing is a symptom in
Lyme disease, it is not clear whether this slowing is general or relates to specific cognitive tasks. This study examined cognitive speed in 25
Lyme disease patients using a mental arithmetic task. These patients showed significant impairments when initiating the cognitive processes involved in counting, but performed as well as healthy participants (n = 23) when the number of counting increments increased.
Lyme patients also performed a speeded perceptual-motor matching task as well as healthy participants.
Lyme-related initiation speed deficits were significantly correlated with performance on standardized neuropsychological tests, including the Trail Making Test and the Digit Symbol Test, but not with self-reported depression. These results suggest that the cognitive deficits seen on speeded tasks are process specific in the
Lyme patient group, and are not the result of generalized slowing.

Appl Neuropsychol. 1999;6(1):27-32.

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