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Long-term cognitive effects of Lyme disease in children.

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Most studies of adults infected with
Lyme disease (LD) have found adverse cognitive effects from the
disease. In contrast, the only controlled study investigating cognitive effects of LD in a pediatric population found no effects after a 2-year follow-up. However, it was questioned whether the negative effects might take longer than 2 years to emerge. Therefore, this investigation reports a 4-year follow-up of the original sample. Twenty-five children with strictly defined LD were compared with 17 sibling control children. A neuropsychological battery was utilized, including assessment of the cognitive areas of IQ, information processing speed, fine-motor dexterity, novel problem solving and executive functioning, short-term and intermediate memory, and acquisition of new learning. In addition, parents’ subjective ratings were obtained on the
disease‘s impact on their child’s participation in everyday activities. No between-group differences were found for 17 of the 18 neuropsychological test measures, nor were there differences in parents’ subjective ratings. Therefore, in contrast with studies of adults with LD, the results of long-term follow-up of the pediatric population continue to strongly support the finding that children treated appropriately for LD have an excellent prognosis for normal cognitive functioning.

Appl Neuropsychol. 1999;6(1):39-45. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t

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