James L. Schaller, M.D.  •  239-263-0133

Lyme Disease Can Overlap Multiple Sclerosis

In a recent MS article, a neurologist looked at 100 MS patents and tested their blood for Lyme antibodies using very basic testing. Her general study idea was quite smart, based on what we know of both illnesses. For example, the excellent book by Dr. Reik, Lyme Disease and the Central Nervous System, shows that both diseases can have an overlap of symptoms, including findings on brain CT�s and MRI�s which show injury to nerve tissue.

In this article by this sincere neurologist, she said only one had one possible positive lab finding.

Why do I feel this notion of trusting routine Lyme labs is a disaster? While MS certainly exists, the reliance on junk labs performed at massive testing centers is very worrisome, since I have seen many relatives, friends and patients come up negative on these labs repeatedly while having certain Lyme symptoms. Sometimes on the 5th to 10th try they suddenly become positive. Or they were referred to IgeneX and they were positive by the Jones criteria (discussed on this site). These missed patients were treated with antibiotics and other anti-spirochete Lyme treatment and they improved. So just keep in mind, the treatment for MS is actually very different than Lyme treatment, and might make the spirochete able to advance in the body.

So can we agree with our sincere colleague about her 1/100? Until I have testing done at labs that specialize only in tick disease, I would be careful about rushing to a final diagnosis.

Below are some reasons why this doctor might want to be reflective on her use of a negative Lyme test. Edited by Art Doherty of Lompoc, California (doherty@utech.net) who is the one who inserted the comments in brackets below.

Nine Reasons for False Negative
Lyme Disease Test Results

The Lyme Disease Foundation (LDF), in their brochure entitled "LDF Frequently Asked Questions About Lyme Disease" lists the following nine reasons for false negative Lyme disease tests results:

  1. Antibodies against Bb are present, but the laboratory is unable to detect them. [Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) is the Lyme disease bacteria.]
  2. Antibodies against Bb may not be present in detectable levels in patients with Lyme disease. Reasons are listed below.

    1. The patient is currently on, or has recently taken, antibiotics. The antibacterial effect of antibiotics can reduce the body's production of antibodies.
    2. The patient is currently on or has previously taken anti-inflammatory steroidal drugs (such as those taken to treat rheumatoid arthritis) or certain anticancer drugs. These can suppress a person's immune system, thus reducing or preventing an antibody response.
    3. The patient's antibodies may be bound with the bacteria with not enough free antibodies available for testing. [I think this reason is very important and prevalent. For this reason, some of the worst cases of Lyme disease test negative - too much bacteria for the immune system to handle.]
    4. The patient could be immunosuppressed for a number of other reasons and the immune system is not reacting to the bacterium.
    5. The bacterium has changed its makeup (antigenic shift) limiting recognition by the patient's immune system.
    6. The patient's immune response has not been stimulated to produce antibodies, i.e., the blood test is taken too soon after the tick-bite (2-6 weeks). Please do not interpret this statement as implying that you should wait for a positive test to begin treatment.
    7. The laboratory has raised its cutoff so high that a patient's previously positive test is now borderline or negative.
    8. The patient is reacting to the Lyme bacterium, but is not producing the "right" bands to be considered positive.

Lyme Disease Foundation
1 Financial Plaza
Hartford, CT 06103
fax (860)525-TICK

Lyme Disease National Hotline (800)886-LYME
email: lymefnd@aol.com
web page: www.lyme.org/index2.html

For more on false negative/positive Lyme disease test results see:

Lyme disease and false negative or false positive blood test results www.geocities.com/HotSprings/Spa/6772/false-neg-pos-index.html

Also see:

Lyme Disease Misdiagnosed as Multiple Sclerosis (MS) - Text Version www.geocities.com/lymeart3/ms-index.html

Lyme Disease Misdiagnosed as Multiple Sclerosis (MS) - Links Only www.geocities.com/lymeart3/ms-links.html

Lots Of Links On Lyme Disease www.geocities.com/HotSprings/Oasis/6455/lyme-links.html


Prepared by
Art Doherty
Lompoc, California

My Thanks to these organizations and to Mr. Doherty, who offers a free and massive Lyme Library for you.

For more information on the link between Lyme and Parkinson's symptoms go to: www.lymeinfo.net/multiplesclerosis.html.