Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lyme Disease and Alzheimer's Disease

Several months ago, I had an experience where I ran into someone who appeared to know me quite well, but I had no idea who the person was, how I knew her, or how well I knew her. While everyone occasionally forgets names and faces, this was much different. In fact, it was downright scary. For me, it felt like I was looking Alzheimer's disease in the face.

We engaged in a conversation lasting approximately 10 minutes, with me trying desperately to figure out from context clues who this person was! I couldn't piece it together, and, about 20 minutes after parting with her, something in my brain woke up and I realized exactly who she was, how I knew her, and how well I knew her. She was an old neighbor, a person I saw on a near daily basis for a few years.

The whole incident was very traumatic and left me feeling like Lyme disease had stripped me of any semblance of control over my body. While I have made great strides of improvement in my health since that time, today, however, as I near the two week marker of being off of antibiotics, I found myself in the same horrifying situation once again.

I knew that I knew this person. The face was very familiar. And I knew that this person had some connection to my husband--which was more clues than I had the first time--but other than that, all details were erased from my brain. This time, it took nearly eight hours for my brain to snap back to Earth and reveal the identity of the mystery person. The name popped in my head and all details were suddenly back again. This was someone who I had hung out with several times; someone who had visited my house on multiple occasions.

On many occasions, I have felt like I have Alzheimer's disease.  In 2006 (I might be wrong about that year!), Dr. Alan MacDonald found a link between Lyme disease and Alzheimer's disease when he found Lyme spirochetes in the brains of seven out of ten victims of Alzheimer's. Dr. MacDonald passed away in 2008, ironically from Alzheimer's, but his work is being continued by other researchers.

My Alzheimer's-like episode today had me thinking about all of this, and in my research for this blog, I came across this article saying that Alzheimer's may be transmissible, and may in fact be the result of an infection.   

Lyme disease is commonly misdiagnosed as Alzheimer's disease. It sure makes you wonder....


  1. This happens to me all the time, except I don't usually remember the person. I wouldn't recognize my own mother walking down the sidewalk, if I wasn't expecting her. ;)

  2. I'm so sorry, friend. I've had this happen too. It is scary and definitely different than regular forgetfulness. Hope it's just a temporary neuro glitch and not foreshadowing or any kind (for either of us). I love you.

    PS Did I thank you yet for the awesome, amazing horse magnet? It's on my fridge. I actually like the tail as much as the head. SOOOO creative!!!

  3. Hi Alyson,

    I've been out of the loop for a while. I was just reading your posts and I know exactly what you mean with the Alzheimer's. I am a teacher and to me, it is the best job in the world. I LOVE my students almost as if they were my own, but at the end of last year, I was forgetting their names. Those dear sweet babes that I had had for 160 some days, that I loved and knew...gone...the names eventually all came back to me but it was a scary feeling.

    Thanks for posting.