Cognitive Issues

Adams et al. (1999) assessed the cognitive functioning of 25 children 4 years after the onset of Lyme disease compared with matched sibling control subjects and found no difference in cognitive functioning between the two groups. Cognitive domains associated with neuropsychological sequelae commonly reported in adults with Lyme disease were tested using the following neuropsychological measures: IQ, information processing speed, fine-motor dexterity, executive functioning, memory, reaction time, and depression screening. Overall, no cognitive impairments in children 4 years after diagnosis and treatment were found (Adams et al. 1999).

In children with late Lyme disease, the most prevalent neurocognitive symptoms were behavioral changes, including changes in mood, forgetfulness, declining school performance, headache, and fatigue (Healy 2000). In the review conducted by Healy (2000), teachers noticed that after Lyme disease, children exhibited behaviors that interfered with learning in the classroom such as inattentiveness, distractibility, confusion, trouble staying on task, and difficulty concentrating on tasks that required short-term memory. Many of the cognitive problems that children experience after Lyme disease infection are similar to behaviors exhibited by children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; Healy 2000). Overall, after Lyme disease, general intelligence is not affected, but there are specific deficits related to auditory or visual sequencing tasks that can occur in children with chronic Lyme disease (Whitaker et al. 2002).

Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated With Streptococcal Infection (PANDAS)

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