SPECT Brain Imaging in Chronic Lyme Disease

Donta, Sam T. MD, Noto, Richard B. MD, Vento, John A. MD

Clinical Nuclear Medicine, September 2012, Volume 37, Issue 9, e219-e222.

Abstract

Objectives
Lyme disease is an infectious disease that frequently involves the central nervous system, leading to cognitive and/or mood dysfunction. The basis for these symptoms remains to be defined but may be the result of a vasculitis or metabolic abnormality secondary to the infection. SPECT scans of the brain might provide an objective measure of abnormalities present in patients with otherwise difficult to objectify clinical findings. The objective of this study was to determine the frequency, location, and severity of abnormalities in SPECT scans of the brain of patients with chronic Lyme disease.
Methods
A total of 183 individuals who met the clinical definition of chronic Lyme disease underwent SPECT scanning of the brain using 99mTc and standard nuclear imagine techniques. Abnormalities of perfusion to affected areas of the brain were defined as mild, moderate, or severe.
Results
Of all patients, 75% demonstrated abnormalities in perfusion to various areas of the brain, most notably the frontal, temporal, and parietal lobes. Patients considered to be seropositive and those considered seronegative had similar rates, types, and severity of perfusion defects. Abnormalities of MRI of the brain were seen in 14% of patients. Treatment with antibiotics, especially those with intracellular-penetrating activity, resulted in resolution or improvement of abnormalities in 70% of patients over a 1- to 2-year period.
Conclusions
Brain SPECT scans are abnormal in most patients with chronic Lyme disease, and these scans can be used to provide objective evidence in support of the clinical diagnosis. The use of certain antibiotic regimens seems to provide improvement in both clinical status and SPECT scans.

5 Comments

  • dick swanson says:

    i have foci more than 50 in my brain how can i make doctor tell me that this is not right when i talk about lyme they get mad walk away from me i worked as a forest fire crewman for 28 years in the woods yes i had ticks on me i live in north washington state . is there a place canada that i can come to for testing i live 40 mi fromthe borter in north wa.

  • Nathaniel says:

    Do you have an PDF or HTML file of the whole study?

    • Canlyme says:

      No, sorry. I suspect it may be copyright protected so only those who pay will actually get to read it (unless you have a friendly University member who can access it via their account).

  • Ron Lichterman says:

    The study is available online if you google it.