Research tidbit: Lyme disease may directly affect the vagus nerve or the brainstem

World Journal of Cardiology

ABSTRACT:

AIM: To conduct the first systematic test of the hypothesis that modulation of cardiac vagal tone is impaired in Lyme disease.

METHODS: The response of cardiac vagal tone to respiratory modulation was measured in 18 serologically positive Lyme disease patients and in 18 controls.

RESULTS: The two groups were matched in respect of age, sex, body mass, mean arterial blood pressure, mean resting heart rate and mean resting cardiac vagal tone. The mean maximum cardiac vagal tone during deep breathing in the Lyme disease patients [11.2 (standard error 1.3)] was lower than in the matched controls [16.5 (standard error 1.7); P = 0.02].

CONCLUSION: Respiratory modulation of cardiac vagal tone is impaired in Lyme disease, which suggests that Lyme disease may directly affect the vagus nerve or the brainstem.

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  1. Is this why I often have swallowing difficulties? I also have vocal chord paresis from Lyme. Is there any hope at all out there for better testing and a cure?! Fighting 3.5 years now and still no one believes that I’m really sick. My cancer friends gets so much sympathy and support. I get nothing but rolled eyes.

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