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Cognitive processing speed in Lyme disease.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, State University of New York at Stony Brook, 11794-8121, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The goal of this study was to more precisely define the nature of the cognitive processing deficits in the patients with Lyme disease.

BACKGROUND:

Lyme disease has been associated with cognitive disturbances.

METHOD:

Sixteen patients who met the Centers for Disease Control's case definition for Lyme disease and 15 age- and education-matched control subjects completed two computerized assessments. The first was a matching procedure that assessed perceptual/motor speed. The second task was an alphabet-arithmetic (AA) test that measured the speed of mental arithmetic. On the matching task, subjects judged as true or false simple identity equations (e.g., B + 0 = B). On the AA task, subjects indicated the veracity of equations of the same form as those of the matching task but which required mental arithmetic (e.g., A + 3 = D). The use of this paradigm permits sensory or motor slowing to be distinguished from slowed cognitive processing speed. Also, the tests do not involve automated or overlearned responses.

RESULTS:

Lyme disease patients and healthy controls did not differ in perceptual/motor speed. However, Lyme disease patients' response times were significantly longer than those of healthy controls during the AA task, demonstrating specific impairments in mental activation speed.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results suggest that Lyme disease patients show specific deficits when initiating a cognitive process. These impairments are independent of sensory, perceptual, or motor deficits.

PMID:
10082336
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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