Most people think of swollen and painful joints when they think of
Lyme disease, if they think of anything at all.
However, when you look at the symptom list, you can see that every part of the body can be affected. The
frightening collection of neurological symptoms experienced by many Lyme-disease patients is frequently
called “neuro-lyme”, but in fact only represents a portion of the illness.
Given the fact that Lyme spirochetes can infiltrate the central
nervous system within 24 hours, the designation actually applies to many more than just those disabled by
neuropathic pain, hallucinations, numbness or tingling.
Columbia University established the first research center for
chronic Lyme disease in the United States through the support of Lyme Disease Association (LDA), Time for
Lyme, Inc, an affiliate of LDA of many other public and private donors and
The Lyme Disease Research Studies facility at Columbia
University focuses on the problem of chronic Lyme disease, including the search for better diagnostic
tests and treatments, drawing upon the vast resources of the Columbia University Medical Center. For more
information see Columbia University's Lyme Disease Research
Dr. Fallon is Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and is also the Director of the Lyme Disease Research
Program at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. A graduate of Harvard College, he obtained his M.D.
degree from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, as well as a Master's Degree in
Public Health Epidemiology from Columbia University. He is probably the foremost authority on neurological
According to Dr. Fallon, Lyme disease can be easily treated if caught
people don't get symptoms for years after they are bitten, so they don't realize they are
Dr. Fallon says it is a difficult illness to have, because doctors
fight among themselves about the accuracy of a patient's diagnosis (whether or not they actually have
Lyme Disease) and also about how to treat the illness. Lyme also has a fluctuating symptom pattern, so a
sufferer might feel fine one day, and not be able to get out of bed the next. Doctors sometimes dismiss Lyme
Disease as hypochondria, and it is often misdiagnosed as a host of other disorders, including
depression. He says that common symptoms are fatigue, numbness and tingling, headaches, sleep
disturbances and irritability. In addition, people can often get psychiatric symptoms, including changes in
mood, problems with anxiety, and even, in rare situations, paranoia or full-blown