NYMC Faculty Publications


Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Symptoms Score: Developing a New Tool for Research

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November 2019




Some patients have residual non-specific symptoms after therapy for Lyme disease, referred to as post-treatment Lyme disease symptoms or syndrome, depending on whether there is functional impairment. A standardized test battery was used to characterize a diverse group of Lyme disease patients with and without residual symptoms. There was a strong correlation between sleep disturbance and certain other symptoms such as fatigue, pain, anxiety, and cognitive complaints. Results were subjected to a Logistic Regression model using the Neuro-QoL Fatigue t-score together with Short Form-36 Physical Functioning scale and Mental Health component scores; and to a Decision Tree model using only the QoL Fatigue t-score. The Logistic Regression model had an accuracy of 97% and Decision Tree model had an accuracy of 93%, when compared with clinical categorization. The Logistic Regression and Decision Tree models were then applied to a separate cohort. Both models performed with high sensitivity (90%), but moderate specificity (62%). The overall accuracy was 74%. Agreement between 2 time points, separated by a mean of 4 months, was 89% using the Decision Tree model and 87% with the Logistic Regression model. These models are simple and can help to quantitate the level of symptom severity in post-treatment Lyme disease symptoms. More research is needed to increase the specificity of the models, exploring additional approaches that could potentially strengthen an operational definition for post-treatment Lyme disease symptoms. Evaluation of how sleep disturbance, fatigue, pain and cognitive complains interrelate can potentially lead to new interventions that will improve the overall health of these patients.