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The association between tick-borne infections,
Lyme borreliosis and autism spectrum disorders

Robert C. Bransfield a,*, Jeffrey S. Wulfman b, William T. Harvey c, Anju I. Usman d

a Department of Psychiatry, Riverview Medical Center, 225 State Route 35, Red Bank, NJ, United States
b Department of Family Medicine, University of Vermont, Brandon, VT, United States
c Rocky Mountain Chronic Disease Specialists, Colorado Springs, CO, United States
d True Health Medical Center, Naperville, IL, United States

Received 18 August 2007; accepted 7 September 2007

Summary Chronic infectious diseases, including tick-borne infections such as Borrelia burgdorferi may have direct effects, promote other infections and create a weakened, sensitized and immunologically vulnerable state during fetal development and infancy leading to increased vulnerability for developing autism spectrum disorders. A dysfunctional synergism with other predisposing and contributing factors may contribute to autism spectrum disorders by provoking innate and adaptive immune reactions to cause and perpetuate effects in susceptible individuals that result in inflammation, molecular mimicry, kynurenine pathway changes, increased quinolinic acid and decreased serotonin, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and excitotoxicity that impair the development of the amygdala and other neural structures and neural networks resulting in a partial Klu¨ver–Bucy Syndrome and other deficits resulting in autism spectrum disorders and/or exacerbating autism spectrum disorders from other causes throughout life.

Support for this hypothesis includes multiple cases of mothers with Lyme disease and children with autism spectrum disorders; fetal neurological abnormalities associated with tick-borne diseases; similarities between tick-borne diseases and autism spectrum disorder regarding symptoms, pathophysiology, immune reactivity, temporal lobe pathology, and brain imaging data; positive reactivity in several studies with autistic spectrum disorder patients for Borrelia burgdorferi (22%, 26% and 20–30%) and 58% for mycoplasma; similar geographic distribution and improvement in autistic symptoms from antibiotic treatment. It is imperative to research these and all possible causes of autism spectrum disorders in order to prevent every preventable case and treat every treatable case until this disease has been eliminated from humanity.

_c 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Background

An association between Lyme disease (LYD) and other tick-borne infections (TBI) during fetal
0306-9877/$ - see front matter _c 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2007.09.006
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 732 741 3263; fax: +1 732 7415308.
E-mail address: bransfield@comcast.net (R.C. Bransfield).
Medical Hypotheses (2007) xxx, xxx–xxx
http://intl.elsevierhealth.com/journals/mehy
Please cite this article in press as: Bransfield RC et al., The association between tick-borne infections, ..., Med Hypotheses
(2007), doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2007.09.006

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