Quality of life, fatigue, depression and cognitive impairment in Lyme neuroborreliosis

J Neurol. 2015 Nov;262(11):2572-7. doi: 10.1007/s00415-015-7891-4. Epub 2015 Sep 26.


The prognosis and impact of residual symptoms on quality of life in patients with Lyme neuroborreliosis (LNB) is subject to debate. The aim of this study was to assess quality of life, fatigue, depression, cognitive impairment and verbal learning in patients with definite LNB and healthy controls in a case-control study. We retrospectively identified all patients diagnosed with definite LNB between 2003 and 2014 in our tertiary care center. Healthy controls were recruited from the same area. Patients and healthy controls were assessed for quality of life [Short Form (36) with subscores for physical and mental components (PCS, MCS)], fatigue (fatigue severity scale), depression (Beck depression inventory), verbal memory and learning and cognitive impairment (mini-mental state examination). 53 patients with definite LNB could be identified, of which 30 partook in the follow-up assessment. Estimates for quality of life, fatigue, depression, verbal memory and cognitive impairment did not differ statistically significantly between 30 patients with LNB and 35 healthy controls. Patients with residual symptoms had lower scores for quality of life (PCS) compared to patients without residual symptoms. Our results do not support the hypothesis that a considerable proportion of patients with antibiotically treated LNB develop a 'post Lyme syndrome' consisting of debilitating fatigue or cognitive impairment or have severe limitations of quality of life. However, some patients experience residual symptoms of LNB.

Keywords: Case–control study; Cognitive impairment; Depression; Fatigue; Follow-up; Lyme neuroborreliosis; Quality of life; Verbal memory.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Fatigue / etiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lyme Neuroborreliosis / complications*
  • Lyme Neuroborreliosis / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life*
  • Verbal Learning / physiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents