Cognitive function, fatigue and Fazekas score in patients with acute neuroborreliosis

Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2021 May;12(3):101678. doi: 10.1016/j.ttbdis.2021.101678. Epub 2021 Jan 25.


Long-term cognitive problems and fatigue after adequately treated neuroborreliosis has caused uncertainty and debate among patients and health care workers for years. Despite several studies, the prevalence, cause and severity of such complaints are still not clarified. More knowledge about cognitive function, fatigue and MRI findings in the acute phase of neuroborreliosis could possibly contribute to clarification. In the current study, we therefore aimed to address this. Patients with well-characterized acute neuroborreliosis (n = 72) and a matched control group (n = 68) were screened with eight subtests from three different neuropsychological test batteries assessing attention, working memory and processing speed, and with Fatigue Severity Scale. Fazekas score was used to grade white matter hyperintensities on MRI. We found no differences in mean scores on the neuropsychological tests between the groups. The patient group reported significantly higher level of fatigue (Fatigue Severity Scale: 4.8 vs. 2.9, p < .001). There was no significant difference in Fazekas score between the groups. Neuroborreliosis does not seem to affect cognitive functions in the acute state of the disease, while fatigue is common.

Keywords: Acute neuroborreliosis; Cognitive function; Fatigue; Fazekas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cognition*
  • Fatigue / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lyme Neuroborreliosis / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sweden
  • White Matter / pathology*
  • Young Adult