Language Fluency Deficits in Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome

Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2023 May 22;38(4):650-654. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acac095.


Objective: Recent neurocognitive studies of patients with post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS) find consistent deficits in memory and processing speed. Language fluency deficits are observed as well but may be secondary to poor memory and slowing rather than an independent deficit.

Method: This study performed a secondary analysis of data presented previously, including individuals with PTLDS and comparison samples of healthy volunteers (HC) and patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), to determine if language fluency deficits could be accounted for by poor performance in these other neurocognitive domains.

Results: Basic verbal abilities, memory, and processing speed were all significantly associated with fluency performance. MDD patients' fluency deficits relative to HC were accounted for by these covariates. However, PTLDS patients' poorer fluency performance relative to both other groups was not.

Conclusions: Language fluency appears to be an independent area of neurocognitive deficit within the constellation of PTLDS symptoms.

Keywords: Fluency (verbal/nonverbal); Infectious diseases non-HIV.

MeSH terms

  • Cognition Disorders* / complications
  • Depressive Disorder, Major* / complications
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Post-Lyme Disease Syndrome* / complications