Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Does Meditation Cure Lyme's Disease?

This is now a blog about Lyme disease.

Dr. Brian Fallon is the director of the Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center, director of the Center for Neuroinflammatory Disorders and Biobehavioral Medicine, and professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.  Dr. Charles Alexander is an assistant professor of psychiatry in the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University.  He is also co-founder of the Aquarian Path Holistic Health Center in Southport, Connecticut and a certified teacher of Kundalini Yoga.

According to an article in the Wilton (Connecticut) Bulletin (Connecticut is "ground zero" for Lyme's disease), the two doctors have developed a pilot study to see if Lyme patients following a daily course of meditation for eight to 12 weeks show any improvement.  Their studies have shown that meditation may reduce inflammation and that immune response may be improved by meditation.

The CDC estimates that 10-20% of patients with Lyme disease will go on to have chronic symptoms despite having had appropriate treatment, a condition known as “Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome” (PTLDS). While there is currently no known cure, various therapies have been investigated. One promising approach is the practice of meditation and yoga which have been shown to help pain and fatigue associated with other chronic illnesses as well as to improve overall physical, mental, and emotional health.

According to Dr. Alexander, the effect of meditation as a complementary treatment in chronic Lyme or post-treatment Lyme disease is primarily within the brain.  There are 100 billion cells in the brain, each making 10,000 connections to other nerve cells. The brain changes with age and although the brain cannot build new neurons, meditation has been shown to increase synapses within the brain. Meditation can also slow down the loss of neurons with age.

Dr. Alexander claims that meditation can also increase cortical thickness, a measure of the layers of the cerebral cortex. It roughly relates to the number of neurons.

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