2014 Lyme & Tick-Borne Diseases:
Medical, Neuropsychiatric & Public Health Implications

Providence Downtown Marriott

Providence, RI

May 3-4, 2014

Current/Recent Research Studies

Current Studies In Progress

Research studies are listed below. If you think you may be interested and eligible based on the information below, please call us at 646-774-7503. Please leave your phone number and an email address so we can reach you most quickly. Thank you!


Research Study Title: Newly Diagnosed Lyme Disease - Diagnostic Studies

Principal Investigator: Brian A. Fallon, MD

What are the Goals of this Research? This is a research study, and our long-term goal in this study is tp reduce the number of patients who develop symptoms of chronic Lyme disease (also known as Post-treatment Lyme Syndrome) by identifying better tests and by understanding the immunologic, rheumatologic, and neurologic impact of this illness over time. This can only be done by comparing those patients who recover fully to those who experience ongoing symptoms

How will we do this? To do this, we need to bring patients with new onset Lyme disease into our Columbia Lyme Research Center in New York City as soon as possible after they get diagnosed with Lyme disease. Ideally, this would be within the first month or two after diagnosis. While at the Center, we will collect blood and conduct very careful clinical assessments.

How is this study helpful to the study participants? It is quite valuable to have objective measures of functioning and symptoms at the start of an illness. When the same tests are conducted months later, we can then determine whether the patient’s symptoms have resolved or whether there are residual or new problem areas. Because these assessments are done using well-standardized measures, useful information is gathered that can then guide physicians in deciding upon future treatment directions. We can provide to the study participant the results from some of the key measures of clinical status.

Am I compensated in any way for study participation? Yes, participants have the option of receiving a financial or tick-related gift for study participation.

Who is eligible to participate in this study? Individuals between the ages of 18- 89 who have been recently diagnosed with Lyme disease. Since this is a research study it is extremely important for us to determine eligibility of the participants. For this we will need all potential participants to have good documentation of Lyme disease with positive blood tests and well known clinical features (e.g., Lyme rash, meningitis, facial nerve palsy, arthritis, cardititis or heart block).

How do I learn more about research study participation? Please contact our research coordinator Shreya Doshi at 646-774-7535 or email her at sd2698@tc.columbia.edu

Status: Currently Enrolling

"Meditation and Streching for Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome"

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 are being 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.

We are exploring the efficacy of meditation and yoga in the management of fatigue and pain resulting from PTLDS.  Participants will be asked to attend Kundalini Yoga sessions for 8 weeks which will be led by a licensed physician who is also an instructor and has received extensive training in the art. Kundalini yoga is a centuries old form of yoga that emphasizes the control of breath and contemplation.

Currently, we are recruiting those who have been diagnosed with Lyme disease at least six months ago and have been experiencing pain and fatigue for more than six months despite having been treated with antibiotics. Classes will take place at a yoga studio in the Fairfield, Connecticut area, and are scheduled to begin in the near future. If you have any questions, please contact our research assistant Philip Grebowiec at 646-774-8100 or email Dr. Grebowiec at pg2521@cumc.columbia.edu.

Status: Currently Enrolling


Recent Completed Studies

  • "Lyme Disease Community Blood Screening Study"
    • Principal Investigator: Brian Fallon, MD
    • Goals: To develop a national resource specimen bank for diagnostic test and biomarker development
    • Design: Patients will be screened in Lyme endemic areas and at the Columbia Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center
    • Benefit: Patients will receive a copy of the Lyme C6 ELISA test result
    • Eligibility: Patients age 18-75 with clinical features of Lyme disease at all stages of illness
    • Funding: Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center Gift Funds, Oxford Immunotec Ltd, Time for Lyme, Inc
    • Status:  Summer '09 screening clinics have been completed. 

  • “Proteomic Studies of CSF of patients with neurologic Lyme disease”
    • Principal Investigator: Steven Schuzter, MD, UMDNJ  
    • Goals: to identify novel proteins in CSF of Lyme patients
    • Design: the CSF of patients with chronic neurologic Lyme disease will be compared to the CSF of individuals without a known neurologic disease.  This study involves collaboration with several research groups.
    • Funding: Lyme Disease Association, Inc and Time for Lyme, Inc.
    • Status: study completed
    • How to learn more: read article "Distinct Cerebrospinal Fluid Proteomes Differentiate Post-Treatment Lyme Disease from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome" in PLoS ONE
  • “Brain SPECT Imaging in Chronic Lyme Disease”
    • Principal Investigator:  Brian Fallon, MD
    • Goals: to determine the clinical usefulness of Brain SPECT imaging when performed for clinical differential diagnosis in a patient with a history of Lyme disease.
    • Design: patients with a history of Lyme disease and volunteers without a history of Lyme disease had a brain SPECT.  Scans were read by experts in nuclear medicine blind to diagnosis.
    • Funding: Lyme Disease Association, Inc, and National Research Fund for Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases.
    • Status:  Data collection has been completed. Analysis is ongoing.
    • How to learn more:  study is closed for participation.
  • “Brain Imaging and Treatment of Persistent Lyme Encephalopathy”
    • Principal Investigator:  Brian Fallon, MD
    • Goals: to clarify the structural and metabolic abnormalities in the central nervous system of patients with chronic cognitive deficits and to evaluate the efficacy of 10 weeks of IV antibiotic therapy among these patients all of whom had received prior IV treatment
    • Funding: National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
    • Status: study completed. Additional papers in progress.
    • How to learn more:
    • See Featured Research (provide link)
    • Read the following articles:
    • Fallon BA, Keilp JG, Corbera KM et al: “A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial of  Repeated IV Antibiotic Therapy for Lyme Encephalopathy.”  Neurology (2008; 70 (13); 992-1003)
    • Keilp JG, Corbera KM, Slavov I et al: “WAIS-III and WMS-III performance in chronic Lyme disease J International Neuropsychological Society. 2006;12(1):119-129.
    • Fallon BA, Lipkin RB, Corbera KM et al: “Regional Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolic Rate in Persistent Lyme Encephalopathy. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009;66(5):554-563.

  • Laboratory Testing in Chronic Lyme Disease”
    • Principal Investigator:   Brian Fallon, MD
    • Goals: to determine whether Lyme Specialty Labs were better able to identify patients with CLD from non-Lyme controls and to determine which tests had the best sensitivity/specificity balance
    • Design:  Serum was drawn from the two groups of participants.  Serum from each patient was sent to 4 labs (1 University Based Lyme Lab, 2 Private labs with a Lyme Specialty, and 1 National Commercial Lab).  Samples were tests for ELISA, C6 ELISA, IgM Western blot, IgG Western blot.  When available, both the CDC and the lab’s own internal criteria were used for blot interpretation.
    • Funding:  Time for Lyme, Inc.
    • Status: Study closed for enrollment. Data collection and analyses are completed. Paper is being prepared for publication.

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