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The newly launched Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center — the first of its kind in the United States — will study the causes and cures of post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, a debilitating condition that afflicts about 20 percent of the 300,000 people who contract Lyme disease each year. While most people respond to antibiotics, these patients experience extreme fatigue, arthritis-like joint pain, musculoskeletal pain, as well as neurological, cardiac, and cognitive symptoms.

“The syndrome is not fatal, but it is life-altering,” said John Aucott, MD, the center’s founder and director, in a press release.

Aucott has received a grant to examine the impact of the tick-borne illness on the immune systems and long-term health of patients. In this initial controlled study, researchers will seek to understand why post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome persists for months or years in some patients but not in others.

For more on Lyme disease and integrative approaches to treating it, see “Beating Lyme Disease.”

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