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WAIS-III and WMS-III performance in chronic Lyme disease

  • JOHN G. KEILP (a1) (a2), KATHY CORBERA (a1) (a3), IORDAN SLAVOV (a1) (a3), MICHAEL J. TAYLOR (a4), HAROLD A. SACKEIM (a1) (a5) and BRIAN A. FALLON (a1) (a3)...


There is controversy regarding the nature and degree of intellectual and memory deficits in chronic Lyme disease. In this study, 81 participants with rigorously diagnosed chronic Lyme disease were administered the newest revisions of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-III) and Wechsler Memory Scale (WMS-III), and compared to 39 nonpatients. On the WAIS-III, Lyme disease participants had poorer Full Scale and Performance IQ's. At the subtest level, differences were restricted to Information and the Processing Speed subtests. On the WMS-III, Lyme disease participants performed more poorly on Auditory Immediate, Immediate, Auditory Delayed, Auditory Recognition Delayed, and General Memory indices. Among WMS-III subtests, however, differences were restricted to Logical Memory (immediate and delayed) and Family Pictures (delayed only), a Visual Memory subtest. Discriminant analyses suggest deficits in chronic Lyme are best characterized as a combination of memory difficulty and diminished processing speed. Deficits were modest, between one-third and two-thirds of a standard deviation, consistent with earlier studies. Depression severity had a weak relationship to processing speed, but little other association to test performance. Deficits in chronic Lyme disease are consistent with a subtle neuropathological process affecting multiple performance tasks, although further work is needed to definitively rule out nonspecific illness effects. (JINS, 2006, 12, 119–129.)


Corresponding author

Reprint requests to: John Keilp, Ph.D., Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Department of Psychiatry, Box 42, NYSPI, 1051 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10032. E-mail:


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