Borrelia burgdorferi as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s dementia and mild cognitive impairment

  • Alejandro Herrera-Landero
  • Luis Enrique Amaya-Sánchez
  • Carlos d´Hyver de las-Deses
  • Fortino Solórzano-Santos
  • María Guadalupe Gordillo-PérezEmail author
Research Paper



To determine the association of Borrelia burgdorferi infection with Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in older adults.


Case–control study. Patients older than 60 years, both sexes, were included. Three groups were created: with probable Alzheimer’s disease cases with NINCDS–ADRDA criteria, MCI cases in those not meeting NINCDS–ADRDA criteria for dementia, but who had an abnormal cognitive evaluation and independence in instrumental activities of daily living (IADL), cognitively healthy controls were diagnosed with normal cognitive evaluation and independence in IADL were identified in the community. Western blot IgG against B. burgdorferi in serum was done in all the participants. Non-conditional logistic regression was applied to estimate the association of Alzheimer’s disease or MCI and seropositive to B. burgdorferi.


Thirty-eight patients with Alzheimer’s disease, mean age of 75.6 ± 3.4 years, 69% were females, education 8.3 ± 4.8 years. 39 patients with MCI, mean age of 72.2 ± 6.8 years, 85% were females, education 11.2 ± 4.2 years. A total of 11/38 (29%) were positive to B. burgdorferi with Alzheimer’s disease, 9/39 (23%) with MCI, and 11/108 (10%) of controls. In patients with Alzheimer’s disease, an adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 3.65 (95% CI 1.2–11.1) adjusted for education and a history of cerebrovascular disease (CVD) was estimated, and in patients with MCI an aOR = 3.2 (95% CI 1.1–9.1) for a history of diabetes mellitus and CVD was estimated.


In our study, there was an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and MCI in seropositive IgG patients to B. burgdorferi.

Key Summary Points


Establish if Borrelia burgdorferi infection is associated with Alzheimer's disease and/or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in older adults.


In patients with Borrelia burgdorferi infection and Alzheimer's disease, an adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR) = 3.65 (95% CI = 1.2−11.1) was estimated, which was similar to that of patients with Borrelia burgdorferi infection and MCI with an AOR = 3.2 (95% CI = 1.1−9.1).


In our study, there was an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease and MCI in seropositive IgG patients to B. burgdorferi.


Aged Alzheimer disease Borrelia burgdorferi Lyme disease Mild cognitive impairment 



We express our gratitude and acknowledge the important contributions of the participants and staff of the National Institute of Adult Older Persons Cultural Centers.


This work was supported by the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (FIS/IMSS Prot MD17/1688) and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico (Support Program for Graduate Studies 2017). The funder did not influence the design, methods, subject recruitment, data collections, analysis or preparation of the paper.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no financial or any other kind of personal conflicts with this paper.

Ethical approval

The National Committee of Scientific Research approved the study (R-2016-785-074). All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Written informed consent was obtained from all participants included in the study. Written informed consent was approved by the National Committee of Scientific Research.


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Copyright information

© European Geriatric Medicine Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de GeriatríaUMAE Hospital de Traumatología y Ortopedia “Lomas Verdes”, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro SocialNaucalpanMexico
  2. 2.Departamento de NeurologíaHospital de Especialidades, UMAE, Centro Médico Nacional Siglo XXI, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro SocialMexico CityMexico
  3. 3.Facultad de MedicinaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMexico CityMexico
  4. 4.Unidad de Investigación de Medicina Basada en EvidenciaHospital Infantil de México, Secretaria de SaludMexico CityMexico
  5. 5.Unidad de Investigación Médica en Enfermedades Infecciosas y ParasitariasHospital de Pediatría, UMAE, Centro Médico Nacional Siglo XXI, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro SocialMexico CityMexico

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