The Lyme-Autism Connection Paperback Book

Tami Duncan, co-founder of the Lyme-Induced Autism (LIA) Foundation and Bryan Rosner have just finished co-writing a book entitled The Lyme-Autism Connection: Unveiling the Shocking Link Between Lyme Disease and Childhood Developmental Disorders. The book was published in June, 2008 and is now available.

AN INVESTIGATIVE REPORT — The Lyme-Autism Connection, a book written in collaboration with the Lyme-Induced Autism (LIA) Foundation, provides critical new research on the emerging science supporting a link between Lyme disease and childhood developmental disorders. 

Awareness of the Lyme-autism connection is spreading rapidly, among both parents and practitioners. Medical Hypothesis, a scientific, peer-reviewed journal published by Elsevier, recently released an influential study entitled "The Association Between Tick-Borne Infections, Lyme Borreliosis and Autism Spectrum Disorders." Here is an excerpt from the study:


hronic infectious diseases, including tick-borne infections such as Borrelia burgdorferi, may have direct effects, promote other infections, and create a weakened, sensitized and immunologically vulnerable state during fetal development and infancy, leading to increased vulnerability for developing autism spectrum disorders. 

An association between Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections and autistic symptoms has been noted by numerous clinicians and parents."

Medical Hypothesis Journal.
Article Authors: Robert C. Bransfield, M.D., Jeffrey S. Wulfman, M.D., William T. Harvey, M.D., Anju I. Usman, M.D.
Read the full article (PDF)


From the Book's Introduction: The Twin Epidemics

Over the last decade, two disease epidemics have gone from mild ripples in the water to roaring, ravenous, all-consuming tidal waves, destroying thousands of lives and tearing apart countless families. 

These two diseases are Lyme disease and autism. Until recently, these afflictions were believed to be unrelated. Actually, that is an understatement. They were believed to have absolutely nothing in common, occupying distinct and opposite positions in the medical field. Whereas bronchitis and Strep throat have some relationship in that they are both infections, Lyme disease and autism were thought to have nothing in common at all—one is a tick-borne infection which healthy people contract while camping, and the other is a prenatal brain development disorder. Recently, however, science has found similarities between Lyme disease and autism that cannot be ignored. When one looks beneath the surface of these seemingly diverse disorders, the underlying discoveries are shocking. 

“When a pregnant woman is infected with Lyme disease, not only is she subject to its devastation, but her baby is too.”

—John Drulle, M.D.
Urgent care and private practice physician


“Accumulation of experimental evidence also points to potential for peri-, pre- and postnatal infections as causes for several neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia, autism, cerebral palsy and mental retardation.”

—Excerpt from the book “Neuropsychiatric Disorders and Infection,” edited by Hossein Fatemi, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Minnesota Medical Center


“An association between Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections during fetal development and in infancy with autism, autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and autistic symptoms has been noted by numerous clinicians and parents.”

—Medical Hypothesis journal article written by Robert C. Bransfield, M.D., Jeffrey S. Wulfman, M.D., William T. Harvey, M.D., Anju Usman, M.D.


“An observant parent’s evidence may be disproved but should never be ignored.”

—Lancet, 1951


“Lyme produces a micro-edema, or swelling in the brain. This affects your ability to process information. It’s like finding out that there’s LSD in the punch, and you’re not sure what’s going to happen next or if you’re going to be in control of your own thoughts.”

—Bernard Raxlen, MD, ILADS 
International Lyme & Associated Diseases Society


“Great diversity of clinical expression of signs and symptoms of gestational Lyme borreliosis parallels the diversity of prenatal syphilis. It is documented that transplacental transmission of the spirochete from mother to fetus is possible…Autopsy and clinical studies have associated gestational Lyme borreliosis with various medical problems including fetal death, hydrocephalus, cardiovascular anomalies, neonatal respiratory distress, hyperbilirubinemia, intrauterine growth retardation, cortical blindness, sudden infant death syndrome, and maternal toxemia of pregnancy.”

—AB MacDonald, Souhampton Hospital, New York, abstract taken from a 1989 study.


“Relapsing-fever borreliosis caused by Borrelia duttonii [a strain of Lyme bacteria] is a common cause of complications of pregnancy, miscarriage, and neonatal death in sub-Saharan Africa…B. duttonii infection during pregnancy results in intrauterine growth retardation, as well as placental damage and inflammation, impaired fetal circulation, and decreased maternal hemoglobin levels…spirochetes frequently cross the maternal-fetal barrier, resulting in congenital infection.”

— Department of Molecular Biology
Umea University, Sweden

     Table of Contents - 287 Pages

     Information for the Reader, 10
     Foreword by Robert Bransfield, M.D., 12
     The LIA Foundation, 13
     Introduction to this book, 14


PREFACE     Getting Personal with Bryan and Tami

     Bryan’s Preface: The Lyme-Autism Connection Close To Home, 19
     Tami’s Preface: Research and Questions Bring New Hope, 24


CHAPTER 1    Introduction

     The Twin Epidemics, 33
     An Uphill Battle, 37
     The Many Faces of Autism, 41
     But Isn't Lyme Disease a Simple Bacteria?, 48
     ILADS List: Basic Information About Lyme Disease, 48
     Infection Stew, 52
     On The Front Lines, 56


CHAPTER 2    Building the Foundation

     Congenital Transfer,  59
          Pregnancy and Lyme Disease, By John Drulle, M.D., 62
          Recent Studies, 69

     Family Disease Trends, 74
     Interpreting the Data and Moving Past the Genetics Paradigm, 78
     Refuting the Inventible Guilt, 80


CHAPTER 3    Immunity and Infections

     Building the Case,  83
     Autism and Infections,  88
     A Few Key Example Infections, 91


CHAPTER 4   Making the Connection

     The Antibiotic Clue, 97
     The Primary Lyme-Autism Study, 102
     Open Studies, 111


CHAPTER 5    Connecting the Dots: Common Symptomology

     Symptoms vs. Syndromes, 116
     Blurred Lines Between Disease Labels, 117
     Lyme Disease: The Great Imitator, 119
     Autism: The Next Great Imitator?, 121
     Autoimmunity, 126
     Where the Rubber Meets the Road, 129


CHAPTER 6    Connecting the Dots: Geographic Distribution

     The Correlation Coefficient, 135
     Chronological Correlation, 140
     Geographical Correlation, 145


CHAPTER 7    Getting Help

     Finding a physician, 154
          Finding a Lyme-Literate Medical Doctor (LLMD), 158
          Finding an Autism-Literate Medical Doctor, 159

     Using Internet Discussion Groups to Locate a Physician, 159
     Brief Tips for Formulating a Treatment Plan, 160
     Treatment Resources, 161
          Websites, 162
          Books, 164

     Closing Argument, 165



     Appendix A: Testing for Lyme Disease and Co-infections, 169
     Appendix B: Introduction to Lyme Disease, 179
     Appendix C: Testing for and Treating Heavy Metal Poisoning, 189
     Appendix D: The Think Tank Overview, 199
     Appendix E: Personal Stories of Mothers and Families, 224
     INDEX (allow preview a few minutes to load)

An Investigative Report

Written by health care journalist Bryan Rosner and LIA Foundation co-founder Tami Duncan, this book set out to investigate the explosive increase in both Lyme disease and autism cases. The book is based on objective scientific data as well as the vast wisdom and experience of physicians, researchers and parents. The book was written to explore the simple question, Is there a significant connection between the exploding rates of Lyme disease and autism, and if so, what are the mechanics of that connection? Although the Lyme-autism connection is an area of research that is brand new and continually developing, there is an ever-increasing amount of information and science to support the connection hypothesis. The following are some of the discoveries which were made by the authors and presented in the book:

  • Studies spanning the last 30 years have shown that Borrelia burgdorferi (the causative bacteria in Lyme disease) can be transmitted from mother to baby during pregnancy, resulting in early childhood infection. John Drulle, M.D., conducted pioneering research in this area in the 1990's—his work is included in the book.  

    What are Physicians Saying about the Lyme-Autism Connection?

    Dr. Charles Ray Jones speaks at the 2008 Lyme-Induced Autism Foundation Conference in New Jersey

    Dr. Warren Levin describes an experience with an autistic boy who was also diagnosed with Lyme disease

    Watch the full presentations...

  • Autism causes many of the same immune system irregularities that are also present in Lyme disease.

  • Numerous infections appear to be involved in autism, not just Borrelia burgdorferi. Borrelia appears to be one of the more important infections due to its skyrocketing prevalence and epidemic proportions.

  • The Lyme-autism connection has been substantiated by clinical experience, both in the physician’s office and at home among numerous observant mothers and fathers.

  • The symptoms of Lyme disease overlap with the symptoms of autism, and in fact, the two diseases share in common many of the same “mimicking diagnoses,” especially mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, and attention deficit disorder (ADD). Both Lyme disease and autism are characterized by clustering of these diseases within family histories.

  • The Lyme-autism connection is being studied with increasing frequency, by researchers with an ever-growing list of qualifications and credentials. See video previews to your right.

  • The Lyme-autism connection is comprised of not one or two elements, but instead, numerous puzzle pieces which support one another to create and substantiate the connection hypothesis.

  • If you intend to take action and apply Lyme disease treatment to your child, please do so only under the supervision of a licensed physician. The book provides guidelines for finding a helpful physician.

  • This field is evolving rapidly. To stay up to date, keep connected with the LIA Foundation, 

Parents themselves are on the front lines of this emerging area of research. In the words of one parent with three autistic children:

"Childhood autism has become so prevalent that there are very few who do not know of a family with an autistic child. Families with two autistic children are not uncommon, and I personally have seen a family in which all three of the family’s children were autistic (very much like mine). 

The latest statistics estimate that over one half million American children are autistic, and with numbers steadily growing, there is no end in sight. 

It can be expected that treatments will improve the outlook of these children, but many or most of them will require custodial care for life, at an average cost to society as much as three million dollars per child. Something must be stirring this explosive epidemic on, and one of the factors which has been greatly overlooked is the Lyme-autism connection."

—Kathy Blanco
Mother of 3 autistic children,
Contributing Writer, and one of the
first researchers to discover the Lyme-Autism connection

Are Genetics or Infections to Blame for the Autism Epidemic?

Bryan and Tami asked the following questions: Why would cases of autism skyrocket over the past couple of decades? If autism is a genetic disorder, as it has been previously believed, how could such a rapid increase occur? Genetic disorders rarely involve such non-linear, exponential explosions in occurrence. Genes just don’t change that fast. Infectious epidemics, on the other hand, such as Lyme disease, can and do cause exponential increases in disease cases. Also, why do the cases of autism continue to skyrocket even after mercury has been taken out of vaccines, and even in children who were never vaccinated?

Statistics show a strong correlation (as defined mathematically with correlation coefficient) between the rising incidence of autism and the rising incidence of Lyme disease from 1992 to 2006. There is also a significant correlation (as defined mathematically with correlation coefficient) between the geographic distribution of autism and Lyme disease cases (See Figure 1 below). This data alone is enough to raise eyebrows. 

(view enlarged figure)
This figure compares cases of Lyme disease with cases of autism in the United States during the 2006-2007 school year. Cases
of Lyme disease are indicated by black bars and cases of autism are indicated by gray bars. Observe how the states with
the highest incidence of autism are the same states with the highest incidence of Lyme disease. This unmistakable and shocking "clumping"
of disease cases in the same states was one of the major findings of the Lyme-autism study.

                                                            Sources:        Thoughtful House Center for Children / Fighting Autism Foundation (autism statistics)
                                                                                     United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (Lyme disease statistics)

Of course, mere statistical correlation (as seen above in Figure 1) between the incidence and distribution of Lyme disease and autism is not enough to use as a foundation for causation. If you recall your college statistics class, correlation does not necessarily imply causation.

However, when the strong, but not necessarily conclusive, correlations between autism data and Lyme disease data are combined with other factors such as symptomology, epidemiology, family history, and other factors we explore in this book, a very strong argument can be built for the case that similarities between Lyme disease and autism move beyond the realm of correlation into the territory of causation. 

For these reasons, the Lyme-autism connection is gaining momentum and public awareness rapidly. Well respected researchers, physicians, and organizations are beginning to take a second look at what might be the biggest infectious disease discovery of the century.

We invite you to explore the shocking data with us.
Awaiting your discovery is the Lyme-Autism Connection.


Written, produced, and sold
in collaboration with 
The LIA Foundation

Now Available! Published July 1, 2008
By Bryan Rosner
With Tami Duncan
Foreword by Robert Bransfield, M.D.
Paperback Book, 287 Pages, $25.95

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Related Resources:

The Top 10 Lyme Disease Treatments    2008 Lyme Disease Annual Report     Lyme-Autism Essay