A Variable in Persistent Lyme Disease: Biological Sex
International Journal of General Medicine (Johnson, L; et al.) published 6.17.23 “Does Biological Sex Matter in Lyme Disease? The Need for Sex-Disaggregated Data in Persistent Illness.” In this study researchers examined the outcome differences between men and women with Lyme disease. Investigators analyzed self-reported clinical data from 2170 patients in the MyLymeData patient registry, as well as review of other Lyme disease studies.
MyLymeData (Lymedisease.org patient registry database) results showed that women reported “more tick-borne coinfections, worse symptoms, longer diagnostic delays, more misdiagnoses, and worse functional impairment” than men in the database. They found no differences in antibiotic treatment response and side effects between men and women. The clinical research trials and data sources that were additionally reviewed, identified women as a smaller percentage of cohorts in studies of acute Lyme disease and a larger percentage of cohorts in studies of persistent illness. Data regarding patients seen in clinical practice also had a higher percentage of women than found in randomized controlled trials and post-treatment Lyme disease studies.
Authors conclude that biological sex should be considered a distinct variable and integrated into future Lyme disease research in order to identify sex-based differences between men and women with persistent Lyme illness.