Remember, when the original ELISA(EIA) test for Lyme was developed, many "normal" controls tested positive. Lyme couldn't be that prevalent--at least that is what the early investigators thought. This is why the bar was set high, hence, the confirmatory Western Blot.
It unknown how many people in an endemic area are infected with Lyme. Is it 10%? Is it 90%. We have no idea. For the sake of argument, let us say the number is 50%. We then have no clue what percent are "symptomatic". Furthermore, we do not have a clear definition of what "normal" is. There are natural physiological changes which occur with aging. I am 54 years old. If I play tennis, my brain may tell my body to do the same things it did when I was 20---not going to happen.
Asking patients to answer specific questions in inherently problematic. When a patient comes in with a long list of clear symptoms it is one thing. When positives are elicited only when a patient is queried, it may mean something entirely different. If a patient thinks long enough about any question, a positive response may be forthcoming. A lot has to do with the individual's personality.
As physicians know, testing becomes meaningful when the "pretest" clinical sense, points in that direction. Testing for Lyme is unreliable. A basic rule of thumb for me is: treat the patient, not the lab. Most patients don't want to shell out the money for a speciality Lyme WB. "Just send the test to Labcorp." And, if an Igenex is done-- the results borderline positive, what does this mean? Only a physician's clinical judgment can decide if a patient's symptoms are likely the consequences of chronic Lyme disease.
Most major scientific breakthroughs have been made by young people, under age 30. Mathematical abilities decline with age, although verbal abilities do not, and in fact may improve.
So what is there to do when a patient appears "normal" by the physician's best judgement? Again, there is no definition of normal. When queried, most over 50 year olds have some aches and pains with exercises, but recover quickly. Perhaps there are some mild cognitive changes(?normal). Nonetheless, the "patient" feels normal. He has no fatigue or functional incapacity. Testing is not done simply because other family members have chronic Lyme disease.
If I treat what am I treating? What is the goal? What is the endpoint?
This is why I recommended watchful waiting. Otherwise, if one looks hard enough--turns over every rock: everyone has Lyme disease. Patients who suffer with Lyme disease see this case through a different lens--the lens of their illness. It is just not that simple.