A report from France shows that infection with a bacteria called chlamydia may cause temporal arteritis, damage to the arteries in the brain associated with severe headaches and blindness.

When a person develops terrible headaches, doctors order a blood test called a sed rate to check for temporal arteritis. If the test is abnormal, or the doctor strongly suspects that a person has temporal arteritis, the doctor must prescribe a cortisone-type medication immediately to prevent blindness, but these drugs cause horrible side effects such as osteoporosis, high blood pressure, obesity and decreased immunity, and the person must stay on these drugs for a long time.

This study shows that this condition may be controlled by taking common antibiotics. If future studies can confirm that temporal arteritis is caused by an infection, antibiotics may help shorten the time that a person with this condition must take cortisone-type drugs. Also see report #G154.

Checked 8/9/05

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