Alasdair Crockett: Great Britain Lyme Suicide

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Alasdair Crockett: Great Britain Lyme Suicide

Post by CaliforniaLyme » Wed 31 Oct 2007 17:08 ... ml?in_arti...

Professor commits suicide after catching dementia from tick bite 18th September 2006

One of the country's top experts on modern life may have killed himself
after catching a rare brain disease from a tiny insect bite.

University professor Alasdair Crockett was found dead in woods near his
home on Saturday 48 hours after he was reported missing.

His distraught widow has told police the the leading academic was
suffering from anxiety after he was bitten by a wood tick that carries
the potentially-deadly Lyme Disease.

The illness can usually be treated and cleared up with anti-biotics but
in extremely rare cases if it is not caught and treated early it
attacks the nervous system leading to dementia.

The land, air and sea search for Dr Crockett, 38, was called off when
police officers combing countryside around the family's home in
Brightlingsea, Essex found a body in creekside woods a mile away.

A former research fellow at Nuffield College Dr Crockett took up a
senior part-time post last year with a prestigious think tank that
monitors life in modern Britain.

As one of the chief officers with the Institute for Social and Economic
Research Dr Crockett and his colleagues based at Essex University
collect data on people's changing lives.

Their findings are considered so important they are often used in
determining government policy.

Cambridge-educated Dr Crockett, who held a Masters Philosophy degree,
specialised in the sociology of religion and 19th century economic

But his life changed as he was forced to come to terms with the more
serious long-term effects of Lyme Disease, an illness initially caused
by an insect bite and often picked up by walkers and ramblers.

If treatment is not given early enough the disease can lead to severe
mental illness such as schizophrenia.

A spokesman for Essex police said that Dr Crockett had been exhibiting
symptoms of extreme anxiety which is among the effects of the disease
in its advanced stages.

On Saturday after a widespread search involving a police helicopter,
divers and searchers on the ground, Dr Crockett's body matching his
description was found in Thicks Wood a 15-minute walk from near the
family's home in the popular yachting village.

The hunt for the missing professor had involved a sweep of countryside
around the town and divers were preparing to explore rivers and
sandpits in the area.

A description of Dr Crockett - 6ft tall, slim with collar-length dark
hair and wearing rectangular glasses - was also circulated to ports and

But police said when he vanished he had taken nothing with him, such as
his wallet, and was wearing only a T-shirt, trousers and shoes.

Mrs Crockett and the couple's two young children are currently being
comforted by family and friends.

A family liaison officer said: "Understandably Mrs Crockett is
devastated by the news and totally distraught, as are his family and
close friends.

"She has asked that people respect her privacy as she comes to terms
with the death of her husband."

An inquest will be held but a police spokesman said yesterday that foul
play was not suspected and they were not looking for anyone else in
connection with Dr Crockett's death.

Lyme Disease is caused by a single bite of a spider-like wood tick
found in forests and on moorland all over the country, often where
there are deer.

The initial symptoms of a rash, drowsiness and muscle pains can
normally be treated successfully with anti-biotics.

But in extremely rare cases it can develop and become a chronic illness
which slowly destroys the nervous system. It leads to loss of hearing,
numbness and can eventually cause serious mental health problems such
as schizophrenia

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