I was watching one of my favorite TV shows, “Chicago Med” and they had a little boy come in and his parents told the doctors that he was diagnosed with PANDAS. That is on my list of autoimmune disorders, so I thought I would write a post about this.
PANDAS – Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections. That is a mouthful.
PANS – Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndromes
What is Neuropsychiatry? It is a branch of medicine that deals with mental disorders attributable to diseases of the nervous system.
PANDAS occurs when strep triggers a misdirected immune response results in inflammation on a child’s brain. In turn, the child quickly begins to exhibit life changing symptoms such as:
- personality changes
- decline in math and handwriting abilities
- sensory sensitivities
- restrictive eating, and more.
When strep cannot be linked to the onset of symptoms, the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) states one should look into the possibility of PANS.
Who is Affected?
PANDAS Network estimates that PANDAS/PANS affects as many as 1 in 200 children.
Symptoms of PANDAS/PANS
- Presence of significant obsession, compulsions and/or tics
- Abrupt onset of symptoms or a relapsing-remitting course of symptom severity
- Prepubertal onset – relating to or in the period preceding puberty.
- Association with streptococcal infection
- Association with other neuropsychiatric symptoms (includes any of the PANS “accompanying” symptoms)
Symptoms of PANS
Abrupt, dramatic onset of OCD or severely restricted food intake; symptoms are not better explained by a known neurologic or medical disorder; and the addition of at least 2 of the “accompanying” symptoms:
- Emotional lability (In medicine and psychology, emotional lability is a sign or symptom typified by exaggerated changes in mood or affect in quick succession. Sometimes the emotions expressed outwardly are very different from how the person feels on the inside.) and/or depression
- Irritability, aggression and/or severely oppositional behaviors
- Behavioral (developmental) regression
- Deterioration in school performance
- Sensory or motor abnormalities
- Somatic signs including sleep disturbances, enuresis or urinary frequency
The onset of PANS may start with infection agents other than strep. It also includes onset from environmental triggers or immune dysfunction.
PANDAS and PANS children can recover! What is important to remember is every child is different and there are numerous factors that affect the outcome.
Click here, to read more about this autoimmune disorder.
The PANDAS Network is available to learn more and to find support for this autoimmune disorder.