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Autoimmune Neurology—Recent Advances in Disease Identification and Treatment

Encephalitis | Neurology

It is an autoimmune disease, where the body creates antibodies against the NMDA receptors in the brain. These antibodies disrupt normal brain signaling and cause brain swelling, or encephalitis.


  • Autoimmune Neurology—Recent Advances in Disease Identification and Treatment.
  • Original Research ARTICLE;
  • Encephalitis: Types, symptoms, causes, and treatment.

It can affect both men and women, however is more common among women. It primarily affects the young, including children and young adults. Some patients also have a tumor associated with this disease; the most common type is an ovarian teratoma in women. The name of this disease describes an immune attack on the NMDA receptors and can be explained as follows:. Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis causes a wide range of symptoms varying in severity.

Patients typically start with less severe symptoms, and then rapidly progress to a condition requiring hospitalization. The list below includes the most common symptoms. Most patients with this disease exhibit nearly all of these symptoms; it is extremely uncommon for patients to have only one or two. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:.

The symptoms of encephalitis may resemble other problems or medical conditions. The diagnosis of encephalitis is made after the sudden or gradual onset of specific symptoms and after diagnostic testing.


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Diagnostic tests that may be performed to confirm the diagnosis of encephalitis may include the following:. Magnetic resonance imaging MRI. A diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs.

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CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays. Sputum culture. A diagnostic test performed on the material that is coughed up from the lungs and into the mouth.

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A sputum culture is often performed to determine if an infection is present. Electroencephalogram EEG. A procedure that records the brain's continuous, electrical activity by means of electrodes attached to the scalp. Spinal tap also called a lumbar puncture. A special needle is placed into the lower back, into the spinal canal. This is the area around the spinal cord. The pressure in the spinal canal and brain can then be measured.

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A small amount of cerebral spinal fluid CSF can be removed and sent for testing to determine if there is an infection or other problems. CSF is the fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord. Brain biopsy. A procedure performed to remove tissue or cells from the body for examination under a microscope; in rare cases, a biopsy of affected brain tissue may be removed for diagnosis.

Intracranial pressure monitoring ICP.

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Measures the pressure inside the child's skull. If there is a severe brain injury, head surgery, brain infection, or other problems, the brain may swell. Since the brain is covered by the skull, there is only a small amount of room for it to swell. This means that, as the brain swells, the pressure inside the skull goes up. If the pressure gets significantly higher than normal, it can cause damage to the brain.