Don’t fight Autoimmune encephalitis alone.Find your community on the free RareGuru App.
Autoimmune encephalitis refers to a group of conditions that occur when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy brain cells, leading to inflammation of the brain. People with autoimmune encephalitis may have various neurologic and/or psychiatric symptoms. Neurologic symptoms may include impaired memory and cognition, abnormal movements, seizures, and/or problems with balance, speech, or vision. Psychiatric symptoms may include psychosis, aggression, inappropriate sexual behaviors, panic attacks, compulsive behaviors, euphoria or fear. Symptoms may fluctuate, but often progress over days to a few weeks. Symptoms can progress to loss of consciousness or even coma.
Autoimmune encephalitis may be associated with antibodies to proteins on the surface of nerve cells, or within nerve cells. Some of these proteins are involved in passing signals between nerve cells. In some cases it occurs in association with cancer (a paraneoplastic syndrome). Research regarding why specific antibodies attack the body's healthy cells is ongoing. Autoimmune encephalitis generally occurs sporadically, in people with no family history of the condition.
Treatment may involve intravenous immunosuppressive therapy, and tumor removal when necessary. Early treatment decreases the likelihood for long-term complications, speeds recovery, and reduces the risk of recurrence (relapse). If not treated, the condition can lead to progressive neurologic deterioration and loss of life.
Source: GARD Last updated on 05-01-20
Diagnosis of autoimmune encephalitis can be made when all three of the following criteria have been met:
1. Subacute onset (rapid progression of less than 3 months) of working memory deficits (short-term memory loss), altered mental status, or psychiatric symptoms
2. At least one of the following:
• New focal CNS findings
• Seizures not explained by a previously known seizure disorder
• CSF pleocytosis (white blood cell count of more than five cells per mm3)
• MRI features suggestive of encephalitis
3. Reasonable exclusion of alternative causes
A team of leading autoimmune encephalitis researchers have established diagnostic criteria for these conditions. View the full position paper, entitled A Clinical Approach to Diagnosis of Autoimmune Encephalitis.
For more on diagnosis, visit the following link to the International
Autoimmune Encephalitis Society Web site:
Last updated on 05-01-20
The International Autoimmune Encephalitis Society lists up-to-date research articles, videos, podcasts, and slide shows with detailed information on autoimmune encephalitis.
Last updated on 04-27-20
The Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance has a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) about autoimmune encephalitis.
Last updated on 04-27-20
Do you have information about a disease, disorder, or syndrome? Want to suggest a symptom?
Please send suggestions to RareGuru!