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Isolated psychiatric episodes rare, but possible, in common form of autoimmune encephalitis
Date:7/26/2013

is and are in remission, any behavior change may present a relapse and should be tested quickly and treated aggressively."

Anti-NMDAR Encephalitis is one of the most common forms of autoimmune encephalitis, and symptoms can include psychiatric symptoms, memory issues, speech disorders, seizures, involuntary movements, and loss of consciousness. In an earlier Penn Medicine study, 38 percent of all patients (and 46 percent of females with the condition) were found to have a tumor, most commonly it was an ovarian tumor. When correctly diagnosed and treated early, Anti-NMDAR Encephalitis can be effectively treated.

"For patients with new psychotic symptoms that are evaluated in centers where an MRI, EEG or spinal fluid test may not have been administered, there is a chance that Anti-NMDAR Encephalitis may be missed," said lead author Matthew Kayser, MD, PhD, postdoctoral fellow and attending physician in Psychiatry at Penn. "However, the likelihood of pure or isolated new-onset psychosis to be anti-NMDAR encephalitis gradually decreases if no other symptoms emerge during the first 4 weeks of psychosis."

Anti-NMDAR Encephalitis was first characterized by Penn's Josep Dalmau, MD, PhD, adjunct professor of Neurology, and David R. Lynch, MD, PhD, associate professor of Neurology and Pediatrics, in 2007. One year later, the same investigators, in collaboration with Rita Balice-Gordon, PhD, professor of Neuroscience, characterized the main syndrome and provided preliminary evidence that the antibodies have a pathogenic effect on the NR1 subunit of the NMDA receptor in the Lancet Neurology in December 2008. The disease can be diagnosed using a test developed at the University of Pennsylvania and currently available worldwide. With appropriate treatment, approximately 81 percent of patients significantly improve and, with a recovery process that takes an average of 2 years, can fully recover.


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Contact: Kim Menard
kim.menard@uphs.upenn.edu
215-662-6183
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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