Autoimmune brain diseases occur when the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues in the brain or spinal cord, which results in inflammation. This inflammation may then cause impaired functioning, resulting in neurological or psychiatric symptoms.
Children affected by these disorders can develop many symptoms, including a decline in school performance, seizures, abnormal movements, vision loss, weakness of arms or legs, loss of language, and sleep problems. Psychiatric symptoms may include severe depression and hallucinations, as well as paranoid, obsessive, or erratic behavior.
There are several types of autoimmune brain diseases. Diagnosing which one your child has is often the first step. Autoimmune brain diseases include:
- Autoimmune encephalitis
- Autoimmune-related epilepsy
- Central nervous system (CNS) vasculitis
- Hashimoto’s encephalopathy (steroid-responsive encephalopathy)
- Neuromyelitis optica
- Optic neuritis
- Neuro-Behcet’s disease
- Cerebral lupus
Duke’s pediatric autoimmune brain diseases program is dedicated to the treatment of these rare, complex diseases. Our specialists provide rapid, effective treatment and can help your child manage the full spectrum of symptoms.