Autoimmune Encephalopathy

Autoimmune Encephalopathy
Autoimmune encephalopathy (AE), or inflammation of the brain, is a rare disorder that’s still in the early stages of research. Because few doctors have experience with the condition, you want to make sure an expert neuropsychiatrist diagnoses and treats it. Steve Best, MD, brings such expertise to The Neuroscience Center with his state-of-the-art brain imaging and treatment technology. Early treatment is imperative, so if you’re searching for AE treatment centers, call or book an appointment online at the Deerfield, Illinois, clinic today.

Autoimmune Encephalopathy Q & A

The Neuroscience Center

What is autoimmune encephalopathy?

Autoimmune encephalopathy (AE) is inflammation of the brain caused by a malfunction in the immune system. The immune system attacks the brain and causes brain function impairments.

Although researchers still have a lot to learn about AE, it typically seems to be triggered by a few scenarios:

  • A tumor on the ovaries
  • Cancer, which triggers an autoimmune response
  • Exposure to specific common bacteria

What are the symptoms of autoimmune encephalopathy?

Many of the neuropsychiatric symptoms of autoimmune encephalopathy mirror other conditions, and they tend to ebb and flow, making AE challenging to diagnose. However, a trained neuropsychiatrist like Dr. Best is skilled in identifying and treating the disorder. Common symptoms of AE include:

  • Impaired speech
  • Involuntary movements or lack of coordination
  • Weakness or numbness in the body
  • Seizures
  • Memory problems
  • Severe anxiety, paranoia, or hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation

How is autoimmune encephalopathy diagnosed?

Dr. Best starts with a simple blood test to determine whether the AE antibody is present. Even if these antibodies aren’t present, it doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have AE. Dr. Best may also perform an EEG to measure brain activity or an MRI to determine whether inflammation is present in the brain.

What treatments are available for autoimmune encephalopathy?

For the best outcome, treatment should be fast, early, and aggressive. The first line of treatment usually involves removing any related tumors, reducing inflammation with steroids, filtering antibodies from the blood, or IV treatments. Dr. Best may also prescribe medication to control the symptoms, such as anti-anxiety drugs or sleep aids.

If your condition doesn’t respond to those methods, Dr. Best may start a secondary line of treatment using immunosuppressive drugs. Some people encounter traumatic brain injury after an episode of AE, and Dr. Best has found impressive results with hyperbaric chamber treatments and perispinal etanercept injections (an anti-inflammatory) for recovery from traumatic brain injuries.

Early treatment is paramount in keeping the disease from progressing. If you or a family member are experiencing symptoms of AE, contact Dr. Best right away to begin treatment.



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