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Some types of autoimmune encephalitis which is where the immune system is attacking the brain, such as acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), are caused by infection in which case the term ‘post-infectious encephalitis’ is used.
Other forms of autoimmune encephalitis are associated with finding specific antibodies in blood such as VGKC complex (anti-LGI1 and Caspr2), NMDA receptor, GAD, AMPAR and GABA antibodies.
Antibodies, also called immunoglobulins, are large Y-shaped proteins which identify and help remove foreign antigens such as viruses and bacteria. The reason why these antibodies are produced by the immune system in people with autoimmune encephalitis is not known in most cases. Sometimes a tumour (benign or cancerous) may generate the antibody.
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ADEM usually affects children and begins after a childhood rash, other viral infections or immunisations. A variety of terminologies were used to describe it such as post-viral, post-infectious or para-infectious.
Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) usually affects children and begins after a childhood rash (exanthema), other viral infections or immunisations.
Hashimoto's encephalopathy is a rare condition, which is probably of autoimmune origin. The concept of HE is becoming fragmented into a number of other types of autoimmune encephalitis which appear to have their own autoantibodies, prognosis and associated features.
LGI1/CASPR2-antibody encephalitis is an autoimmune encephalitis in which antibodies target LGI1 (leucine-rich glioma inactivated 1) or CASPR2 (contactin-associated protein 2). Initially, typically, family members notice seizures and/or that their relative becomes forgetful, confused, drowsy and withdrawn.
The term ‘limbic encephalitis’ (LE) describes the condition when limbic areas of the brain are inflamed (swollen) and consequently not functioning properly. Most forms of LE fall into two main categories:
infectious encephalitis and autoimmune encephalitis.
NMDAR antibody encephalitis is an autoimmune disease that causes psychiatric features, confusion, memory loss and seizures followed by a movement disorder, loss of consciousness and changes in blood pressure, heart rate and temperature.
Rasmussen's encephalitis (RE), also called Rasmussen syndrome, is a rare, progressive, chronic encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) characterised by seizures, progressive hemiparesis and cognitive loss (learning difficulties).