PANDAS: Paediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infections
Have you heard about PANDAS? And No, We are not talking about those cute black and white bears from China! We are talking about the rare paediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder associated with streptococcal infections.
Has your child recently been sick with strep throat and out of the blue their behaviour changed? Are they unusually moody, experiencing extreme anxiety, irritable or suffering with separation anxiety? Have you noticed they have had rapid cognitive decline? Then read on!
PANDAS is characterised by the sudden and severe onset of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and tic disorder following a streptococcal infection (strep throat). It is believed to result from abnormal immune response whereby the antibodies produced to attack the the strep infection attack the brain resulting in the neuropsychiatric behaviours. This dysfunctional immune response is thought to occur as a result of ‘molecular mimicry’ where the streptococcal bacteria tries to avoid being detected by changing its structure to look similar to the host cells. The symptoms may come and go but usually increase following each subsequent strep infection.
Mainstream treatment for PANDAS is antibiotic therapy to kill off the bacteria (which kills off the good bacteria as well), oral steroids to suppress the immune system (which prevents the immune system fighting other opportunistic microbes), cognitive behaviour therapy and antidepressants to reduce the neurological symptoms (which can have many unwanted side effects).
At Integrated Wellness Clinic, we take a thorough in depth case history for each and every patient to ascertain what is the underlying cause of the presenting condition and to discover what are the exacerbating factors. We educate the patient to remove the exacerbating factors and utilise herbal remedies, nutrition, diet and lifestyle to address the underlying cause of the condition. We offer functional testing to identify dysbiosis (imbalance in gut bacteria) which can further exacerbate immune dysfunction, intestinal permeability test to identify ‘leaky gut’ which is a common factor in autoimmune diseases and contributes to immune dysfunction and systemic inflammation, MTHFR and pyroluria testing which are implicated in nervous system/mood disorders, heavy metal toxicity which can displace and hinder absorption of essential nutrients.Book Now