What is PANDAS?

There is a little known medical condition affecting our children, and it’s caused by an infection most kids will get at least once in their life. This condition is called PANDAS syndrome. PANDAS, short for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections, is a syndrome stemming from a strep infection that leads to an immune response in the brain. With this immune response, children start to exhibit noticeable symptoms unnatural to their personality, rapidly.

What are PANDAS symptoms?

PANDAS symptoms include:

  • obsessions and compulsions, OCD-like behavior out of the blue

  • Tourettes syndrome-like motor and vocal tics

  • anxiety

  • rapid personality changes

  • difficulty in school

  • issues with eating

  • amplified sensory sensitivity

Where does PANDAS come from?

A recent study led by Columbia University Medical Center have found that with recurrent strep infections, the infection enters the brain through odor-sensing neurons in the nasal cavity. They do not breach the blood-brain barrier. Because these bacterial cells contain molecules are recognized by the immune system, the body starts antibody production that react to the bacteria and also the body’s own tissue. This research can lead to a better understanding of the syndrome and more effective ways to treat it.

Because PANDAS is a more recently recognized syndrome, it can be hard to find relevant information for parents who are looking to help their children, or for parents who are noticing a change in behavior and looking for answers. For that reason, PANDAS can often go overlooked, causing children to not receive the specialized care they need.

At The Garden City Center for Integrative Medicine, Dr. Vivian DeNise specializes in diagnosing and treating children with PANDAS. Her gentle approach to treatment not only helps children with the syndrome, but also helps educate parents and families to better be able to understand what is going on in their little one’s body. For PANDAS consultations, call Garden City Center for Integrative Health at 516.764.6423 or contact us for more information here.

Samantha LaBarbara