Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS) is a clinical diagnosis given to children who have
a dramatic – sometimes overnight – onset of neuropsychiatric symptoms including obsessions/compulsions
or food restriction. They are often diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or an eating
disorder, but the sudden onset of symptoms separates PANS from these other disorders. In addition, they
may have symptoms of depression, irritability, anxiety, and have difficulty with schoolwork. The cause of
PANS is unknown in most cases but is thought to be triggered by infections, metabolic disturbances, and
other inflammatory reactions.
Like PANS, children with Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal
Infections (PANDAS) have an acute onset – within 2 to 3 days – of neuropsychiatric symptoms, specifically
OCD or tics (involuntary, purposeless movements). However, PANDAS patients test positive for a recent
streptococcal infection, such as strep throat, perianal strep or scarlet fever. Like PANS patients, they also
may suffer from uncontrollable emotions, irritability, anxiety and loss of academic ability and handwriting
skills. Although PANDAS was identified as a medical syndrome more than a decade before PANS, it has
been classified as a subset of PANS. To date, PANDAS is the only known subset of PANS, but we may
discover more causes in the future.
This is an interesting new discovery in microbiology. What are your thoughts on this topic? What other
diseases seem to be caused by an autoimmune response due to a microbial infection?
PANS | PANS: Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome. Https://med.stanford.edu/pans.html, n.d.
Web. 15 May 2017. https://med.stanford.edu/pans.html (Links to an external site.).
Weintraub, Pamela. “Hidden Invaders.” Discover Magazine. Discover Magazine, 29 Mar. 2017. Web. 15
May 2017. http://discovermagazine.com/2017/april-2017/hidden-invaders.html”. (Links to an external site.)
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