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Entries in Strep Throat (2)

Wednesday
Oct052011

PANDAS: Strep Throat Can Lead to OCD in Children

Courtesy of Kelly Bossman(CLAYTON, N.C.) -- Karli Bossman was a happy 5-year-old from Clayton, N.C., who loved going to kindergarten, until one day in 2008 when the easy-going child suddenly became obsessive and defiant.

She ripped off her socks and underwear because they "hurt" and insisted on wearing pajamas.  And Karli refused to get in the car because she was afraid it would run out of gas.

At first, her parents thought the little girl was being bullied, but after checking with her teachers, that was not the case.  What was so frightening was how quickly her behavior changed.

The little girl also had an irrational fear of elevators and was scared to go to bed at night for fear she would have a bad dream.

It took two years and 14 doctors to finally figure out what was wrong.  Karli, who'd had at least 19 cases of strep throat in the last three years, had developed PANDAS -- pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infection.

Symptoms include obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) -- general anxiety, emotional mood swings, rages and oppositional defiance behavior.  Some children have learning disabilities and lose fine motor skills movement.

"It's not a rare disorder, it's just rarely diagnosed," said Dr. Denis Bouboulis, an immunologist from Darien, Conn., and one of the top experts on PANDAS.  "There are a lot of children actually misdiagnosed as having a primary psychiatric symptoms, when, in fact they are autoimmune and organic."

The disorder was first described in the mid-1990s, but has only recently been recognized by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).  For years, medical experts thought the link between a strep throat and OCD was only coincidental.

But in 2009, a Columbia University study confirmed that a strep infection could cause PANDA symptoms like OCD behavior and Tourette syndrome tics in mice.  According to that research, those psychiatric disorders affect 25 percent of adults and more than 3 percent of all children.

Scientists think that PANDAS and its quick onset use the same pathways as rheumatic fever, affecting the part of the brain that controls movement and behavior in a phenomenon known as molecular mimicry.

Karli's journey, which continues today as her family strives to find an effective treatment, involved many misdiagnoses, including the use of antipsychotic drugs that have side effects like tremors and weight gain.

Now, the mother of four wants to try intravenous immune globulin (IV IG) treatment that was pioneered by Bouboulis.  That helped Lauren Johnson, the Chesapeake, Va., girl who sneezed 12,000 times a day because of an OCD tic.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Aug142011

Pediatricians Dispense Tips for a Healthy School Year  

Comstock/Thinkstock(WILMINGTON, Del.) -- School is already back in session for many and pediatricians are encouraging parents and children alike to take precautionary measures to avoid spreading illness at school.

HealthDay reports that strep throat is just one of several common childhood illnesses that can easily spread if parents and children do not take the proper preventive measures, according to experts at the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del.

Experts are advising parents and students to be aware of five common childhood infections:

• Pinkeye (conjunctivitis) — This condition is most often caused by viruses or bacteria and can be prevented by washing hands thoroughly and often with soap and warm water.
• Strep throat —The bacterial infection that causes swelling and extreme soreness in the back of the throat can be prevented by not sharing utensils, food, drinks, napkins or towels with a child who already has the sickness.
• Head lice —Lice are parasitic insects that infest the head, eyebrows and eyelashes and can be prevented by  not sharing combs, brushes, hats and helmets.
• Molluscum contagiosum — This very contagious viral skin rash, common among children between the ages of 1 and 12 can best be prevented by hand washing with soap and water.
• Walking pneumonia  — This illness is the leading type of pneumonia in school-age kids and teens and can be prevented by avoiding direct contact with an infected person and by hand washing.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio