Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections, or PANDAS, is a pediatric condition that affects many children throughout the world, and accounts for 70% of our patients. PANDAS describes a subset of children with tic disorders such as Tourette Syndrome or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, in conjunction with the following symptoms:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Tics and spasms
- ADHD and problems concentrating
- Learning disabilities
- Irregular urination frequency and bed wetting
In recent years, PANDAS has come to be known as a subset of Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS). The major distinction between the two is that with PANDAS, the symptoms are accompanied by strep infections such as strep throat.
Dr. Latimer has done extensive work with the PANDAS Network, as well as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to conduct research into these conditions and increase awareness for them. As more parents become aware of these conditions, we will be able to help more children receive the treatment they deserve.
PANDAS Diagnostic Testing
PANDAS must be clinically diagnosed. There are 5 widely accepted criteria that we use for diagnosing PANDAS:
- The presence of OCD, a tic disorder (motor or vocal), or a combination of both
- Symptoms begin during pediatric years (3 years old to puberty)
- The presence of a streptococcal infection such as strep throat
- Episodic course of symptom severity – symptoms can flare up suddenly, then improve gradually, and return when they have a strep infection
- The presence of neurological abnormalities such as hyperactivity or problems with coordination
The diagnostic testing/criteria for PANS is similar to PANDAS, with some key differences such as PANS condition does not have to be associated with a strep infection.
PANS and PANDAS Treatment
We are one of the few offices in the area that provides comprehensive treatment for PANS and PANDAS. After evaluating and diagnosing your child with either PANS or PANDAS, we will go over different treatment options with you. Some treatments for PANDAS may include prophylactic antibiotics to fight strep infection or IVIG in more severe cases.
If you have noticed any of the symptoms above in your child, call the Latimer Neurology Center at (202) 625-4898 to schedule an appointment. We can determine whether or not your child has PANS or PANDAS, and start working on a solution that will allow them to live life as normally as possible.