J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry doi:10.1136/jnnp-2012-304458
  • Editorial commentary

Paediatric autoimmune encephalopathies: a lot done, more to do

  1. Vanda A Lennon1,2,3
  1. 1Department of Neurology, College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  2. 2Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  3. 3Department of Immunology, College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Andrew McKeon Department of Neurology College of Medicine Mayo Clinic 200 1st St SW Rochester MN 55905 USA; mckeon.andrew{at}
  • Received 19 November 2012
  • Revised 19 November 2012
  • Accepted 21 November 2012
  • Published Online First 18 December 2012

Early recognition of paediatric autoimmune encephalopathies is critical because they are treatable. Serological findings and response to immunotherapy are confirmatory.

The expedited diagnosis of an autoimmune neurological disorder is critical because early treatment facilitates improvement. The data reported by Hacohen et al from a multi-institutional experience of childhood autoimmune encephalopathies should promote early recognition of these disorders.1

Autoimmunity ranks high in the differential diagnosis for encephalopathy. Suspicion is heightened when neuropsychiatric symptom onset is subacute, autoimmunity is recorded in the personal or family history, or serological findings are supportive. Autoantibody detection in serum or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), with specificities either non-neural (eg, thyroid peroxidase or antinuclear) or neural …

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