Thursday, March 7, 2024

Severe psychotic symptoms in youth with PANS/PANDAS et al

Pavone P, Parano E, Battaglia C, et al. Severe Psychotic Symptoms in Youth with PANS/PANDAS: Case-Series. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology. 2020 Nov;30(9):567-571. DOI: 10.1089/cap.2020.0050. PMID: 32700992.

Objectives: To report a case series of children presenting with episodes of abrupt onset psychotic symptoms presumably linked to pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infection (PANDAS) and pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS). Methods: Children/adolescents were selected among the group of individuals affected by clinical diagnosis of PANDAS/PANS. One group was selected by affected individuals coming from the Center UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, New Jersey, USA and the other from the Department of Pediatrics Catania University, Italy. Child health Questionnaire Parent form 50 was given to parents to describe children's quality of life. Results: Among the group of individuals with PANDAS/PANS disorders, eight children/adolescents were selected, six coming from the UMDNJ-New Jersey and two from Catania, University centers showing among the other typical manifestations severe episodes of abrupt onset of psychotic symptoms. Conclusions: Severe psychotic symptoms may be considered one among the other neuropsychiatric clinical manifestations presenting in individuals with PANDAS/PANS syndromes.

Gagliano A, Carta A, Tanca MG, Sotgiu S. Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome: Current Perspectives. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2023 May 24;19:1221-1250. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S362202. PMID: 37251418; PMCID: PMC10225150.


Pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS) features a heterogeneous constellation of acute obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), eating restriction, cognitive, behavioral and/or affective symptoms, often followed by a chronic course with cognitive deterioration. An immune-mediated etiology is advocated in which the CNS is hit by different pathogen-driven (auto)immune responses. This narrative review focused on recent clinical (ie, diagnostic criteria, pre-existing neurodevelopmental disorders, neuroimaging) and pathophysiological (ie, CSF, serum, genetic and autoimmune findings) aspects of PANS. We also summarized recent points to facilitate practitioners with the disease management. Relevant literature was obtained from PubMed database which included only English-written, full-text clinical studies, case reports, and reviews. Among a total of 1005 articles, 205 were pertinent to study inclusion. Expert opinions are converging on PANS as the effect of post-infectious events or stressors leading to "brain inflammation", as it is well-established for anti-neuronal psychosis. Interestingly, differentiating PANS from either autoimmune encephalitides and Sydenham's chorea or from alleged "pure" psychiatric disorders (OCD, tics, Tourette's syndrome), reveals several overlaps and more analogies than differences. Our review highlights the need for a comprehensive algorithm to help both patients during their acute distressing phase and physicians during their treatment decision. A full agreement on the hierarchy of each therapeutical intervention is missing owing to the limited number of randomized controlled trials. The current approach to PANS treatment emphasizes immunomodulation/anti-inflammatory treatments in association with both psychotropic and cognitive-behavioral therapies, while antibiotics are suggested when an active bacterial infection is established. A dimensional view, taking into account the multifactorial origin of psychiatric disorders, should suggest neuro-inflammation as a possible shared substrate of different psychiatric phenotypes. Hence, PANS and PANS-related disorders should be considered as a conceptual framework describing the etiological and phenotypical complexity of many psychiatric disorders.

La Bella S, Scorrano G, Rinaldi M, Di Ludovico A, Mainieri F, Attanasi M, Spalice A, Chiarelli F, Breda L. Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS): Myth or Reality? The State of the Art on a Controversial Disease. Microorganisms. 2023 Oct 13;11(10):2549. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms11102549. PMID: 37894207; PMCID: PMC10609001.


Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS) syndrome is one of the most controversial diseases in pediatric rheumatology. Despite first being described more than 25 years ago as the sudden and rapid onset of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and/or tic disorder symptoms as complications of a Group A beta-hemolytic Streptococcus (GAS) infection, precise epidemiological data are still lacking, and there are no strong recommendations for its treatment. Recent advances in the comprehension of PANDAS pathophysiology are largely attributable to animal model studies and the understanding of the roles of Ca++/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase (CaM kinase) II, disrupted dopamine release in the basal ganglia, and striatal cholinergic interneurons. The diagnosis of PANDAS should be made after an exclusion process and should include prepubescent children with a sudden onset of OCD and/or a tic disorder, with a relapsing/remitting disease course, a clear temporal association between GAS infection and onset or exacerbation of symptoms, and the association with other neurological abnormalities such as motoric hyperactivity and choreiform movements. Antibiotic medications are the primary therapeutic modality. Nonetheless, there is a paucity of randomized studies and validated data, resulting in a scarcity of solid recommendations.

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