PANDAS – Grace

– Why did I choose this issue and how do they expand my learning?
I chose this issue because most people probably haven’t heard of PANDAS, even though statistics suggests that 1 out of 200 children are affected. PANDAS is the acronym for: Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcus. As the name suggests, the condition is triggered by a strep infection that cause an autoimmune response in the child’s brain. This response results in symptoms some of which are similar to OCD: mood swings, irritable behaviors, personality changes, sensitivities to certain objects or stimuli, as well as tics. The latter is measured using the Y-BOCS (Yale Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale) score of >20 and or a Chronic Tic Disorder YGTSS (Yale Global Tic Severity Scale) often with multiple tics. These facts are very interesting because they show how symptoms that are often ignored as behavioral and emotional have more serious causes. Learning about this condition makes me more highly aware of how changes in mood or personality should be taken seriously and may demand medical attention.

– How is PANDAS relevant and important to me?
The relevance and importance of PANDAS and understanding and interpreting behavioral problems among children cannot be ignored. In the light of current findings, these problems are related to streptococcal infections which are seemingly ordinary for children to have. These infections are normally treated by antibiotics, and when the symptoms disappear parents normally assume that the danger is gone. Perhaps when I become a parent in the future, I would look out for these symptoms and observe them more carefully.

– How does PANDAS affect teenagers?
Teenagers with PANDAS experience OCD, anxiety, mood swings, depression and extreme sensitivity. They may display compulsions and irritable behaviors that parents may overlook as simple personality shifts that accompany puberty. However, this is exactly what parents should watch out for, because the onset of PANDAS occurs 4-6 months after a strep infection has been treated.

– What did you learn about PANDAS?
First of all, PANDAS is triggered by a strep infection that causes inflammation in the child’s brain. This suggests that any occurrence of infections caused by streptococci should not be overlooked. Treatment with antibiotics may simply remove the obvious signs of infection without really treating the patient completely. Children who are exposed to such infections, therefore need to be observed carefully several months after treatment, so that any behavioral symptoms can be identified and checked for connections with PANDAS.

– What is your thinking/summary about PANDAS
PANDAS is a condition related to symptoms associated with OCD, but by itself it deserves careful attention any signs of disruption in attitude, personality and mood should be observed carefully and for several months so that possible connections with PANDAS can be established. Streptococcal infections among children should not be ignored as they are shown to have more serious effects on the behavioral and emotional well-being of children.

– How has your thinking changed? How does this influence your thinking about wellness?
Wellness depends on how much we pay attention to the changes in our emotions and behaviors. While fevers and other physical symptoms such as stomach aches, headaches, dizziness and vomiting can be related to a host of mild and more severe diseases and disorders, the most effective way to deal with these is to make systematic observations for prolonged periods of time. Diagnosis can be more precise or accurate based on how much we know about what is going on in our bodies.