Doctor’s Information

The most common type of Autoimmune Encephalitis, anti-NMDA receptor Autoimmune Encephalitis (ANMDARE) which accounts for 20% of cases, was identified in 2005.  Even though The California Encephalitis Project 2007-2011 showed this variant of autoimmune encephalitis occurred more commonly than other etiologies of encephalitis such as enterovirus encephalitis, HSV-1, West Nile Virus or Varicella zoster virus (VZV), many Emergency Department physicians are not familiar with it.  Given that it is such a newly recognized disorder; it is not yet taught in medical schools. Emergency Departments do evaluate for encephalitis and meningitis but autoimmune encephalitis often goes unrecognized.

Given that Autoimmune Encephalitis is more common than originally thought, Emergency Department Staff, would be well advised to keep autoimmune encephalitis as a differential diagnosis for patients presenting with acute psychosis or encephalitis. This may be particularly important in patients with new onset psychosis being referred to a psychiatric facility, especially if they presented with any neurological symptoms! Psychiatrists and Emergency Room Physicians are often the first to see these patients, data shows that due to the wide spectrum of initial symptoms in AE patients, the correct diagnosis of these patients is often missed or delayed. Therefore, lumbar puncture should be offered to ALL patients with new onset psychosis as part of the broader evaluation for their mental and physical health. 

Autoimmune encephalitis is a treatable disease, and it responds better to early treatment. There are numerous co-hort studies and case reports of patients who demonstrated improvement immediately following immunosuppressant therapy or tumor removal.  Studies have found that favorable outcome is associated with early treatment.  To learn more about Autoimmune encephalitis masquerading as psychosis/psychiatric illness, we highly recommend Psychiatrists, ER physicians and  those learning about these disorders review the research under AE -Psychiatric presentation.

AI-Driven Antibody Search.  Let our AI decode the literature to provide antibody usage data that’s unbiased and experiment-specific

One-Year Functional Status (NEOS) score

AE is refractory to Antipsychotics

Antibody Mediated Psychosis

Treatment of Autoimmune brain disorders

Commercial tests for autoantibodies to NMDAR, LGI1, Caspr2, AMPAR (GluR1, GluR2 subunits), and GABA-B-R are widely available. Newer cell surface antigens like GABAA-R and DPPX are more difficult to test clinically.  Contact Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN to inquire about antibody testing through research resources. It is important to test both the serum and the Cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) because of false positives with these antibodies.

Dr David Carr

Anti-NMDA receptor Encephalitis
A must know diagnosis for all
emergency medicine practitioners

Andrew McKeon, M.B., B.Ch., M.D.,

Mayo Clinic Webinar:
The Spectrum of Autoimmune CNS
Disorders June, 2017

Lancet Podcast

Clinical Approach to Diagnois of Autoimmune Encephalitis

Practice Current:

Autoimmune Encephalitis &
the Role of Antibody Testing
March, 2019

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Our website is not a substitute for independent professional medical advice. Nothing contained on our website is intended to be used as medical advice. No content is intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professional's advice. Although THE INTERNATIONAL AUTOIMMUNE ENCEPHALITIS SOCIETY  provides a great deal of information about AUTOIMMUNE ENCEPHALITIS, all content is provided for informational purposes only. The International Autoimmune Encephalitis Society  cannot provide medical advice.

International Autoimmune Encephalitis Society is a charitable non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Tax ID# 81-3752344 Donations raised directly supports patients, families and caregivers impacted by autoimmune encephalitis and to educating healthcare communities around the world.




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