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Frequently Asked Questions 


What is ADEM?




Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis is a monophasic CNS inflammatory disease that mainly occurs in children and adults younger than 40 years. The disorder can be triggered by an acute systemic infection or vaccination. Symptoms include cranial nerve palsies, ataxia, hemiparesis, myelopathy, or optic neuritis. Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) antibodies can transiently occur in almost 50% of children with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis.

Diagnosis can be made when all 5 of the following criteria have been met (Graus et al. 2016 A Clinical Approach to the diagnosis of autoimmune encephalitis)

  1. A first multifocal, clinical CNS event of presumed inflammatory demyelinating cause
  2. Encephalopathy that cannot be explained by fever
  3. Abnormal brain MRI:
    • Diffuse, poorly demarcated, large (>1–2 cm) lesions predominantly involving the cerebral white matter on T2-weighted FLAIR imaging that can be present in the supratentorial white matter, basal ganglia, brainstem, cerebellum, and spinal cord, with or without contrast enhancement
    • T1-hypointense lesions in the white matter in rare cases
    • Deep grey matter abnormalities (e.g. – thalamus or basal ganglia) can be present
  4. No new clinical or MRI findings after 3 months of symptom onset

Reasonable exclusion of alternative causes


See ADEM Fact Sheet for more information

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 founded in 2016 by Tabitha Andrews Orth, Gene Desotell and Anji Hogan-Fesler. Tax ID# 81-3752344. Donations raised directly supports research, patients, families and caregivers impacted by autoimmune encephalitis and to educating healthcare communities around the world. Financial statement will be made available upon request.

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