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THE HERD Supportive Guide March 1st editiion

theherd - THE HERD Supportive Guide March 1st editiion

Don’t Be Left Behind. Keep Up With THE HERD!

 March 2024, 1st edition

Supportive Assistance Guide For Your AE Journey

In this Issue~


  • *Announcements: Study Questionnaire: Patient, Caregiver, and Clinician input is needed, IGNITE study,  #GiveAGiftofHope, AE Awareness Merchandise
  • *Children’s Corner: What is Autoimmunity?
  • *ABI Rehabilitation: Brain Maze
  • *Helpful Tips for the AE Warrior: AE Trivia Playing Cards
  • *Most Popular Visuals: Symptoms and Brain Functions in AE 
  • *Featured AE Article: Multidisciplinary team saves teen from hallucinations with astute diagnosis
  • *Video: We Won’t Stop Dreaming
  • *Clinican’s Corner: Overview of Paraneoplastic Autoantibody-Mediated Cognitive Impairment and Behavioral Changes: A Narrative Review
  • *Open Access: Outcome and Sequelae of Autoimmune Encephalitis
  • *Monthly Zoom Support Groups For Patients & Caregivers: Caregiver Monthly Zoom Support Group, #AETuesdayTries for patients and caregivers   
  • *AE Studies & Clinical Trials: Cielo clinical trial to compare Satralizumab with placebo in anti-NMDAr and LGI1 patients, The ExTINGUISH Trial
  • *AE Trivia Cards:  The single most important educational/rehabilitation tool for AE
  • *AE Warrior Store:  Puzzle collection
  • *Shop & Support IAES: Sign up for PayPal’s #GiveAtCheckOut



Study Questionnaire: Patient, Caregiver, and Clinician input is needed

IAES has been contacted by a Ph.D. student at the University of Coimbra in Portugal, who is a scientific illustrator and science communicator, conducting research as part of her doctoral project that investigates how to design information about Autoimmune Encephalitis that will help patients and their families better understand their medical condition. For that, she needs the help of Autoimmune Encephalitis patients, recovered patients, caregivers, and clinicians.

You know how difficult it is to understand AE and all aspects of that journey. This is your opportunity to see that information is created based on your needs.

This questionnaire is directed to patients, recovered patients, and caregivers who are living or have lived with a diagnosis of Autoimmune Encephalitis. We want to understand the information that patients and family members need and what is important for them to understand about AE. This needs assessment includes their views on AE-related information: what is difficult to understand; what is important within this information; and the types of information sources used to search for AE.

Additionally, there is a questionnaire directed to clinicians who have experience in diagnosing and/or following up with patients with Autoimmune Encephalitis. It aims to understand the clinicians’ point of view on patients’ (and caregivers’) needs for information about AE. Thus, this questionnaire seeks to gather clinicians’ insights on topics including the difficulties of patients and caregivers in accessing and understanding AE-related information; challenges of clinicians in communicating AE-related information; and their opinion on the AE-related topics that are more important to be communicated.

Your participation will improve your ability to understand complex issues around AE in a visually easy way. Let’s create this positive change together. 


Dr. Emmanuel Mignot’s Lab at Stanford is conducting an exciting study working on unraveling the genetic associations of anti-NMDA encephalitis to advance patient care even more.

The research team has made significant strides in understanding autoimmune encephalitis, particularly anti-NMDAR encephalitis.
This research group is the pioneer in exploring their genetic results in the USA with thousands of patients worldwide.
Unfortunately,  they are currently facing challenges in recruiting the expected number of patients in the U.S.A., and need your help!
The research team has had a low response from anti-NMDAr patients and needs their participation to meet their goals.
This is your chance to create positive change for future AE patients.
Participation for USA patients is uncomplicated and comes at no cost. Participants are only required to provide their clinical history and a simple saliva sample, which is conveniently collected at home using the kit they provide.


Caregivers can assist their loved ones if needed. This is a golden opportunity for all of us to make the future a brighter one for the worldwide AE community. 


Invest in Creating the World

You Would Like to See

  • Autoimmune Encephalitis was identified and diagnosed quickly.
  • Patients and families receive the care and support they need throughout their experience.
  • Research that will lead to a cure.

You can help IAES create the world we all want to live in by supporting the International Autoimmune Encephalitis Society with a donation. Every single person has the power to change the world. Now more than ever we are called to make a difference.

We are so grateful for IAES’ ability to save lives and improve the quality of lives for those touched by autoimmune encephalitis and the opportunity to continue to serve. We’re humbly asking for your support. 

Small donations of $10-$25 can make an impact. Making your donation repeat monthly ensures our ability to serve the community with the hope of one day finding a cure.

Your support is essential and very much appreciated.

AE Warrior Store

Shop for AE Bling and Raise Awareness

 The Brain On Fire design was created by IAES founder, Tabitha Andrews Orth and is copyrighted by the International Autoimmune Encephalitis Society (IAES). The design names many of the most common symptoms experienced in Autoimmune Encephalitis and where in the brain that symptom is controlled. Spread awareness for Autoimmune Encephalitis. The phrase, “Brain on Fire” references a best-selling book written by Susanah Cahalan who has given permission for IAES to use the phrase for this collection.

AE Warrior Store products proclaim the bravery and fighting spirit it takes to fight AE and regain your health. Shirts, hoodies, hats, puzzles, mugs, and gift items make this your one-stop shop for patients, caregivers, and friends who have a vested interest in raising awareness for Autoimmune Encephalitis.  Designs can be transferred to any product you prefer. The proceeds of your purchase will immediately support Autoimmune Encephalitis patients, caregivers, and families who are walking this difficult journey.

IAES holds the trademark for #AEWarrior, AE Warrior, and Autoimmune Encephalitis Warrior and is the creator of these phrases. Proceeds also go to support research that may one day lead to a cure.

Don’t forget to #GiveAtCheckOut if you purchase your gift through PayPal! (See: Shop and Support IAES Through PayPal’s #GiveAtCheckOut program below).

The proceeds of your purchase will immediately support Autoimmune Encephalitis patients, caregivers, and families who are walking this difficult journey. Proceeds also go to support research that may one day lead to a cure.

Children’s Corner

Imagine your body as a fantastic city where different communities of tiny workers, called cells, have specific jobs to keep everything running smoothly. One group, let’s call them “The Protectors,” defends the city against intruders like germs and viruses. Autoimmunity happens when these Protectors mistakenly attack the body’s own cells, thinking they’re the bad guys. The story includes 10 questions and answers about autoimmunity.

ABI Rehabilitation From AE

In recognition of Brain Injury Awareness Month, IAES has this brain maze puzzle challenge for you.

Maze puzzles improve cognitive skills. They work like a brain-boosting exercise. Solving a maze makes you think, reason, and remember. Simultaneously achieving all of these, sharpens the individual’s memory, builds their focus, and increases the concentration level of their minds to a great extent. Autoimmune Encephalitis leaves the patient with brain injury. Re-learning and re-training your brain is the focus of rehabilitation.

Helpful Tips For AE Warriors  

Have fun learning about AE while you re-learn and re-train your brain with AE Trivia Playing cards. IAES has created this deck of cards specifically for you and your family to make your AE journey an easier one to bear. The deck answers the 52 most common questions about AE and doubles as a rehabilitation tool. Hailed by AE experts and therapists alike as ‘Brilliant’. Become empowered by increasing  your knowledge about AE so you can enhance your ability to advocate for yourself.

Most Popular Visuals

Brain Graphic of Symptoms Seen in Autoimmune Encephalitis  

Learn the symptoms of Autoimmune Encephalitis and where they are controlled in the brain.

Featured AE Article

Multidisciplinary team saves teen from hallucinations with astute diagnosis  

“I was going to get out of the never-ending hell of being a prisoner to my own mind.” – Abigail Aguilar

Through a multidisciplinary approach to her case, experts at Loma Linda University Health diagnosed Aguilar with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, a neurologic disease caused by the body’s production of antibodies that attack a receptor in the brain causing inflammation. She was gifted a normal future by those who extinguished the fire in her brain.

Awareness Video 2024

We Won’t Stop Dreaming

This is IAES’ 8th annual awareness video celebrating AE Awareness Month. We Won’t Stop Dreaming is a touchingly emotional inside look into the challenges patients with Autoimmune Encephalitis face.

This video features AE patients and illustrates their wide age range and diversity, and the resilience they display in overcoming the immense challenges they face.

Autoimmune Encephalitis is explained in simple terms. It alerts the medical community to key RED FLAG warnings medical professionals should know.  

Sharing this video on your social media platforms has proven to have a profound impact in raising AE awareness among the medical community and public, leading to many patients receiving an accurate diagnosis in past years. #BrainOnFire #AEawareMonth #AEwarrior #BeAEaware #AutoimmuneEncephalitis are all hashtags we encourage you to use throughout the month. 

Clinician’s Corner  

Overview of Paraneoplastic Autoantibody-Mediated Cognitive Impairment and Behavioral Changes: A Narrative Review

Patients who were positive for paraneoplastic autoantibodies were more likely to develop cognitive impairment and behavioral change than those who were autoantibody negative. Furthermore, we found that anti-NMDAR, anti-AMPAR, anti-GABA, anti-CASPR2, anti-LGI11, anti-Hu, anti-Zic2, anti-SOX1, and anti-PCA2 antibodies were more commonly associated with cognitive deterioration (primarily memory deficits), behavioral change, and psychiatric symptoms. However, these were reported less commonly in other antibodies.

Open Access

Outcome and Sequelae of Autoimmune Encephalitis

Autoimmune encephalitis can cause significant neuropsychiatric symptoms, with frequent and disabling sequelae that can persist for months or even years. Patients should be closely monitored after discharge, since cognitive and psychosocial sequelae may persist and relapses may occur.

The overlap in clinical presentations and sequelae between infectious and immune encephalitis makes it essential to study these conditions together. However, our review revealed the diversity of the applied neuropsychological tools, which makes it difficult to obtain a comprehensive picture of encephalitis sequelae. Therefore, a consensus should be sought on how and when to assess sequelae, including patient-reported outcomes such as quality of life.

Finally, some postencephalitis sequelae might be similar to those observed in acquired neurological conditions such as traumatic brain injury. Priority should be given to evaluating the benefit of brain injury rehabilitation programs adapted for survivors of encephalitis, but with the flexibility to be personalized for individual patients.

Monthly Zoom Support Groups For Patients and Caregivers


Caregiver Monthly Zoom Support Group


The next monthly meeting will take place on April 11th at 6 pm PST/9 pm EST. The IAES Caregiver Support Group takes place on the 2nd Thursday of each month. This is a ‘safe space’ where caregivers can build relationships/friendships with others who are “walking that walk”, share/vent, and receive the support and direction they so richly deserve.

AE Caregivers have a variety of unique challenges that are different from the AE Warriors’. Often they feel alone and need to be able to share their concerns with others who are on that same journey. Sometimes hearing a chorus of ‘Me Too!’ can have great healing power of its own. Additionally, some of you may qualify for services you are unaware of that could assist or solve a challenge you (or your loved one) are having. As topics are discussed, your hostess, Mari Davis, will direct you to available solutions, services and supports.

Your Hostess, IAES Support Services Coordinator Mari Wagner Davis, has 30 years of experience as an accredited Nurse Case Manager. Mari’s professional career prior to becoming ill with Autoimmune Encephalitis was to locate and arrange for the support services needed for patients when released from the hospital to rehabilitation or home.

#AETuesdayTries Monthly Zoom Support Group


The next monthly #AETuesdayTries zoom meet-up will take place on March 26th, and will always be the last Tuesday of each month.

“Tuesday Tries” addresses the emotional support and rehabilitation AE patients and caregivers require in recovering from autoimmune encephalitis by building your resilience. The program utilizes science-based exercises from the work of PERMA; Seligman, 2012.

IAES wants to foster your capacity in the belief that better days are ahead! “Tuesday Tries” is about practicing a strengths-based approach by “normalizing the try;” celebrating critical milestones in the recovery and care of AE patients and caregivers to build a more resilient network of care.

A workbook organizer, “Growing Your Resilience” has been created to accompany the #AETuesdayTries program and is located on the ‘Apps and Tools for AE Warriors’ page in the section: ‘Building Your Resilience’ on the IAES website under the ‘For Patients’ tab. A link to download the organizer is also provided within your e-mail confirmation when you register.

Join AE patients and caregivers of all ages and stages in their AE journey.  Receive insights and encouragement from others and celebrate your critical milestones in recovery and care while  building a more resilient personal AE network!

Your facilitator, Tessa McKenzie, IAES’ Chief Resilience Officer, is a life coach and studies “resilience” through her private practice, Envisage Vocation Creation and work with Johns Hopkins University’s Life Design Lab. Join Tessa and other AE patients and caregivers who are ready to “Share Your Try Tuesdays”. Tessa will provide prompts for the reframe of perceived failures as well as peer-to-peer validation of “wins” and opportunities for relationship building.


Cielo Clinical Trial to Compare Satralizumab with Placebo in anti-NMDAr and LGI1 patients

Registration is open. If you are 12 years+ with a diagnosis of anti-NMDAr AE, or 18 years+ with a diagnosis of LGI1 AE and symptoms began less than 9 months ago, you may qualify for this rare clinical trial. 10 countries currently participating. A clinical trial doctor with top expertise in AE will oversee your care.  Rescue care/standard AE care is given to placebo patients.

The trial aims to show Satralizumab is safe and effective for the treatment of Autoimmune Encephalitis and become FDA-approved. Your participation will improve the lives of all future patients. Help us reach the best outcomes for all. Ask your doctor about this trial.



This is the first-ever Clinical Trial for a promising new drug, Inebilizumab, to treat anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, and will be funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The trial will start recruitment in January 2022.  International Autoimmune Encephalitis Society is honored to be supporting the ExTINGUISH trial along with Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance and The anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis Foundation.

 Main Inclusion Criteria (in part)

Enrollment  is limited to 116 newly diagnosed patients with a confirmed diagnosis of anti-NMDAR Encephalitis who are 18 years or older. Patients must have received at least 3 days of methylprednisolone 1000 mg IV or equivalent corticosteroid within 30 days prior to randomization (Day 1). In addition, patients must have received EITHER of the following treatments within 30 days before randomization.

  • IVIg, at a minimum dose of 2 g/kg
  • Plasma exchange or plasmapheresis, with a minimum of 5 treatments. NOTE: These treatments may be provided during the screening period, but must be completed prior to randomization.

mRS of ≥3 at the screening visit, indicating at least moderate disability.  Ability and willingness to attend study visits and complete the study.

AE Trivia Playing Cards

The perfect companion  for patients, caregivers & therapists

Doctor Recommended

Created by IAES and in collaboration with Josep Dalmau, M.D., Ph.D. (The World’s leading expert on AE).  This deck answers 52 of the most commonly asked questions about AE and doubles as a rehabilitation tool.  Increase your knowledge and become a strong advocate quickly and easily with AE trivia cards. 

We appreciate the National Organization of Rare Diseases’ (NORD) enthusiastic support in recommending this groundbreaking product. 

Shop & Support IAES Through PayPal’s 


Have you wanted to support IAES, Autoimmune Encephalitis awareness, and the AE Warrior that you love?

Here is an easy and affordable way to donate without feeling a thing when shopping with your Paypal account. Each time you check out you will be reminded of an opportunity to give $1 to IAES.

Simply go to your PayPal account and select “set favorite charity”, and choose International Autoimmune Encephalitis Society.  When you make a purchase and check out, an option comes up that asks if you would like to give $1 to IAES? 

Help create the positive change you envision for the AE Community by donating your change.

International Autoimmune Encephalitis Society is proud to be a platinum level participant on the Guide Star exchange, demonstrating or commitment to financial transparency.  IAES is a charitable non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization. Tax ID#81-3752344

Donations raised are greatly appreciated and directly support research, patients, caregivers, and families through their journey so the best outcomes can be reached.   Your contribution to our mission will help save a life and improve the quality of lives for others.  Be a part of the solution by supporting IAES.

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