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#90 — Pediatric Autoimmune & Neuropsych Disorders ** November 11, 2015
Guest // Heather Korbmacher, MED, NBCT ** Host // Carla Atherton
Imagine that your healthy, happy child contracts a common illness and, seemingly overnight, becomes a different child, with emotional outbursts, physical aggression, strange body movements and vocalizations, and other surprising behaviors.
Parents are perplexed and wringing their hands. They are witnessing dramatic and worrisome transformations in their previously healthy children.
The sequence goes something like this:
- Infectious agents, environmental exposures, or other triggers are involved.
- There’s an unintended immune or autoimmune response that results in brain inflammation.
- The inflammation provokes severe, uncontrollable, and undesirable behaviors. These include OCD/tics, anxiety, sensory processing difficulties, and changes in varied areas, from cognition and personality, to handwriting and eating habits.
Doctors don’t know what to make of it, let alone how to treat your child. But parents, registering that their children are in desperate need of help, are on the front lines of this condition that has become common enough to merit a name: Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS). You may be more familiar with the variant, called Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcus Infections (PANDAS). Many parents have been stunned to learn that their children have sky high ASO and Anti DNAase B titers showing strep infection.
Then what? Parents have questions:
- Is PANS/PANDAS real? How prevalent is it?
- What are the signs and symptoms? Do they vary significantly among children?
- Do children heal? What treatment options are available?
- What happens if you don’t treat it? Can children outgrow PANS on their own?
- What advice do experienced parents offer?
Heather Korbmacher, MED, NBCT is the founder of Courageous Educational Services LLC and mom of two. She has taught for more than 20 years in the K-12 and post-secondary classrooms as a Special Educator, Behavior Specialist, and Adjunct Professor. She recently left the classroom to care for her oldest son who contracted PANS nearly two years ago. This has changed her understanding of behavior and health and she is now dedicated to helping other families access information and services on their journey to wellness, while at the same time, educating the professionals who work with our courageous children and their parents..
Carla Atherton, MA, Director of the Lotus Health Project, Writer and Editor, Workshop Instructor, Functional Diagnostic Nutrition practitioner, Transformational Nutrition Coach, Yoga Instructor, Health (R)evolutionary, and Children’s Health Advocate. Carla is a trained Functional Diagnostic Nutrition practitioner and Transformational Nutrition Coach, and is a creative and academic writer, lecturer, workshop instructor, acreage-living, unschooling mom of three. She is passionate about health and wellness, which, to her, involves all aspects of health including the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Carla created the Lotus Health Project, the Children’s and Teen Health (R)evolution, and its biannual online Children’s and Teen Health Summit in order to further her mandate – to let people know, both young and old, they are not alone in their health challenges or management and that anything can be overcome if you have the right mind and information.