There has long been a discussion Around the Dinner Table about Pandas. Not just the cute black and white furry bears that have proved useful as a distraction technique whilst refeeding a loved one with an eating disorder but the NIMH sort of Pandas.
“PANDAS, is an abbreviation for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric DisordersAssociated with Streptococcal Infections. The term is used to describe a subset of children and adolescents who have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and/or tic disorders, and in whom symptoms worsen following strep. infections such as “Strep throat” and Scarlet Fever.”
Some of us have seen a link between sudden onset eating disorders and a strep infection and others have had testing done. Two years ago, three leading pediatric clinicians published an article in the European Eating Disorders Review calling for testing in sudden onset anorexia nervosa and in July 2010, the NIMH convened dozens of experts from the field for serious discussions about it and consequently PANS was born.
“Criteria for a broadened syndrome of acute onset obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) have been proposed by a National Institutes of Health scientist and her colleagues. The syndrome, Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS), includes children and teens that suddenly develop on-again/off-again OCD symptoms or abnormal eating behaviors, along with other psychiatric symptoms – without any known cause.
PANS expands on Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcus (PANDAS), which is limited to a subset of cases traceable to an autoimmune process triggered by a strep infection”
For those of us who believe that eating disorders have a biological basis, an infection (whether strep or not) makes a lot of sense. It may also make sense to a lot of other parents and carers and patients in the fields of autism, OCD, schizophrenia and other mental disorders.
For the full NIH press release, please look here.