Earlier this year, The Journal of Nuclear Medicine published “Basal ganglia inflammation in children with neuropsychiatric symptoms” by Drs. Kumar, Williams, Musik and Chugani.
The research showed a significant difference in brain inflammation patterns between PANDAS children and those with Tourette Syndrome (TS). This information was obtained through special PET scanning.
These findings are very important because it reinforces the stance that PANDAS is not just Tourettes or OCD, but it is different and requires different treatment protocols. It also signifies the difference in the etiology, or cause, of the two disorders.
In June 2014, Dr. Ajay Kumar, M.D., Ph.D. won a Young Investigators Award for his work in this study.
To read the abstract, visit http://jnumedmtg.snmjournals.org/cgi/content/meeting_abstract/55/1_MeetingAbstracts/306.
PANDAS Network has discussed Dr. Chugani’s work before. The following is what we reported in May 2011…
“Dr. Harry Chugani at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, is studying the potential use of PET scans as diagnostic tools for PANDAS Dr Chugani states that the basal ganglia are not hard to detect on an MRI scan. In fact, the basil ganglia are large structures. However, the MRI scan is not useful for detection of abnormal microscopic, neurological functioning in the basal ganglia because MRI scans look at anatomy, i.e., tissue density and damage, water displacement, inflammation of tissue (and not the neurological function of this part of the brain). PET scans, or Positron Emission Tomography scans, may be used instead of, or in addition to, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. This gives anatomic andfunctional information.
The PET scan works by using PK-11195, a radioactive material, to target the inflammatory cells of the brain. This chemical is attracted to inflammatory cells and gives information on how the basil ganglia are functioning. Some of the PET scans on PANDAS. children are identifying inflammation in the basal ganglia. This may be useful as the long awaited confirmation of PANDAS that parents have sought.
Dr Chugani said, “By finding PET scan evidence of abnormality in the basal ganglia, we may now have a biomarker for PANDAS Indeed, following IVIG in some PANDAS subjects, the abnormality in basal ganglia has gone away on repeated PET scan. These studies are rather preliminary, on a limited number of subjects, and much more work needs to be done.”
*Please note that Dr. Chugani is not a “PANDAS doctor”. However this research can really make an impact in the future of diagnosing PANDAS.”