Pediatric GAD-65 Autoimmune Encephalitis: Assessing Clinical Characteristics and Response to Therapy With a Novel Assessment Scale.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) encephalitis is a neuroinflammatory disease characterized by a broad range of symptoms including cognitive deficits, behavioral changes, and seizures. Children with this disorder have heterogeneous presentations, and little is known about symptom progression over time and response to immunotherapy. METHODS: This study reports 10 pediatric GAD encephalitis cases and symptoms found at presentation and follow-up. In addition, symptom severity was reported utilizing a novel scale evaluating functional outcomes across the domains affected by autoimmune encephalitis including cognition, language, seizures, psychiatric symptoms, sleep, and movement. Retrospective chart review was conducted for 10 patients aged <18 years, diagnosed with GAD encephalitis, and followed for one year or more. Chart review included clinical, imaging, and laboratory findings at time of diagnosis and at six- and 12-month follow-ups. RESULTS: At presentation, cognitive deficits were found in all patients, seizures in six of 10, and language decline in seven of 10. Psychiatric symptoms were prominent for all but one patient with three of nine patients presenting with psychosis. Fatigue, sleep disruption, and movement disorders were less prominent symptoms, occurring in approximately half of the cohort. Cognition and fatigue improved significantly over time when compared with symptom severity, whereas seizures, psychiatric symptoms, and sleep did not. Language and sleep showed improvement only in early stages. Analysis of seizure frequency and type noted variability mirroring trends noted in adult studies of GAD encephalitis. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated the variability of symptom profiles of pediatric GAD encephalitis and benefits of symptom severity scales. Symptom profiles and progression vary in this population.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Harmon, A; Stingl, C; Rikhi, A; Tran, L; Pizoli, C; Malinzak, M; Van Mater, H

Published Date

  • March 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 128 /

Start / End Page

  • 25 - 32

PubMed ID

  • 35032887

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-5150

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2021.12.007


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States