February 8, 2012
By Teresa Conrick
I have been following all of the news and reports on the teens and now two adults who have developed sudden onset tics and Tourette-like symptoms in upper NY. It is an unanswered medical phenomenon still and one that is devastating. One thing that seems certain — the issue of Conversion Disorder vs Immune Disorder needs a further analysis. A report titled, “Investigation of Neurologic Symptoms among Le Roy Jr/Sr High School Students, October 2011 – January 2012” has been made available for viewing and some interesting pieces of information seem worthy of our attention:
All cases were female. Three of the 12 cases were identified as having pre-existing medical conditions associated with tic disorders. Two of the three cases, who were tic free for a period of time, experienced an exacerbation of tic symptoms during this time period. The third case was identified as having a previous diagnosis of Tourette’s disorder and did not have a new onset of tic symptoms, but rather an acceleration of on-going tics during this time period. Onsets of tic symptoms ranged from May 2011 to December 2011 for the nine new onsets.
My good and learned friends here at Age of Autism, Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted, have been writing about LeRoy and some of the intriguing (AofA Tics and Toxins A History of Building Woes) and significant environmental factors that may be at play. (AofA Tics and Toxins Playing Fields on FEMA Flood Hazard) Kevin Barry, an avid Age of Autism reader and researcher, also included some historical, pertinent pieces as to what could be making some of the teens so ill. Having my own daughter with similar issues of sudden onset motor and vocal tics, seizures and a history of repeated Strep infections, parasites, and lengthy viral illnesses has made the search for the source of this mystery all the more important to me.
Since Dan, Mark and Kevin all mentioned WATER as an important variable as to what was different in the LeRoy area this past Spring, I agree and also wondered if that played into another source of illness — STREP. PANDAS/PANS – Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome has been denied and dismissed quickly by many of the NY investigators and medical personnel. Doctor Rosario Trifiletti, who specializes in PANS, visited Le Roy to take blood and tissue samples from some of the affected teen girls, so he could test for PANS. The results are pending. A very thorough article from Scientific Scientific American – “Could an Infection Cause Tourette’s-Like Symptoms in Teenage Girls?” echoes that possibility:
“PANS is a new name for an old idea: that infections by bacteria, viruses or parasites can cause the sudden onset of neuropsychiatric ailments such as Tourette’s and obsessive-compulsive disorder OCD. (Tic disorders like Tourette’s are closely related to OCD, sharing many symptoms and often coexisting in patients. PANS is more commonly known by its former name, PANDAS—pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder associated with streptococcal infection—because the first known cases were in kids who had strep throat and then suddenly developed OCD. But researchers have realized in recent years that a variety of infectious agents—not just strep—can cause mental illness….. OCD expert, Michael Jenike, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, explains what PANS is and why it might account for the mysterious illness in Le Roy……It’s the sudden onset of a neuropsychiatric disorder: OCD, anorexia or psychosis, cognitive problems. Initially, PANDAS was associated with strep. It turns out that other infections like mycoplasma, certain viruses, Lyme disease—these also produce the same thing. So it’s not necessarily associated with strep, and they changed the name to reflect that. Now it’s any sudden-onset neuropsychiatric disease.