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Watch Dr. Sue Swedo’s presentation on the subset of individuals experiencing Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder symptoms and are affected by PANDAS and PANS.
PANDAS, is an abbreviation for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated 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.
PANS is a newer term used to describe the larger class of acute-onset OCD cases. PANS stands for Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome and includes all cases of abrupt onset OCD, not just those associated with streptococcal infections.
Dr. Swedo is currently Chief Pediatrics & Developmental Neuroscience Branch at the NIMH. Dr. Swedo received her M.D. from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and completed her pediatrics residency at Children’s Memorial Hospital (Northwestern University) in Chicago. Dr. Swedo began her career as a hospital-based pediatrician in Evanston, IL and was later named Chief of Adolescent Medicine at the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University. She moved to the Washington area in 1986 and joined the staff of the Child Psychiatry Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health, where she conducted research on childhood obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Dr. Swedo and her NIMH team were the first to identify a new subtype of pediatric OCD, in which symptoms are triggered by cross-reactive antibodies produced in response to infections with Group A beta-hemolytic streptococci. The subgroup is known by the acronym, PANDAS, which stands for: Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections. This work led to the development of several novel therapies, including use of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) and plasmapheresis to treat acutely ill children, and antibiotics prophylaxis to prevent strep-triggered neuropsychiatric exacerbations. Subsequent work has revealed that the cross-reactive antibodies are unique to the PANDAS subgroup and have biologic activity in the CNS. In 2002, Dr. Swedo moved to the extramural side of NIMH to serve as Associate Director for Pediatric Research and Director of the Division of Pediatric Translational Research. She returned to the Pediatrics & Developmental Neuroscience Branch in May 2006 to establish a multi-disciplinary, clinical research team dedicated to studies of autism spectrum disorders and related neurodevelopmental disorders. Studies of childhood-onset OCD are also underway in the Branch. Research Interests The Pediatrics and Developmental Neuroscience Branch is comprised of a clinical research team investigating the etiology, phenomenology, pathophysiology and treatment of developmental disorders and childhood psychiatric disorders. Autism spectrum disorders and childhood-onset obsessive compulsive disorder (and particularly the PANDAS subtype) are of particular research interest.