Rasmussen's encephalitis

Rasmussen's Encephalitis


Rasmussen's encephalitis

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Rasmussen's encephalitis, also known as chronic focal encephalitis (CFE), is a rare inflammatory neurological disorder, characterized by frequent and severe seizures, loss of motor skills and speech, hemiparesis (paralysis on one side of the body), encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and dementia. The disorder, which affects a single cerebral hemisphere, generally occurs in children under the age of 15.

Causes and pathophysiology

In Rasmussen’s encephalitis, there is chronic inflammation of the brain, with infiltration of T lymphocytes into the brain tissue. This affects only one cerebral hemisphere, either the left or the right. This inflammation causes permanent damage to the cells of the brain, leading to atrophy of the hemisphere; the epilepsy that this causes may itself contribute to the brain damage.

The cause of the inflammation is not known: infection by a virus has been suggested, but the evidence for this is inconclusive. In the 1990s it was suggested that auto-antibodies against the glutamate receptor GluR3 were important in causing the disease, However, more recent studies report the presence of autoantibodies against the NMDA-type glutamate receptor subunit GluRepsilon2 (anti-NR2A antibodies) in a subset of patients with Rasmussen's encephalitis.<ref...
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