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PANDAS is the abbreviated name for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections.  PANDAS is an autoimmune disorder that is initially created from a strep infection.  This infection creates a misguided immune response that attacks the nervous system and causes inflammation in the brain.  This creates emotional lability, anxiety, OCD, tics, sensory issues, and other neuropsychiatric symptoms.  These symptoms appear abruptly and are debilitating to a child’s life.


The Diagnostic Criteria for PANDAS includes:

  • Onset before puberty

  • Abrupt onset of symptoms or a relapsing-remitting course of symptom severity

  • Presence of significant obsessions, compulsions, and/or tics

  • Association with streptococcal infection

  • Association with other neuropsychiatric symptoms


PANS is the abbreviated name for Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome.  PANS is a similar autoimmune condition that attacks the nervous system, but this condition can be caused by other non-strep infections, environmental toxins (such as mold), or even psychological stress or trauma.


The Diagnostic Criteria for PANS includes:

  • Abrupt onset of obsessive-compulsive disorder or severely restricted food intake.

  • Additional presence of other neuropsychiatric symptoms of acute onset and severity:

    • Anxiety, emotional lability and/or depression

    • Irritability, aggression and/or severely oppositional behaviors

    • Developmental regression

    • Deterioration in school performance (regression in hand writing and/or math skills)

    • Sensory or motor abnormalities

    • Sleep disturbances

    • Bedwetting or urinary frequency

  • Symptoms are not better explained by a known neurologic or medical disorder

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