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Pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS)

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Pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS) is the name of a disease that normally begins in childhood. It causes Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and/or tics. The symptoms begin very suddenly.[1][2][3] If it is not treated at the beginning the disease can be there also in adults.[4] The reason for PANS can be a bacteria called "Group A streptococcus" (PANDAS type)[5][6][7] or an immunologic reaction to other pathogens like certain bacteria or viruses.[8][9] (PITANDS type).[10][11][12]

Signs and symptoms

Patients suffering from PANS show sudden begin OCD and/or tics and at least two of these symptoms:[13]

  1. Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or finding it hard to eat. This begins very suddenly and very intensely.
  2. At the same time, more neuropsychiatric symptoms begin. These are just as quick and severe. The symptoms are from at least two of these categories:
    1. Fear with or without a reason (Anxiety)
    2. Problems with feelings and/or sadness (Depression)
    3. Aggression
    4. Behavioral regression (acting like a younger child)
    5. Problems in school
    6. Sensory or movement problems (e.g. suddenly bad handwriting)
    7. Other symptoms, including sleep problems, bed-wetting or using the toilet very often
  3. Symptoms cannot be better explained by other illnesses such as Sydenham's chorea, systemic lupus erythematosus, Tourette disorder or others.[14]

Similar conditions

PANS shares symptoms with other diseases. Therefore diagnostic tests must be done to exclude other conditions like Sydenham's chorea, lupus erythematosus, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, and Tourette syndrome. Proof of acute rheumatic fever would exclude a PANS classification.[14]


There is no direct treatment for PANS available yet. This means today only some of the symptoms can be treated.[15][16] But scientists are already working to develop treatments with antibiotics and immune-based therapies that can heal the disease.[17][15] Nevertheless early and consequent treatment of the symptoms seems to be important. Otherwise the disease can become a lifelong problem.[18][4][19]


  1. University of Florida, Antibiotic Treatment Trial for the PANDAS/PANS Phenotype (AZT).
  2. Univetsity of Buffalo School of Public Health:
  3. Jeff Szymanski: "Can an infection suddenly cause OCD?". Harvard Health Publications. Feb 27, 2012.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Jeff Szymanski: "Can an infection suddenly cause OCD?". Harvard Health Blog, Feb 2012.
  5. Study about PANDAS and PITANDS: Moretto, Germana, Pasquini Massimo, "What every psychiatrist should know about PANDAS: a review". Department of Psychiatric Sciences and Psychological Medicine, "Sapienza" University of Rome. In: Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health 2008.
  6. NIMH PANS/PANDAS Information Page:
  7. "PANDAS studies are no longer recruiting patients". Bethesda, MD: National Institute of Mental Health, Pediatrics and Developmental Neuroscience Branch. 24 February 2009. Retrieved 13 December 2009. 
  8. Rhee, H; Cameron DJ: "Lyme disease and pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections (PANDAS): an overview". Int J Gen Med. 2012;5:163-74. Epub 2012 Feb 22.
  9. Hurley R, Taber K, “Acute and Chronic Lyme Disease: Controversies for Neuropsychiatry.” J. Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci 20;iv-6, Feb 2008.
  10. Swedo SE, Leckman JF, Rose NR: From Research Subgroup to Clinical Syndrome: Modifying the PANDAS Criteria to Describe PANS; Pediatr Therapeut 2012, 2:2; doi:10.4172/2161-0665.1000113
  11. "Pandas-pitand Spring 2011 - Clinical Medicine - Medical Specialties". 
  12. PITANDS Information - Janice Tona, Trudy Posner: "Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders A New Frontier for Occupational Therapy Intervention". Archived 2014-03-03 at the Wayback Machine
  13. NIMH Definition of PANS:
  14. 14.0 14.1 Swedo, S., Leckman, F., Rose, N. From Research Subgroup to Clinical Syndrome: Modifying the PANDAS Criteria to Describe PANS (Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome). Pediatrics & Therapeutics, 2012 Feb; 2(2).
  15. 15.0 15.1 "NIMH » Section on Behavioral Pediatrics (SBP)". 
  16. Storch EA, Murphy TK, Geffken, G et al, "Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for PANDAS-Related Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Findings From a Preliminary Waitlist Controlled Open Trial", Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry: October 2006 - Volume 45 - Issue 10 - pp 1171-1178 .
  17. Perlmutter SJ, Leitman SF, Garvey MA, "Therapeutic plasma exchange and intravenous immunoglobulin for obsessive-compulsive disorder and tic disorders in childhood", Lancet 1999; 354 : 1153 – 58.
  18. Germana Moretti, Massimo Pasquini, Gabriele Mandarelli "What every psychiatrist should know about PANDAS: a review". In: Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health 2008, 4:13.
  19. International OCD Foundation: "International OCD Foundation Warns Infections May Trigger Some Mental Illness". Archived 2012-04-23 at the Wayback Machine

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