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DNA India
15 June 2010
Kochi, India

A 13–year–old girl has been diagnosed with Anti–NMDA Receptor Encephalitis, a rare disease, with doctors claiming it to be the first case of its kind in the country.

The school girl was admitted to Lourdes hospital on January 21 with very severe epilepsy and behavioural changes.

Within two days, she slipped into a deep coma and developed frequent seizures and was put on ventilator, Dr Bobby Varkey Maramattom, senior consultant, neurology department of the hospital, told reporters today.

The patient’s epileptic seizures were controlled only after one–and–half–months of medication.

However, after two months, when her condition further deteriorated, her blood samples were sent to professor Angelia Vincent, professor of Neuro Immunology, Weatheral Institute of Molecular Medicine John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, the UK.

Professor Vincent confirmed that the patient was suffering from ’Anti N–Methyl–D–Aspartate receptor encephalitis’ (ANMDARE) and that this was the first case from India, Maramattom said.

This disease was first diagnosed in 2008, in a male patient with tumour by professor Joseph Dalmau of the Philadelphia University in the US.

It especially affects females between the age of 6–30 years who have ovarian tumours and can result in acute behavioural changes and severe epilepsy, leading to coma and death if untreated, Dr Maramattom said.

It is also found in males or females without tumours and the cause of the disease is not yet known.

As of now, tests to confirm the disease are done only at Oxford and Philadelphia in the US, he said.

“After five months of treatment, the girl’s condition has improved vastly and she can communicate and walk. Since the past one month after the treatment, she has not had any seizures”, the doctor said, adding, “the child would have to further undergo two months of treatment”.

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