What is PANDAS?
Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections
PANDAS is an autoimmune condition triggered by a streptococcal infection. As parents and caregivers, we typically think of strep as taking up residence in the throat, although the strep bacteria can also hide in tissues throughout the body including the sinuses, the urinary tract, the heart and the brain. Sometimes, when the strep bacteria makes its way to the brain, it can cause an autoimmune reaction. In the case of PANDAS, the strep bacteria cross reacts with dopamine receptors in the basal ganglia of the brain, causing an array of symptoms including motor tics, executive functioning difficulties, emotional lability and OCD.
What is PANS?
Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome
PANS has a similar profile to PANDAS, although a variety of infectious and environmental agents can be the point of departure for symptoms. For example, common PANS triggers include Lyme coinfections, mycoplasma pneumonia, Epstein bar, flu viruses and mold.
Is this your child?
OCD — obsessive-compulsive disorder
Deterioration in school performance
Increased urinary frequency
Severely restricted food intake
Sensory or motor abnormalities
Looking at Root Causes
Inflammation and Immune dysregulation
Inflammation sounds like a bad word, although targeted inflammation in the body is a good thing – this is how we heal. Think of the last time you scraped your knee or cut your finger. Initially, the site gets red and swollen. This is the hallmark of the immune system doing its job fighting off infection and healing the site.
When the immune system becomes overwhelmed and dysregulated, however, inflammation runs rampant impacting our organs, tissues, and biochemical processes.
This is the case with neuropsychiatric disorders like PANS/PANDAS where inflammatory processes in the brain cause an array of downstream effects including motor tics, focus issues, rage disorders and OCD.
Infectious agents like Lyme, strep or any number of viruses are typically the point of departure for symptoms, although the big picture often includes exposures to environmental toxins as well.
Common conventional interventions for PANS/PANDAS include
- Psychiatric meds
Conventional approaches like these can be a blessing, especially in acute situations. During the early phases of treatment most PAN/PANDAS patients rely on antibiotic therapies, and often with great success. In some cases, steroids are used to curb inflammation, IVIG to reset the immune system, and psychiatric medications to dampen emotional lability.
Depending on the situation, these therapies can be lifesaving, however, over the long term, many of these interventions come with significant cost to the body and to overall wellness.
Antibiotics, for example, don’t discriminate between “good” and “bad” bacteria and instead wipe out entire segments of our microbiome. Likewise, both steroids and long term antibiotic use are suppressive therapies, meaning they work in opposition to the immune system by halting and taking over the body’s natural healing processes.
How are we different?
At Althea Health and Wellness, we personalized protocols and targeted therapies to strengthen and reeducate the immune system. Unlike most conventional therapies which either suppress or repress the workings of the body, our protocols promote healing by supporting your child’s individual biochemistry to encourage gentle detoxification.
We also look at the whole picture. In addition to using state of the art testing to determine which infectious and environmental agents are at play, we work closely with your child’s individual biochemistry, and use curated nutritionals , homeopathics and botanicals to support neural pathways and open the pathways of elimination.
What does the healing journey look like?
- Initial evaluation includes an in-depth health history as well as testing to determine which infections are at play both in the gut and in the brain
- Protocol development is based on both the client history and testing. Protocols require a commitment of between 6-18 months and include:
- Curated homeopathic and botanical detox protocols targeted at specific underlying infections
- Personalized nutritional support geared towards opening the pathways of elimination and supporting individual biochemistry.
- In addition to strategy sessions with Lauren, each family is also assigned a personal health coach to oversee any diet and lifestyle recommendations
What is the investment?
- Supplement costs typically run around $300/month
- Protocol development and oversight run between $300 – $1200/month depending on the package
- Initial lab fees generally run between $350 – $1200
For more information on our healing packages and specifics on pricing, please download the guide below.
Lauren has an incredible depth of knowledge and insight about the effects of how immune-system dysfunction impacts neurodevelopmental disorders. I often send my health-coaching clients who have children with autism, ADHD, SPD, OCD, PANDAS and Lyme to her for help with an integrative approach to healing. Lauren’s compassion, knowledge and ability to work with long-distance clients make her a favorite practitioner of mine!
Maria Rickert Hong, CHHC, AADP
Books: Almost Autism + Brain Under Attack
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