CUNNINGHAM PANEL™ – PANS/PANDAS
Revolutionising the way we look at mental disorders.
A psychiatric condition, behavioural disorder … or an autoimmune issue?
In some individuals, common infections such as strep, influenza, mycoplasma pneumoniae and sinusitis can trigger an autoimmune dysfunction causing inflammation in the brain and a variety of neurological and other symptoms. These are often classed as OCD, tics, ADHD, depression and behaviours associated with autism spectrum disorder.
“We can’t say how many kids with psychiatric symptoms have an underlying immune or inflammatory component to their disorder, but given the burgeoning research indicating that inflammation drives mood disorders and other psychiatric problems, it’s likely to be a large subset of children and even adults diagnosed with psychiatric illnesses.”
(Kiki Chang, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Stanford University Medical School)
The Cunningham Panel by Moleculera
AONM is now a partner of Moleculera Labs in Oklahoma, US. Moleculera Labs is a pioneer in developing and offering advanced testing services that assist clinicians in identifying whether an individual’s neurological and/or other symptoms could be caused by an autoimmune dysfunction. Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), tics, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and sometimes behaviours associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders have been found to be caused by a treatable autoimmune condition, triggered by common infections. A unique test for this offered by Moleculera Labs is the Cunningham Panel™. This panel tests for five markers that can help identify the level of autoimmune antibodies and the capability they have to stimulate and trigger neurological behaviour.
If one or more of these five assay values is elevated, it may indicate a clinically significant autoimmune neurological condition. This is a condition in which the patient’s autoantibodies cross-react and are directed against selected neuronal targets in the brain which are involved in neuropsychiatric and/or motor functions.
PANS AND PANDAS
The broad general terms for these conditions are PANS and PANDAS … But what does that mean?
PANS is the acronym for Paediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome.
PANDAS is an acronym for Paediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal infection and is now considered a subset of the broader classification, PANS.
These are autoimmune conditions that disrupt a child’s normal neurological activity. In general terms PANDAS is triggered by group-A beta-haemolytic streptococcal infections, whereas PANS has another infection or infections underlying it.
Unfortunately, children and adolescents suffering from PANDAS often go unrecognized or are misdiagnosed.
Medical professionals who are not familiar with this condition may attribute the personality changes to rebellious developmental stages, or poor parenting.
Typically, PANS and PANDAS children have seen multiple medical specialists in search of an answer, sometimes being dismissed entirely or incorrectly diagnosed with a mental illness and prescribed psychiatric medications.
PANS/PANDAS occur when the immune system produces antibodies, intended to fight an infection, and instead mistakenly attacks healthy tissue in the child’s brain, resulting in inflammation of the brain (basal ganglia section) and inducing a sudden onset of movement disorders and abnormal neurological behaviours. This 6-minute vimeo gives further details based on very recent ground-breaking research.
Often there are attempts to manage only the symptoms. Effective treatment must properly target the infection if present, and address the underlying immune system issues.
INFORMATION FOR PARENTS AND PATIENTS
What To Look For
- Onset of OCD, tics, anorexia, anxiety, sleep disturbances, aggression/rages, ADHD, mood swings, irrational fears, sensory abnormalities or other neuropsychiatric symptoms, following an infection(s).
- Patients may have a new or current neuropsychiatric diagnosis.
- Infections can be viral, bacterial, fungal, parasitic or caused by environmental factors. They may include the flu, chronic sinusitis, mononucleosis, mycoplasma pneumoniae, herpes simplex (HSV1/2), or Lyme disease (Borreliosis, which can also develop into Neuroborreliosis) and coinfections.
- Treatment with psychotropic medications may worsen and generally does not resolve the symptoms.
There is already a comprehensive body of studies supporting these conditions and the testing that can help practitioners come to a correct diagnosis.
Practitioners wishing to know more about this condition would be advised to look at the Moleculera website here. Also please contact The Academy of Nutritional Medicine (AONM) as we offer training seminars and help to answer your questions.
THE CUNNINGHAM PANEL OVERVIEW
The Cunningham Panel™ can help identify the level of autoimmune antibodies associated with Neuropsychiatric Disorders and the capability they have to stimulate and trigger neurological behaviour. Elevated levels of these antibodies indicate that a child’s symptoms may be due to an infection-induced autoimmune response.
The Cunningham Panel can help the practitioner determine whether there are infections present and consequently treat those infections rather than view the condition as a psychiatric illness.
For more information on these tests and how these conditions can occur please follow this link to Cunningham Panel.