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Functional Medicine®

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Functional Medicine Explained

Functional Neurology: Understanding Autoimmune Brain Disease

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How often do you feel more susceptible to pain? Autoimmune brain diseases, such as autoimmune encephalitis and central nervous system (CNS) vasculitis, can tremendously affect an individual’s overall physical and mental health. And, because many of the symptoms can vary from person to person, it can frequently be challenging to diagnose an autoimmune brain disease. Early diagnosis is fundamental for early treatment, as many of the symptoms may ultimately be reversible.

What is Autoimmune Brain Disease?

Autoimmune brain disease happens when the human body’s own immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues in the brain and/or spinal cord, ultimately causing chronic pain and inflammation. Chronic pain and inflammation may then affect brain structure and function, resulting in a variety of symptoms commonly associated with autoimmune brain disease.

Symptoms of Autoimmune Brain Disease

Individuals affected by autoimmune brain diseases can develop a variety of symptoms, including a decline in the participation and engagement of everyday regular tasks, seizures, loss of vision, abnormal movements, weakness in the arms or legs, loss of language, and sleeping problems. Other symptoms may include severe depression and hallucinations, as well as paranoid, obsessive, or erratic behavior. Moreover, there are several common types of autoimmune brain diseases, including:

  • Autoimmune encephalitis
  • Central nervous system (CNS) vasculitis
  • Hashimoto’s encephalopathy (steroid-responsive encephalopathy)
  • Neuromyelitis optica
  • Optic neuritis
  • Autoimmune-related epilepsy
  • Neurosarcoidosis
  • Neuro-Behcet’s disease
  • Cerebral lupus

Common Autoimmune Brain Diseases

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune brain disease in which a persons’ own immune system attacks their brain and/or spinal cord, causing chronic pain and inflammation. MS commonly manifests in the form of relapses and remissions, however, several types of the autoimmune brain disease are progressive. It can cause a variety of neurological symptoms and it generally affects young adults. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent relapses and slow down or prevent disability.

Autoimmune or Paraneoplastic Encephalitis

Autoimmune encephalitis (AIE) is an autoimmune brain disease in which certain antibodies or pathogenic immune cells attack the brain, causing confusion, seizures, movement problems, and other common symptoms. In several patients, AIE can ultimately be associated with existing or developing cancer. Diagnosis is important for the treatment of this health issue.

Transverse Myelitis

Transverse myelitis is an autoimmune brain disease that causes inflammation in the brain and spinal cord, which can occur as a single, isolated event or as part of MS, neuromyelitis optica, or other autoimmune brain diseases. Isolated myelitis generally resolves or improves partially in two-thirds of the cases, however, it can also increase the risk of developing MS over time. Furthermore, healthcare professionals also recommend regular neurological monitoring for transverse myelitis.

Neuromyelitis Optica

Neuromyelitis optica (NMO), or Devic’s disease, is a severe autoimmune brain disease that frequently involves the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord, causing extensive inflammation and tissue damage. It is caused by certain antibodies in the water channels of the central nervous system (CNS) and it can often lead to considerable disability if not diagnosed and treated in time. NMO is more common in African-American and Asian populations and it is not as uncommonly misdiagnosed as MS, which can lead to improper and potentially harmful treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment are important.

Optic Neuritis

Optic neuritis is an autoimmune brain disease in which inflammation of the optic nerve can lead to the temporary, painful and partial loss of vision. Isolated optic neuritis increases the risk of MS and recommends regular neurological monitoring.

Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis

Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) is generally a single instance of severe inflammation in the brain and/or the spinal cord, following a viral infection or vaccination. Unlike MS, ADEM can cause acute mental confusion along with other well-known neurological symptoms, such as seizures, difficulty speaking, and weakness, among other symptoms.

Rare Neuroimmunological Conditions

Other rare neuroimmunological conditions include neurosarcoidosis, stiff person syndrome, Susac’s syndrome, Behcet’s disease, CLIPPERS, IgG4 associated neurological disease, hypertrophic pachymeningitis, steroid-responsive encephalopathy associated with autoimmune thyroiditis (SREAT) or Hashimoto’s encephalopathy, among other autoimmune brain diseases.

Spasticity

Spasticity is an abnormal increase in muscle tone secondary to any pathology affecting the motor tracts in the brain or spinal cord. It can ultimately lead to body stiffness and spasms, causing problems with motor function, comfort, ease of care, and personal hygiene. Common causes of spasticity include MS, myelitis, stroke, traumatic brain or spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, and several hereditary conditions. Spasticity can also cause pain and some discomfort for several individuals.

Autoimmune Brain Disease Diagnosis and Treatment

Research studies on the diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune brain diseases are still considerably new. Unfortunately, this may ultimately lead to misdiagnosis because several symptoms can frequently mimic those of many other health issues. Additionally, the range of symptoms can vary greatly from person to person, both in the types of symptoms and in the severity of symptoms. A comprehensive evaluation and ongoing therapy can help improve brain structure and function.

A healthcare professional, such as a naturopathic doctor or a chiropractor, will perform a full evaluation that includes a thorough review of the patient’s medical history, a complete physical examination, blood tests, and imaging tests. This information allows healthcare professionals to assess the presence of a variety of underlying health issues and problems.

Treatment for autoimmune brain diseases can vary depending on the health issue as well as the type and the severity of the symptoms. To maximize an individual’s ability to recover and decrease symptoms, it is fundamental to treat both the underlying symptoms as well as the underlying source of the health issue. Treatment may include drugs and/or medications that suppress the immune response to decrease pain and inflammation as well as treatment to reduce seizures, psychiatric symptoms, and sleeping problems. A combination of therapies can help achieve the best possible outcomes.

Autoimmune brain disease (AIBD) is a central nervous system (CNS) health issue which happens when the human body’s own immune system or antibodies attack the brain and the spinal cord. Neuroinflammation, also known as brain inflammation, plays a critical role in the development of a variety of neurological disorders, especially autoimmune brain diseases. Early diagnosis and treatment of AIBD is fundamental for overall health and wellness. A naturopathic medical doctor or doctor of chiropractic can help with the assessment of musculoskeletal and nervous system health issues. – Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C., C.C.S.T. Insight


Neurotransmitter Assessment Form

Neurotransmitter Assessment Form AE260 (1)

The following Neurotransmitter Assessment Form can be filled out and presented to Dr. Alex Jimenez. Symptoms listed on this form are not intended to be utilized as a diagnosis of any type of disease, condition, or any other type of health issue.


How often do you feel more susceptible to pain? Autoimmune brain diseases, such as autoimmune encephalitis and central nervous system (CNS) vasculitis, can tremendously affect an individual’s overall physical and mental health. And, because many of the symptoms can vary from person to person, it can frequently be challenging to diagnose an autoimmune brain disease. Early diagnosis is fundamental for early treatment, as many of the symptoms may ultimately be reversible.

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, and nervous health issues or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health protocols to treat injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.

Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez

References:

  • “Autoimmune Brain Diseases.” Duke Health, www.dukehealth.org/pediatric-treatments/autoimmune-brain-disorders.
  • “Autoimmune Neurological Disorders.” University Hospitals. The Science of Health. The Art of Compassion., www.uhhospitals.org/services/neurology-and-neurosurgery-services/multiple-sclerosis-and-neuroimmunology/conditions-we-treat.


Additional Topic Discussion: Chronic Pain

Sudden pain is a natural response of the nervous system which helps to demonstrate possible injury. By way of instance, pain signals travel from an injured region through the nerves and spinal cord to the brain. Pain is generally less severe as the injury heals, however, chronic pain is different than the average type of pain. With chronic pain, the human body will continue sending pain signals to the brain, regardless if the injury has healed. Chronic pain can last for several weeks to even several years. Chronic pain can tremendously affect a patient’s mobility and it can reduce flexibility, strength, and endurance.


Neural Zoomer Plus for Neurological Disease

Dr. Alex Jimenez utilizes a series of tests to help evaluate neurological diseases. The Neural ZoomerTM Plus is an array of neurological autoantibodies which offers specific antibody-to-antigen recognition. The Vibrant Neural ZoomerTM Plus is designed to assess an individual’s reactivity to 48 neurological antigens with connections to a variety of neurologically related diseases. The Vibrant Neural ZoomerTM Plus aims to reduce neurological conditions by empowering patients and physicians with a vital resource for early risk detection and an enhanced focus on personalized primary prevention.

Food Sensitivity for the IgG & IgA Immune Response

Dr. Alex Jimenez utilizes a series of tests to help evaluate health issues associated with food sensitivities. The Food Sensitivity ZoomerTM is an array of 180 commonly consumed food antigens that offers very specific antibody-to-antigen recognition. This panel measures an individual’s IgG and IgA sensitivity to food antigens. Being able to test IgA antibodies provides additional information to foods that may be causing mucosal damage. Additionally, this test is ideal for patients who might be suffering from delayed reactions to certain foods. Utilizing an antibody-based food sensitivity test can help prioritize the necessary foods to eliminate and create a customized diet plan around the patient’s specific needs.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C.,C.C.S.T

Welcome-Bienvenido's to our blog. We focus on treating severe spinal disabilities and injuries. We also treat Sciatica, Neck and Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sport Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven therapies focused on optimal mobility, health, fitness, and structural conditioning. We use Individualized Diet Plans, Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, Adapted Cross-Fit Protocols and the "PUSH System" to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems. If you would like to learn more about a Doctor of Chiropractic who uses advanced progressive techniques to facilitate complete physical health, please connect with me. We a focus on simplicity to help restore mobility and recovery. I'd love to see you. Connect!

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