Current research studies

Understanding Consequences of Encephalitis

Dr. ARUn VEnkatesan of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore & Dr. Anusha Yekoshumar of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.  2019

While encephalitis may result in the development of a number of persistent symptoms, these have not been well studied. A better understanding of the persistent symptoms in people affected by encephalitis may lead to the development of targeted therapeutic and rehabilitation measures to enhance function and quality of life.

This study will include patients between 18 – 84 years of age who are diagnosed with any form of encephalitis. Participants will be recruited from the Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance, Encephalitis Society and several clinics.

Changes in Language Throughout Symptom Onset and Recovery in Individuals with Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis

Dr. Anusha Yekoshumar and Kelsey e martin of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. 2019

Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis (anti-NMDARE) is a form of autoimmune encephalitis typically characterized by early psychiatric symptoms that progress to seizures, abnormal movements, and alterations in consciousness. Few studies have explored early cognitive changes, such as language, or psychiatric prodromal symptoms of the disease. This study will focus on analysis of early changes in language, supported by studies demonstrating that changes in coherence and complexity predict onset of first break psychosis.

 

Long-term outcomes study in autoimmune encephalitis

Dr. Anusha Yekoshumar of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. 2018

The Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance is participating in a study to better understand the challenges AE survivors face during recovery and in the years following diagnosis. There is a survey designed for caregivers as well, which will provide useful information to researchers. We hear from many patients who are facing ongoing struggles to return to life as “normal” and caregivers desiring to help their loved ones recover. We hope this study will shed new light on the needs in this area and lead to advances in rehabilitation that will ultimately benefit patients and caregivers.

The idea for this research arose as it has become clear many patients are still struggling with various types of challenges several years later including fatigue, cognitive symptoms (such as memory and concentration), and emotional symptoms. These issues may be overlooked in a standard neurological exam. A study about the subject was published in late 2017. The abstract may be viewed here.