Importance of early treatment in anti-LGI1 autoimmune encephalitis

July 13, 2018

We are thankful that studies are underway around the world on AE and its many subtypes to better understand the disease and develop new treatments. Recently an international group of physicians worked together to study 103 patients with antibodies to LGI1 and faciobrachial dystonic seizures, made up of those for whom the Oxford Autoimmune Neurology Group (UK) had provided consultation over a 5-year period. This disorder is often recognized by a specific type of seizure called “faciobrachial dystonic,” which involves frequent, short jerking of an arm or leg associated with facial twitching on the same side. Cognitive impairment (problems with memory, confusion and executive function) is often a feature as well. One of the questions the researchers were studying was whether it would benefit a patient’s cognitive function if the seizures were stopped by prompt treatment with immunotherapy. They found that earlier treatment did lead to better outcomes and less cognitive impairment over time. Therefore, early recognition of this type of AE is very important. This type is also unlike anti-NMDA AE in the patient group affected. A majority of cases (about 62%) are men in their middle 60s, however other age groups and women may be affected. Those interested may read the full study here.