Monitoring treatment response with neuropsychological testing in AE

Although a majority of patients with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis make a good recovery, it can take time for patients to recover. Physicians are often looking for objective means to assess a patient’s recovery and ways to monitor for relapses. Researchers at Northwestern and Massachusetts General recently published a case study in which they used a more comprehensive neuropsychological assessment than the often-used modified Rankin scale, as they noted this test has been missing ongoing deficits in AE patients. In this case the patient’s progress with speech was monitored objectively over a 1-year period, allowing more informed treatment decisions regarding anti-seizure medications and choice of immunotherapy. The authors stated that although further research is needed, “this case highlights the importance of following a comprehensive neuropsychological profile as a clinically relevant biomarker to guide therapeutic decision-making in autoimmune encephalitis.” They noted that these assessments are available across a wide range of domains typically affected in AE, such as memory, visuospatial, speech, attention, executive function and psychiatric functioning. The abstract can be viewed here.