Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis

We are, in the end, a sum of our parts, and when the body fails, all the virtues we hold dear go with it – Brain on Fire, Susannah Cahalan

Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis
Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis

image by: The Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis Foundation, Inc

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Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis - An Inside Look

Sheila was driving everyone crazy. Sheila was loud, excitable, erratic, and messy. Really messy. More importantly, her wild behavior was starting to affect the whole neighborhood. And everyone used to get along so well. They dreamed together. They created great art together. They did math homework together. They had wonderful planning sessions together. They were a well organized group of high functioning neurons committed to helping the brain function efficiently and effortlessly. But not anymore. Now their area was filled with excess metabolites floating around a group of tired and overworked neurons.

“This is all Sheila’s fault. Her crazy behavior is ruining the whole neighborhood,”…

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 Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis - An Inside Look

Sheila was driving everyone crazy. Sheila was loud, excitable, erratic, and messy. Really messy.

Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis Foundation

The Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis Foundation exists for all patients and caregivers, at all stages of illness and recovery. Together we will continue the battle; we will encourage those in the trenches; and we will fight for the memory of those no longer with us. Join us in our goals to promote awareness, provide support, and raise funds for research committed to understanding and ending this and related diseases.

Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance

The Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance promotes collaboration to improve care, find a cure and create community so that no one faces autoimmune encephalitis alone.

Encephalitis Society

At onset, the most distinctive features include prominent psychiatric symptoms, seizures, confusion and memory loss. Patients will sometimes show bizarre and often rather disturbing behaviours. They may see things which aren’t there, develop strange beliefs or appear agitated. Typically 10 to 20 days later, patients develop a movement disorder, variations in blood pressure, heart rate and temperature and may become less conscious. The movement disorder often consists of continuous writhing and twitching of face and limbs but can also be a generalised slowing-down of movement. Most patients develop several of these features, but very rarely individual patients may experience only a few of these features.

International Autoimmune Encephalitis Society

The International Autoimmune Encephalitis Society is a Family/Patient centered organization that assists patients from getting a diagnosis to recovery and the many challenges experienced throughout that journey.

Jenny's Blog

My life before, during and after autoimmune limbic encephalitis with positive NMDA receptors.

Sophie Gwyther

Life before, during and after NMDAR Encephalitis.


Although only first reported as a diagnosis in 2007, an exponential number of cases have since been described, suggesting that the disease is not rare but rather under-diagnosed. Emergency physicians play an important role in recognizing this disorder, as prognosis is largely dependent on early treatment with immunotherapy.

BC Emergency Medicine Network

The classic presentation is subacute onset psychiatric symptoms with non-specific neurological complaints (e.g. movement abnormalities, speech disorder), often with a preceding viral prodrome. Compared to primary psychiatric diagnoses, the onset tends to be more rapid and there are more mixed symptoms (e.g. rapidly fluctuating agitation/catatonia, mania/depression, pressured speech/mutism).


Emergency department management is supportive, focusing on control of psychosis, seizures, and autonomic instability. Empiric treatment for meningitis and herpes encephalitis should also be started, as the results of definitive testing will take a while. Ultimately, the patient will require IVIG, steroids, and plasma exchange.

Life in the Fastlane

Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis is an under-recognised progressive neurological disorder caused by antibodies against NR1-NR2 NMDA receptors. 60% of patients with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis have the presence of a tumour (most commonly teratoma)


Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis is an under-recognized neurologic described disorder described in 2007 due to antibodies to the NMDA receptor and is often associated with GYN tumors (most commonly ovarian teratoma).

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