PARENTS LISTEN UP!
SOME DOCTORS BELIEVE IF LEFT UNTREATED A COMMON INFECTION IN KIDS...COULD LEAD TO MENTAL ILLNESS.
TONIGHT'S HEALTHCAST SHOWS FAMILIES THE SIGNS THEY NEED TO WATCH OUT FOR.
MADELINE GREENSTEIN IS BACK TO BEING A HAPPY, OUTGOING SIX-YEAR-OLD...
"She's kind of like the life of the party."
BUT JUST A YEAR AGO, THREE STREP INFECTIONS IN THREE MONTHS...LED TO SOME STRANGE BEHAVIOR.
"She would start asking me questions. And I would have to answer them in a specific way."
HER ANXIETY TURNED INTO CONSTANT FEAR...
"I think about scary stuff and then I get scared."
WITHIN TWO MONTHS...
"Crying hysterically over nothing. High pitch laughing like what you would hear in a mental institute."
MADDIE WAS SUFFERING..WHAT'S CALLED PANDAS... BELIEVED TO BE CAUSED BY A STREP INFECTION.
"The key is the psychiatric symptoms just start overnight."
DOCTOR MICHAEL JENIKE SAYS THE BODY'S IMMUNE SYSTEM USUALLY MAKES ANTIBODIES TO ATTACK THE INFECTION, BUT WITH PANDAS, THE ANTIBODIES SEEM TO ATTACK PART OF THE BRAIN. THAT CAN LEAD TO THE SUDDEN ONSET OF O-C-D, SEPARATION ANXIETY, ANOREXIA, BED-WETTING, TICS, OR THE WORSENING OF MOTOR SKILLS AND HANDWRITING.
"I now hear and see patients all the time who have these kinds of sudden onset illnesses. We put them on antibiotics and the illnesses clear up in a week or two."
"This could be a trouble throughout their whole life."
MADDIE STARTED TAKING ANTIBIOTICS AND THE RESULTS WERE IMMEDIATE.
"I feel like we're on our path to recovery."
ONE SHE'S THRILLED TO BE ON...
BECAUSE PANDAS IS JUST STARTING TO BE UNDERSTOOD, IT IS NOT KNOWN HOW MANY CHILDREN HAVE DEVELOPED PSYCHIATRIC ILLNESSES BECAUSE OF IT.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON PANDAS GO TO http://ocfoundation.org/default.aspx?id=2529&terms=pandas
Copyright 2013 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved.