Dr. Alison discusses the top symptoms of PANS/PANDAS, what causes this type of brain dysfunction, and how to help. She also shares her son’s story of recovery from PANDAS! Schedule a consult online: https://bit.ly/2Y2yMyF
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Hello everyone. This is Dr. Alison, DiBarto Goggin with little black bag medicine. And today we are talking about brain health, is your brain on fire, what’s going on with their kids and their behavior. And how do we dress up what to look for and how to fix it too. So we’re going to specifically talk about pans or pandas, which is pediatric acute onset neuropsychiatric syndrome. It’s a long one. And if it’s pandas, that’s the same thing, but it’s associated with strep. And what that means is it’s an abrupt onset of OCD, regression, or even restrictive food intake. And I think with everybody, either being in quarantine or the past year in 2020, we’re home with our kids a lot more we’re homeschooling. And we’re noticing how sometimes they get really triggered or where did this behavior come from? Where their handwriting was really good yesterday.
And today it’s horrible and they’re not focused and they’re losing their mind. What’s going on.
And as an adult, you might have these things as well, where one day you’re doing great and the next day can’t do math. Can’t remember anything reading gives you migraines. There’s something going on with your brain or maybe one day your OCD kicks back in. And you’re like, wow, I haven’t done those things since I was a kid. Where’s this coming from? So today we want to talk really about symptoms triggers, and then what we’re going to test for and how we’re going to look for it. Because a lot of these things that might be going on and you don’t even realize that it’s because it’s a brain issue. And I’m going to tell you about my son who actually went through this and what we did for him as well.
So the symptoms most commonly, like I said, this can be abrupt or it can be, it can be slow, especially if it’s associated with a strep infection where you just notice, they slowly start regressing. And then one day you’re like, wow, you’re a completely different kid. What happened? There’s a lot of mood issues with anxiety. Depression. Rage is a big one and self harm in children who have no reason to self harm as one of the issues, they might have regression with speech. They might have physical regression there. They were walking. Now they’re back to crawling or they can’t stand up or their joints hurt. And the regression and sleep as well. They might have sensory and motor issues where they didn’t before they might have ticks, they might not want to wear their clothes anymore. All of a sudden that little tag is bothering them.
Another symptom that can be associated with PANS is frequent urination where you’re going to the bathroom every 10 minutes. And they’re just really uncomfortable with that. We talked about a change in handwriting. So you might notice that over the months it’s gotten worse or all of a sudden it’s gotten worse. They might be more clumsy, tripping over things. You might be finding bruises all over, like, where did this come from is because they’re losing that coordination in their brain and their, their cerebellum. They might have brain fog, memory issues, another big sign that is related to the gut, but also the brain is eczema or psoriasis. Patches might start showing up. Another two, the last two are uncommon, but it’s something that might be triggering you like, Oh, this might be it. So if your kids or your pupils are just constantly dilated, because that means that the sympathetic nervous system is just woken up and it can’t turn off.
And we need to support that or hypercoagulability, which means that the blood claps really easily. So if your kids scratches their hand or their foot or something like that, and it doesn’t bleed, that’s a sign that the immune system is actually really overwhelmed and something else is going out and we should lead and then slowly caught to heal. We shouldn’t just be clotting immediately. So that’s another big sign that something is going on. So none of the major triggers is usually an infection. Most commonly, a strep that we think of, but also Lyme disease. We can have viruses like Epstein-Barr the flu we can have. COVID now hand, foot and mouth is also really common to have, but also as an infection in the brain, really any infection can cause us. So my son is now he’s nine years old. Oh, and he’s eight and a half.
He’s almost nine years old. And when he was about 18 months old, he just stopped talking. He stopped singing, he stopped eating. And we were just like, what in the world happened? What happened to her kid who would have eaten anything gladly? And now I can’t even get them to eat a pizza, like his favorite foods. And what had happened is he had a double ear infection that we didn’t catch because he wasn’t crying. He wasn’t playing on his ears. And then it re progressed into a fever. And I think what wasn’t caught was a strep infection in his throat and it progressed into his brain. And so just like our, our gut, our brain has a lining called the blood brain barrier and is protective of the brain, but it can also become a leaky. It can become the cells come spread apart. They will allow more to pass through in the blood stream.
And so if an infection like strep or I’ve seen Mark gets into the brain, it can inflame the immune system that lives in the body, but also the brain causing all of these regressions affecting neuro-transmitters my rate, things like that. So then happened for him. So what we ended up doing is putting him into occupational therapy first where we told her, told he autistic he’ll never progress. He has all of these issues. We also started speech therapy. And luckily for us that I figured out that it was Pam’s, it wasn’t infection. We were able to continue the therapies, but along with immune system, modulators changing a lot with his food protecting his immune system, he was able to progress and it did take a lot of work. It did take a lot of time. And even last year in second grade, his teacher was very unkind about his handwriting and they simply refuse to understand what was going out.
But now in third grade, he’s made major changes, inhaling, super supportive teachers as well, who understand these types of issues is also very helpful. So understanding what those triggers are. So in functional medicine, we don’t say, what, and what are we going to fix it? We ask why, why are these things happening? So if your child has this issue or have had them in the past, or all of a sudden is flaring up, this is a good time to say, okay, what happened the days before the week before? Even the month before, because maybe like us, they have an underlying infection that wasn’t caught. Did they have an infection? Did you travel? Did you drink water, eat food somewhere that might’ve been infected with something, did you go camping and maybe you got bitten by a tick that you didn’t notice. And now there’s Lyme in your system.
Did you have a food that might’ve been inflammatory? All of these things, even a concussion or an accident in a car accident where there was some whiplash, but there wasn’t any damage might have affected the body in that way as well. So another thing is a mold is really common. So if you moved and you’re in a new home, that could be an issue, or if there was a flood in the basement and you need to pull the carpet up, what’s going on? Where might these issues becoming from something that’s really common that parents say is, Oh, my kid’s acting out because we just moved or there’s a new baby, and they’re really upset and they need attention. Or we just got divorced and times are really stressful. And that is definitely part of it. And play therapy can be immensely helpful for these situations, but if they don’t resolve or they keep getting worse, or you’re having these other symptoms like, Oh my gosh, they’re falling down all the time.
Or they’re really regressing. This might be something deeper that you need to get checked out. So we need to find and fix that trigger. First of all. So doing blood work to do antibodies for any of these infections, check for lime check for viruses. I like to do stool tests on kids because it tells us, are there any infections that are living in the gut, which means they’re living everywhere else. Like C diff is very common for kids who have emotional and behavioral issues, and it might not be autism or spectrum issues. It might not even be pans. It could be something living in the gut, but we can test for EBV there. We can test for cytomegalovirus as well, and we can do mold testing. We can do heavy metal testing, all of those things, but that gets very expensive very, very quickly.
So that’s why it’s really important for you as a parent or for yourself to really dig into your history, go, okay, what actually happened? What might have triggered this so that you have a good starting basis doing all of these panels, you can’t absolutely do them. Insurance will cover them sometimes.
So just as a heads up, we really just want to be specific and do the most specific tests that we can instead of assuming every single test that we could possibly do. And then we really need to work on decreasing inflammation in the body and in the brain sealing up that blood brain barrier. So it is effective in doing its job and protecting against viruses and inflammation, things like that, and then supporting the immune system. So it’s not constantly triggered, which also means working on gut health, things like that. I see a lot of kids who have just those dark circles under their eyes, which usually indicates infection and food sensitivities.
They’re raging, they’re screaming, they’re swearing, they’re, they don’t have that impulse control. This is a time to get that checked out while they’re home. You can monitor their behavior and their foods. I strongly recommend cutting out. Every single dye is not just red dye is all of the food dyes on because they are inflammatory for the brain and we really want to help our kids. And there’s so many options now to have the same foods, I’m thinking like fruit snacks, cause that’s like a staple. And we can make our own fruit snacks, or you can get fruit snacks that are dyed naturally without the red dice, yellow dyes. So blue diets that are so harmful for the body. And then you can do the work on the gut and changing their food. And I know this is really hard. Trust me. I once paid my son a dollar to eat a piece of chicken.
I understand how difficult it is to get picky eaters, to eat food. But when you’re home, you can start to introduce these things. And as their gut heals, their brain heals, and their immune system heals, their food tastes will change. I can promise you as they heal. So that is it for today. Thank you for tuning in. If you have any questions or you want to get started and get your health back on track, shoot me a message on Facebook or you can schedule online to get started and we’ll get your testing scheduled so that we can figure out what’s really going out for you. And we’ll see you next time. Thanks.