NINDS Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis Information Page: NINDS


Article title: NINDS Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis Information Page: NINDS
Conditions: Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis
What is Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis?
Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADE) is a neurological disorder characterized by inflammation of the brain and spinal cord caused by damage to the myelin sheath. The myelin sheath is the fatty covering, which acts as an insulator, on nerve fibers in the brain. ADE may occur in association with a viral or bacterial infection, as a complication of inoculation or vaccination, or without a preceding cause. Onset of the disorder is sudden. Symptoms, which vary among individuals, may include headache, delirium, lethargy, coma, seizures, stiff neck, fever, ataxia, optic neuritis, transverse myelitis, vomiting, and weight loss. Other symptoms may include monoparesis (paralysis of a single limb) or hemiplegia (paralysis on one side of the body). The disorder occurs in children more often than in adults.

Is there any treatment?
Generally, treatment for ADE includes corticosteroid medications. Other treatment is symptomatic and supportive.

What is the prognosis?
The prognosis for individuals with ADE varies. Some patients achieve complete or nearly complete recovery while others may have residual deficits. Some severe cases of ADE may be fatal. Overall, the prognosis is good when the disorder is diagnosed early and treated promptly.

What research is being done?
The NINDS supports research on demyelinating disorders, such as ADE, aimed at increasing understanding of these disorders, and finding ways to prevent and cure them.


National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
P.O. Box 8923
(100 Route 37)
New Fairfield, CT 06812-8923
Tel: 203-746-6518 800-999-NORD (6673)
Fax: 203-746-6481

This fact sheet is in the public domain. You may copy it.Provided by:
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892

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