New Canadian Study outlines relative risk of long-term cognitive impairment in patients recovering from Autoimmune Encephalitis

A new Canadian study has evaluated cognitive impairment in a series of patients with autoimmune encephalitis. This study shows that over 50% of patients exhibit some forms of cognitive impairment 20 months post diagnosis. Although the numberof patients evaluated in this study was relatively small, several the factors correlated with the level of impairment: 1) presentation of encephalitis with epileptic seizures showed higher frequency of impairment, and 2) if the target of autoimmune antibodies was NMDAR, there was a lower frequency of cognitive impairment (30% of patients compared to 75% in patients with anti-LGI1 antibodies).

Perhaps the most important result of this study was the observation that a delay in treatment (>60 days from the first presentation of symptoms)was associated with a higher frequency of long-term impairment. This work highlights the importance of rapid diagnosis and treatment of patients with suspected autoimmune encephalitis.

Full text available on request.