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Worsening Parkinson's disease or encephalitis?

A recent report published in the Journal of Neuroimmunology calls medical professionals to watch for encephalitis in patients diagnosed with other neurological disorders, like Parkinson disease.

Encephalitis may present as rapidly worsening neurological disorder

The case involves a 71-year-old woman diagnosed with Parkinson's. Two years after her diagnosis she began having difficulty moving her left arm. The medical team initially believed this development was a symptom of her previously diagnosed Parkinson's. Within months, the woman also experienced increased difficulty swallowing and moving other parts of her body. 

Due to the patient's failure to respond to treatment, her cerebrospinal fluid was tested. The test resulted in the finding of antibodies N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) - a sign of encephalitis.

The patient received treatment for encephalitis and regained function, with a complete recovery within months.

Lesson from the case: Misdiagnosis not uncommon

The symptoms commonly attributed to encephalitis are often similar to Parkinson disease and other neurological disorders. These symptoms can include tremor, a slowing of physical movement that often presents as a shuffling gait (bradykinesia) and muscle rigidity.

Unfortunately, a failure to properly diagnosis encephalitis is not uncommon. This post focuses on the case of a senior citizen battling to have her disease correctly diagnosed and a previous post from last month shared the story of a young woman with encephalitis wrongly diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Those who are wrongly diagnosed and suffer injury as a result may qualify for legal remedies. Contact an attorney experiment in in the misdiagnosis of encephalitis to discuss your options.

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