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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 19, 2014 10:48 AM
From: Representative Tina M. Davis
To: All House members
Subject: Resolution Designating October 9, 2015, as “PANDAS Awareness Day” in Pennsylvania
In the near future, I will introduce a resolution designating October 9, 2015, as “PANDAS Awareness Day” in Pennsylvania.

Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS) is a term used to describe a subset of children who experience a sudden onset of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and/or tic disorder symptoms following a streptococcal infection, such as strep throat. The theory behind PANDAS is that the antibodies generated to fight off the strep infection mistakenly attack a part of the brain called the Basal Ganglia, which is responsible for movement and behavior. It is estimated that as many as 1 in 200 children in the United States have PANDAS.

A child suffering from PANDAS experiences a sudden and dramatic onset of symptoms to include motor or vocal tics and personality and behavior changes such as ADHD symptoms, separation anxiety, mood changes, eating disorders, sleep disturbance, enuresis, deterioration in motor and cognitive abilities, and irritability or aggression. The diagnosis for PANDAS is a clinical diagnosis, meaning there are no lab tests available for diagnosis and clinicians must use several diagnostic criteria. Treatment options for PANDAS are the same for the standard treatment of OCD and tic disorders, including cognitive behavioral therapy and anti-obsessional medications.

PANDAS is frequently misdiagnosed and mistreated due to the lack of awareness and conflicting interpretations and subjective observation in the medical community. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has dedicated resources to research and broaden awareness of the disorder, but PANDAS still remains a subject of much debate and controversy.

Please join me in recognizing October 9, 2015, as “PANDAS Awareness Day” to bring awareness of this new and unfamiliar disorder to the public and medical community and encourage more research to determine the cause of PANDAS and more effective treatments for children suffering from the disorder.

Introduced as HR462