Rasmussens Encephalitis

1229 words - 5 pages

Intro Sample...

The human immune system is an amazing system that is constantly on the alert protecting us from
sicknesses. Thousands of white blood cells travel in our circulatory system destroying all foreign
substances that could cause harm to our body or to any of the millions of processes going on inside. Now
imagine a condition where this awesome system turns against the most complex organ in the human body,
the brain. Deadly as it is, this condition is known as Rasmussen?s encephalitis.
The meaningful research on Rasmussen?s encephalitis was begun (unintentionally) by Scott Rogers
and Lorise Gahring, two neurologists, who were at the time measuring the distribution of glutamate
receptors in the brain. Later on... View More »

Body Sample...

A healthy brain has its blood capillaries enclosed in the
BBB membrane, so such a case as the one mentioned above would not be possible.
As protective as the BBB is, it can be breached by something like a head injury. What was
happening was that the antibodies which were out to get the GluR proteins were somehow finding a way
into the brain and directing an attack towards all GluR receptor proteins in the brain itself.
After some more examinations Rogers and McNamara decided that these attacks were the cause of
the seizures that are often experienced by sufferers of Ramussen?s encephalitis. Then if the case is of
antibodies in the bloodstream, than sufferers of Ramussen?s encephalitis should have them in their
bloodstream and healthy normal peoples shouldn?t. When this was actually tested the results were
positive that Rasmussen sufferers did have these antibodies in their bloodstreams and healthy people did
not. These were not only the right kind of antibodies but, the very antibodies that caused the seizures in
people and rabbits. Thus when these antibodies were removed by plasma exchange(PEX) it caused a
temporary relief from the seizures but soon the body starts making more antibodies of the type and the
seizures start once again. After all the examinations two questions remained, why does the body mount
an immune response against one of its own brain proteins, and how do these antibodies get through the
What is thought right now is that people get antibodies when they are infected by ...

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