A young woman’s weeklong bout of “strange behavior” was caused by a rare disease in which the immune system attacks the brain, according to a new report of the woman’s case.
The 27-year-old woman went to the emergency room in Colorado after a week of feeling ill. She had began experiencing short-term memory loss and anxiety, and later developed agitation, hallucinations and involuntary movements, the doctors who treated her wrote in their report.
Prior to that week, the woman had been healthy. She told the doctors that she hadn’t drank alcohol, smoked tobacco or used any drugs, according to the report, published Nov. 30 in The New England Journal of Medicine.
The doctors ran tests and carefully evaluated the woman’s symptoms, eventually ruling out that the problem could be an infection, or the result of a toxin or a metabolic disorder.
The woman’s age, sex and the involuntary muscle movements suggested that she might have had a rare type of encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, called anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, according to the report. The NMDA receptor, or N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor, is found on cells in the brain…
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