State Sen. Joseph J. Crisco, Jr., D-Woodbridge, Senate chair of the legislature’s Insurance and Real Estate Committee, Monday ushered through the Senate his bill to compel a study of Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS).
Crisco said language of the bill requires an exploration of the ‘research on, diagnoses made and treatments prescribed’ for the syndrome.
He said PANDAS seems to be caused by strep or other infections, when antibodies made to fight the infection mistakenly attack instead the portion of the brain that controls thought and muscle function.
“The incidence of PANDAS, while still rare, is increasing at an alarming rate and compounding our concern is the suddenness with which it strikes: I read about one case in which parents sent their child to school one morning without a worry and then were called mid-morning about their child’s acute case of PANDAS,” Crisco said. “This bill will launch an examination of this phenomenon with results due back to the General Assembly by next January 1.”
Crisco explained one of the first obstacles to a complete understanding of PANDAS is the fact there is no test for the condition but rather, doctors use a combined diagnosis of up to five individual criteria.
“PANDAS cannot be treated with antibiotics as most other infections are treated because in this disorder the infection isn’t the culprit – the antibodies are,” Crisco said.
“Another unsolved aspect of the puzzle is seemingly arbitrary susceptibility to PANDAS: the condition seems related to streptococcal or other infections but will not develop in every child who winds up with a strep infection.”
“In order for our state to better understand this emerging condition and prepare itself to help residents stricken by it we simply have to learn more about it and this initiative sets in motion that exploratory phase,” Crisco added. “This bill received the approval of three separate legislative committees and I’m delighted with today’s favorable Senate vote – I now call upon our counterparts in the House for their prompt review and approval.”
This information was released by Crisco's office.
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