What is psychosis?

 

Psychosis is a mental health problem that causes people to perceive or interpret things differently from those around them. This might involve hallucinations or delusions, but often presents with a number of symptoms.

 

More information can be found on the NHS Choices website.

 

Support and information can also be found through the websites of the mental health charities Mind and Rethink.

 

Contact your GP if you think you or someone else are having psychotic experiences.

What is encephalitis?

 

Encephalitis is a condition that causes inflammation in the brain.

 

Encephalitis usually begins with flu-like symptoms, and can go on to present with changes in mental state,seizures or changes in personality and behaviour.

 

There are a number of causes of encephalitis, of which one is an autoimmune response. This can be to tumors or normal body tissue.

What is an autoimmune disease?

 

An autoimmune disease occurs when a person's immune system begins to respond to normal bodily substances and tissues as if it were foreign or pathogenic.

 

There are many know autoimmune disorders that can affect different bodily fluids and tissue. They can usually be treated with immunotherapy - where the immune system is supresse to stop the autoimmune response.

What are NMDAR and VGKC antibodies?

 

NMDA-r stands for 'N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor'. This is a receptor in the brain that is specific to the neurotransmitter glutamate.

 

VGKC stands for 'voltage gated potassium channel complex' antibodies (including to LGI1). These channels regulate the

membrane potential and thus help control neurotransmitter release.

 

Recent studies have shown that there are autoimmune diseases that produce antibodies to specifically target parts of NMDA receptors and VGK channels and disrupt their function.

 

Our PPiP study is investigating how commonly these antibodies are present in patients experiencing psychosis.

 

Our SINAPPS clinical trial will investigate whether patients experiencing psychosis who are positive for these antibodies get better after being treated with immunotherapy.

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