Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis
(SSPE; Dawson Disease)
DefinitionSubacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) is a condition that affects the brain and spine. It is a gradual break down of nerve cells from constant swelling.When left untreated, SSPE almost always leads to death.
|Central Nervous System|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
CausesSSPE is caused either by an altered form of the measles virus or an abnormal immune response to measles. It occurs anywhere from 2-10 years after contracting measles.
Risk FactorsSSPE is more common in male, and in those aged 5-15 years old. Other factors that may increase your chance of SSPE include:
- Measles infection in infancy
- Not being vaccinated against measles
- Arabs and Sephardic Jews have an incidence that is 6 times higher than Ashkenazi Jews.
- Caucasians have a 4-fold higher incidence than African Americans in the United States.
SymptomsSymptoms of SSPE may include:
- Abnormal behavior
- Loss of intellectual abilities
- Memory loss
- Involuntary movements
- Inability to walk
- Speech impairment with poor understanding
- Difficulty swallowing
- Loss of consciousness
DiagnosisYour doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.Tests may include blood tests and an electrocardiogram (EKG).Imaging tests to evaluate bodily structures may include:
More from Beliefnet
A systematic review found that participants given chewing gum after abdominal surgery may have a faster return to normal for their digestive system. Unfortunately, the quality of trials is low and more research will need to be done before this simple solution is confirmed.
Early Peanut Consumption Associated with Lower Risk of Peanut Allergy in High Risk Children
Breastfeeding May Decrease the Risk of Childhood Obesity
Tonsillectomy May Reduce Number of Sore Throat Days in Children