No – this is not about a cooking utensil or a black and white bear. PANS/PANDAS is a serious autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks parts of the brain, causing many different symptoms in children, but it can also occur in adults. Sometimes it is triggered by a streptococcal infection (PANDAS – Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Strep). This was the first condition of its kind ever discovered – where a bacterial infection in the body causes a cross-reaction of the immune system to start attacking brain tissues causing neurologic/psychiatric symptoms. Later, it was discovered that this same phenomenon can occur with other kinds of infections and even toxins – and that is called PANS (Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome). These conditions cause sudden (sometimes overnight) dramatic changes in a child’s neurologic function, mood, and behavior. Symptoms often include sudden onset obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms, restrictive eating, depression, irritability, anxiety including separation anxiety, rage, sudden difficulty with schoolwork and handwriting, sensory sensitivities, motor abnormalities including tics or abnormal movements, behavioral regression including bed wetting, and sleep disturbances. These conditions cause extreme distress for the parents and family, and the child suffers tremendously. Again, similar symptoms can occur in adults as well and the treatments are the same. It is imperative to find the underlying triggers of the autoimmune attack and to eliminate them. Triggers such as mold exposure and underlying viral and bacterial infections including Lyme disease are common causes. Treatments can include antibiotics or herbs to treat infections, anti-inflammatory agents to calm the “fire in the brain”, dietary interventions, working on healing leaky gut, and more. At Optimal Health Spectrums, we take a very comprehensive approach to dealing with PANS/PANDAS, and most patients improve greatly when they are treated appropriately.