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Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis 

Names

Description

Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis
ADEM

Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) is a brief but intense attack of inflammation in the brain, spinal cord, and occasionally the optic nerves that damages the brain’s myelin (the white coating of nerve fibers).

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Prevalence

Cases in the US: 1200-2500 per year
Source: Orphanet

Notes
1. ADEM is very rare
2. ADEM is episodic. Patients experience a full recovery from the disease, which often occurs following an infection or vaccination. Therefore it is not considered chronic and it is not included in our prevalence statistics

Typical Age of onset

Childhood: 80% of patients are under 10
Rare in patients over 20

Symptoms

  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Unsteadiness
  • Falling
  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Weakness in arms
  • Weakness in legs
  • Seizures

Source:  Cleveland Clinic