Anti-N-Methyl-d-aspartate-receptor encephalitis: Cognitive profile in two children

Enzo Iadisernia, Francesca Maria Battaglia, Elena Vanadia, Emanuele Trapolino, Angela Vincent, Roberta Biancheri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Anti-N-Methyl d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) encephalitis is an autoimmune disorder associated with antibodies against NMDAR resulting in a characteristic neuropsychiatric syndrome characterized by seizures, dyskinesias, and cognitive impairment. The extent and specific tasks associated with cognitive dysfunction in anti-NMDAR encephalitis have not been fully investigated. Aims: To describe cognitive and neuropsychological profile in two children with anti-NMDAR encephalitis. Methods: Clinical, laboratory, cognitive and neuropsychological assessments have been performed. Cognitive functions have been evaluated one year after the disease onset, at age 4 years and 10 months in one patient and at age 5 years and 5 months in the other subject. The first patient has been re-assessed one year after the first evaluation. Results: Both children, who were reported to be normal before disease onset, showed a severe neurological impairment during the acute phase of disease with progressive substantial recovery following treatment. Selective and prolonged attention, activation and integration of semantic information and verbal fluency were particularly impaired. Significant improvements were observed at neuropsychological re-assessment. Conclusions: Executive dysfunction seems to be the "core" of the neuropsychological profile of children with anti-NMDAR encephalitis. Cognitive abilities may be, at least to some extent, recovered providing that immunomodulatory treatment and specific psychomotor and pedagogical therapy are started soon after disease onset.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-82
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Paediatric Neurology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


  • Cognitive
  • Encephalitis
  • Neuropsychology
  • NMDA receptor
  • Pediatric disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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