Dr. Kadam Nagpal

Head and Consultant - Neuroimmunology & Movement Disorders And Neurology

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Reviewed by

Dr. Kadam Nagpal

Head and Consultant - Neuroimmunology & Movement Disorders And Neurology

Manipal Hospitals, Delhi

Autoimmune Encephalitis - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatments

Reviewed by:

Dr. Kadam Nagpal

Posted On: May 08, 2024

blogs read 4 Min Read

All About Autoimmune Encephalitis

The immune system is the defense mechanism of the body. It helps protect the body against infections and foreign bodies which might cause harm to the health. Therefore, autoimmune encephalitis is defined as brain inflammation caused by a misdirected immune response against self-antigens expressed in the central nervous system . This condition is  often been termed as “ Brain on Fire”


What is Autoimmune Encephalitis?

Autoimmune encephalitis is a condition that is considered in patients presenting with sub-acute memory impairment, altered mental status or psychiatric condition and movement disorders Awareness of this entity is increasing amongst clinicians due to the detection of neural antibody markers in blood or cerebrospinal fluid.

What are the Causes of Autoimmune Encephalitis?

The exact autoimmune encephalitis causes are unknown. However, it is believed to be triggered by a combination of factors, including:

  • Viral or bacterial infections: In some cases, autoimmune encephalitis may be triggered by a recent viral or bacterial infection.

  • Underlying cancer: In some cases, autoimmune encephalitis can be associated with an underlying cancer, especially cancers of the lung, ovary, or thymus.

  • Genetic predisposition: Some people may be more genetically susceptible to developing autoimmune encephalitis.

What are the common Symptoms of Autoimmune Encephalitis?

Symptoms of autoimmune encephalitis can vary depending on the part of the brain that is inflamed. However, some common autoimmune encephalitis symptoms include:

The severity of symptoms can also vary depending on the individual. Some people may experience a rapid onset of symptoms, while others may develop symptoms more gradually over weeks or months.

Consult a neurologist in Delhi if you are experiencing the above autoimmune encephalitis symptoms. 

Diagnosis of Autoimmune Encephalitis

There is no single test that can diagnose autoimmune encephalitis. Diagnosis is typically based on a combination of factors, including a person's medical history, a physical examination, and the results of several tests, such as:

  • Blood tests: Blood tests can be used to look for antibodies that are associated with autoimmune encephalitis.

  • Spinal tap: A spinal tap is a procedure in which a sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is withdrawn from the lower back. The CSF can be tested for abnormalities that may suggest autoimmune encephalitis.

  • MRI scan: An MRI scan can be used to create detailed images of the brain and to look for signs of inflammation.

Manipal Hospitals Dwarka has some of the most advanced medical technologies for Diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune encephalopathy.

Treatment of Autoimmune Encephalitis

Treatment for autoimmune encephalitis typically involves a combination of medications/immunotherapy, such as:

  • Immunosuppressants: Immunosuppressant medications can help to weaken the immune system and reduce inflammation in the brain.

  • Steroids: Steroids can also be used to reduce inflammation in the brain.

  • Anti-seizure medications:  Anti-seizure medications can be used to control seizures.

In some cases, plasma exchange or intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) therapy may also be used to treat auto immune encephalitis. Plasma exchange is a procedure in which the liquid part of the blood (plasma) is removed and replaced with a donor's plasma or a saline solution. IVIG therapy involves the infusion of antibodies from healthy people.

Consult our neurology hospital in Delhi if you need autoimmune encephalitis treatment.


Autoimmune Encephalitis is a condition which can affect anyone, across the age spectrum. It is advisable to not ignore common autoimmune encephalitis symptoms and consult a trained expert in dealing with the neuro-immunological disorder for a complete diagnosis of the condition, as timely treatment with immunotherapy results in a positive outcome.

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