Encephalopathy and Encephalitis

What is Encephalopathy?

Encephalopathy is a general term referring to any dysfunction or alteration of brain function or structure.

What is Encephalitis?

Encephalitis is a specific form of encephalopathy, and is marked by inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain. Inflammation will cause swelling in the brain.

What are the symptoms of Encephalopathy and Encephalitis?

The underlying cause of encephalopathy and encephalitis may impact the symptoms. Regardless of the cause of encephalopathy, most individuals suffer from an altered mental state, causing confusion or impaired memory or cognition. Other symptoms of encephalopathy include behavior changes, muscle twitching, and even coma.

Individuals suffering encephalitis may also experience flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, vomiting and a stiff neck or back, as well as seizures.

Depending on the area of the brain that is affected, individuals may find that parts of the body do not function normally, interfering with strength, coordination, and other functions.

What causes Encephalopathy and Encephalitis?

There are many causes of encephalopathy. Some examples include viral and bacterial infection, toxin exposure, lack of oxygen to the brain, metabolic or mitochondrial dysfunction, and tumors.

Similar to encephalopathy, encephalitis also has many causes, but it often follows a viral or bacterial infection, or can occur as part of an autoimmune response. Autoimmune encephalitis occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the brain. While several specific proteins and receptors in the brain have been identified, including anti-NMDA receptors, VGKC-complex antibodies and GABA antibodies, many specific targets of autoimmune encephalitis are not yet known.

How are Encephalopathy and Encephalitis treated?

Treatment for encephalopathy and encephalitis depends on the specific cause. Once the cause is identified, a specific treatment plan can be developed. Early detection and treatment of the underlying cause can sometimes help to reverse or limit the effects of encephalopathy or encephalitis. Antiviral or antibiotic medications, immunotherapy and other supportive care treatments, such as increased fluids or plenty of rest, may be utilized.

In limited circumstances, some cases of encephalopathy or encephalitis may satisfy the criteria outlined in the Vaccine Injury Table. Your experience may not be consistent with the descriptions outlined in the Vaccine Injury Table. Please contact us for a complimentary consultation if you believe you may have experienced encephalopathy or encephalitis following vaccination.