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Thread: Facts about Stiff Person Syndrome

  1. #31
    Distinguished Community Member Sunshine's Avatar
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    Fact #23

    Stiff Person Syndrome can cause swallowing problems to the point of medical crisis. The patient then develops severe anticipatory anxiety about swallowing and starts to avoid eating. They are mistakenly misdiagnosed as having anorexia nervosa (by, in my book, incurious and mediocre docs)

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  3. #32
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    Fact #24

    “ The anti-GAD antibody is found in some neurological syndromes, including stiff-person syndrome, paraneoplastic stiff-person syndrome, Miller Fisher syndrome (MFS), limbic encephalopathy, cerebellar ataxia, eye movement disorders, and epilepsy. Previously, excluding MFS, these conditions were called ‘hyperexcitability disorders’. However, collectively, these syndromes should be known as ‘anti-GAD positive neurological syndromes.’ “

    Cited from:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5107286/

  4. #33
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    Fact #25

    In follow up to fact #24, the same authors say that,

    ”With abnormally low GABA, the firing frequency of nerve cells increases and leads to conditions like anxiety and seizure disorders. Various other neurological and cognitive problems are also associated with low levels of GABA including cerebellar ataxia and limbic encephalitis (LE) along with anxiety and epilepsy.”

  5. #34
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    Fact # 26

    Because the symptoms of Stiff Person Syndrome can vary widely, as well as its rarity, it can take an average of 6.2 years to diagnose Stiff Person Syndrome.

  6. #35
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    Fact #27

    Other than the Paraneoplastic variety of SPS, the cause of Stiff Person Syndrome is idiopathic, which means th cause is unknown.

  7. #36
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    Fact #28

    Stiff Person Syndrome is not the only disease that is correlated with high GAD65:

    Lambert-Eaton Myesthenic Syndrome, a neuromuscular disorder, also shows high GAD65 levels.

  8. #37
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    Fact #29

    Thymoma, Cancer of the thymus, also can produce high levels of GAD65 and resemble Stiff Person Syndrome Symptoms.

  9. #38
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    Fact #30

    Many professionals observe that people with Stiff Person Syndrome are afraid to venture into open space because of the risk of falling, since loud noises startle thenervous system and cause leg spasms and thus falling. Clinicians then conclude that agoraphobia can occur (fear of being in open spaces and public),

    Some Psychologists, however, observe that the term Agoraphobia refers to an irrational fear, whereas the SPS patients fear is not irrational but good judgment. Agoraphobics aren’t afraid of open spaces per se. They are fearful of becoming anxious, thus precipitating a panic attack.

    Personally I wonder if the use of this psychiatric term is a holdover from thinking these patients are not sick with a neurological disorder, but are just anxious and depressed.
    Last edited by Sunshine; 03-14-2018 at 12:52 PM.

  10. #39
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    Fact #31

    While some studies show Rituximab can be beneficial to people with Stiff Person Syndrome, and even suggest a role of B cells in the disease, not all studies show this.

    For example:
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/...1002/ana.25002

  11. #40
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    Fact #32

    There are two main approaches to Treatment of Stiff Person Syndrome:

    1. GABA enhancing drugs such as Baclofen or diazepam (such as Valium)

    2. Immune modulating treatment, usually IVIG

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