Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)

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Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) is a rare autoimmune disease marked by a sudden and widespread attack of inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. In addition to causing the brain and spinal cord to become inflamed, ADEM also attacks the nerves of the central nervous system and damages their myelin, which is the protective covering of nerve fibers

ADEM’s symptoms resemble the symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), so the disease itself is placed into the classification of the multiple sclerosis borderline diseases. However, ADEM has several features that distinguish it from MS. ADEM consists of a single flare-up whereas MS is marked with several flare-ups over a long period of time. ADEM is also distinguished by a loss of consciousness, coma and death, which is very rare in MS, except in severe cases. Symptoms of ADEM include fever, fatigue, headache, nausea and vomiting, seizures, coma, vision loss, weakness even to the point of paralysis, and difficulty coordinating voluntary muscle movements.

No controlled clinical trials have been conducted on ADEM treatment, but aggressive treatment aimed at rapidly reducing inflammation is standard. The widely accepted initial treatment for ADEM is to administer high doses of corticosteroids, followed by 3–6 weeks of gradually lower oral doses of prednisolone. Unfortunately, the long term prognosis for individuals suffering from ADEM can vary significantly with many people suffering long terms effects.

If you or a loved one started experiencing ADEM like symptoms after receiving a vaccine, please contact our Vaccine Injury Attorneys.