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Inflammation and Demyelination 

Inflammation and Demyelination
Inflammation and Demyelination

Daniel B. Rubin

, and Henrikas Vaitkevicius

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date: 30 March 2020

Autoimmune disease affecting the central nervous system is a common cause for admission to the neurointensive care unit. Although well-described clinical syndromes exist, patients more commonly present with progressive neurologic dysfunction and some combination of laboratory and radiographic evidence of central nervous system inflammation. The urgency to intervene to prevent permanent damage to the nervous system often conflicts with diagnostic uncertainty. This chapter outlines some of the basic diagnostic and therapeutic principles of autoimmune diseases of the central nervous system. The chapter characterizes disorders not as a list of individual disease entities but rather as clusters of syndromes based on common underlying mechanisms of immune dysfunction. This approach focuses on early interventions rather than precise diagnosis. As our understanding of the immune system continues to grow, this framework will allow for a more sophisticated approach to the management of patients with these complex, often devastating but frequently reversible, neurologic illnesses.

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