Thursday, 10 December 2009
There has been a decent amount of news coverage on one 12-year-old girl recently. She has made headlines because of a seemingly out of nowhere and uncontrollable sneezing problem. Lauren Johnson, from Virginia, started sneezing up to 12,000 times a day after she had a cold back in November and her family and doctors had been baffled up until now.
When my boyfriend and I first heard of Lauren’s condition on NBC’s Today Show a few weeks ago we instantly began trying to diagnose her ourselves. At that time her mother thought that Lauren had some unknown condition and was naturally worried about her child.
Again, my boyfriend and I started discussing what we thought could be wrong with poor Lauren. While being interviewed Lauren “sneezed” uncontrollably and almost nonstop. The thing that struck both my boyfriend and I was that Lauren’s sneezes did not sound or even look like normal sneezes.
Now, I know people sneeze in all kinds of ways, there are quiet sneezers and loud sneezers and everything in between but what Lauren was doing appeared to be more of a tick than an actual sneeze. By the end of our discussion we had concluded that Lauren seemed to be suffering from Turrets Syndrome but as we are definitely not medical experts we were just speculating.
Doctors have now concluded that Lauren’s “sneezing” problem is due to something called PANDAS an acronym for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “The term is used to describe a subset of children who have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and/or tic disorders such as Tourette's Syndrome, and in whom symptoms worsen following strep infections such as "Strep throat" and Scarlet Fever.”
I still wonder if this is what Lauren is suffering from considering she supposedly only had a cold.
Have any of you been following Lauren’s story? If so what is your take on the whole thing? Also, have any of you had any experience with PANDAS?