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What is Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis?

Other Diseases By Meenakshi Chaudhary , Onlymyhealth editorial team / Dec 14, 2012
What is Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis?

Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis is characterized by inflammation in the brain and spinal cord.

Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis is characterized by inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. It often occurs in viral or bacterial infections, vaccination for measles, mumps or rubella.

Disseminated Encephalomyelitis


The symptoms of ADEM include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Coma

ADEM damages the white matter leading to neurological symptoms such as loss of vision in one or both the eyes, weakness till the point of paralysis, difficulty in coordinating voluntary muscle movements.



Treatment is done to suppress the inflammation in the brain using the anti-inflammatory drugs. Several days of intravenous corticosteroids such as methylprednisolone, followed by oral conrticosteroid treatment is quite effective. But when these corticosteroids don’t work on, the secondary treatment is done which includes either a plasmapheresis or intravenous immunoglobulin therapy. However, all these additional treatments are symptomatic and supportive.


The corticosteroid therapy is effective in treating the symptoms of ADEM symptoms. Some may recover within days of the treatment and within six months they will be fully recovered while others might have mild to moderate lifelong impairment. These impairments may include cognitive difficulties, weakness, and loss of vision or numbness.


Image Courtesy: Getty


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