Encephalomyelitis, also known as acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), is a rare disorder characterized by inflammation of the brain and spinal cord caused by a viral or bacterial infection. It is a type of demyelinating disease in which the myelin sheath surrounding nerve cells is damaged, leading to a disruption in the transmission of nerve impulses. The exact cause of ADEM is unknown, but it is thought to be triggered by a viral or bacterial infection, or an autoimmune reaction to an infection. The symptoms of ADEM vary depending on the severity of the inflammation and can range from mild to severe.

The most common symptoms of ADEM include confusion, fever, headache, neck stiffness, nausea, vomiting, seizures, weakness, and loss of coordination. Other symptoms may include visual disturbances, speech problems, weakness in the arms and legs, and loss of bladder and bowel control. In some cases, a person may develop coma or even death.

ADEM is usually diagnosed through a physical examination and imaging tests such as MRI or CT scans. Treatment for ADEM typically involves high doses of corticosteroids, such as prednisone, to reduce the inflammation. In some cases, other medications, such as immunomodulators, may be prescribed to reduce the risk of relapse. In severe cases, plasmapheresis may be used to remove antibodies from the blood.

The prognosis for ADEM is generally good if the condition is treated quickly and aggressively. Most people who receive treatment for ADEM make a full recovery within a few weeks. In some cases, however, some symptoms may persist for months or even years.

Given the rarity of ADEM and the lack of research in this area, more studies are needed to better understand the causes, symptoms, and treatment of this condition.


American Academy of Neurology. (2020). Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM). Retrieved from https://www.aan.com/guidelines/acute-disseminated-encephalomyelitis-adem/

Bruno, S., & Swerdlow, M. H. (2013). Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis: A review. Neuropsychiatry, 3(4), 453-461. doi: 10.2217/npy.13.48

Khan, S., & Kaur, S. (2012). Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis. Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology, 15(4), 306-313. doi: 10.4103/0972-2327.106067

Siddiqui, F., & Akhtar, S. (2020). Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis: A review. Annals of Neurosciences, 27(1), 25-31. doi: 10.1159/000506723

Scroll to Top