Assessment of long-term psychosocial outcomes in anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis

Epilepsy Behav. 2020 Jul:108:107088. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2020.107088. Epub 2020 May 3.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess long-term psychosocial outcomes of anti-N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor encephalitis (anti-NMDARE).

Methods: Adolescents and adults with self-reported anti-NMDARE were invited to complete an online survey distributed by relevant patient organizations. Demographic and clinical information was collected, including the diagnoses initially given for anti-NMDARE symptoms and posthospital care received. Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Psychosocial Impact Illness - Negative short form (Negative PSII) was administered to assess psychosocial outcome of anti-NMDARE. Associations between clinical factors and psychosocial outcomes were evaluated.

Results: Sixty-one individuals with anti-NMDARE age 15 years and above participated. Mean age was 33.7 years (standard deviation [SD]: 12.8), and participants were predominantly female (90.2%, n = 55). Mean T-score on PROMIS Negative PSII was 60.7, >1 SD higher (worse psychosocial function) than that of the provided normalized sample enriched for chronic illness (50, SD: 10). Initial misdiagnosis of anti-NMDARE symptoms was associated with decreased odds (odds ratio [OR]: 0.11, p < 0.05), and follow-up with a psychiatrist after hospitalization with increased odds (OR: 8.46, p < 0.05), of return to work/school after illness. Younger age of symptom onset and presence of ongoing neuropsychiatric issues were predictive of worse Negative PSII scores (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: Individuals with anti-NMDARE demonstrate poor psychosocial outcomes, yet there are no current standards for long-term assessment or management of such symptoms in this population. These findings highlight the need for use of more comprehensive outcome measures that include assessment of psychosocial function and the importance of developing interventions that address this domain for individuals with anti-NMDARE.

Keywords: Autoimmune; Encephalitis; NMDA; Outcomes; Psychosocial.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor Encephalitis / diagnosis*
  • Anti-N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor Encephalitis / psychology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult