By Angela Mulholland, CTVnews.ca
The parents of children diagnosed with a rare disease are warning parents and doctors to watch for its confusing symptoms, anxious to spread the word about the new and confusing illness.
The illness is called “anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis” and was identified only four years ago. But the condition is often getting missed because it can so easily be confused with everything from brain tumours to psychiatric illnesses.
Tony and Cheryl Liuzza’s daughter Jayden came down with the disease two years ago. Before falling ill, Jayden was a healthy and chatty 3-year-old. So when she developed an odd walk, her parents thought she must have injured herself.
But days later, her condition worsened. Jayden’s temperament changed and she began crying a lot for no apparent reason. Her walking got worse and then her legs started twitching.
The twitching eventually moved up her body from her legs to her arms and into her face.
The little girl who was once a precocious talker began telling the same story over and over again and she began to suffer from episodes her parents mistook for night terrors.
“She would fall asleep for 10 minutes then wake up screaming, holding her head and rolling all over the bed. She would lash out at her father and me, hitting, biting and throwing toys at us,” Cheryl told CTV News in an email.