BOSTON — Tiffany Uttam was facing every parent’s nightmare. Her nine-year-old son became abruptly ill, and no one could seem to help.
He was suddenly anxious and paranoid, hallucinating and unable to sleep without one of his parents because of separation anxiety. Uttam took him to doctors but they were baffled, thinking maybe he should be treated for a mental health condition. He developed verbal and physical tics, and Uttam took him to the emergency room, fearing he was having a seizure. He couldn’t go to school and became depressed.
Finally the family received a diagnosis: Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders associated with Streptococcal Infections, or PANDAS.