‘My brain is making me do this’: Family fights for insurance coverage of brain disease caused by strep


By Lauren Lowrey
Published: Jan. 24, 2024 at 6:37 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 24, 2024 at 7:44 PM EST
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – A little-understood disease could be affecting as many as 1 in 200 children in the United States and research suggests it often goes misdiagnosed. PANS, the acronym for Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome, is a disease in children that occurs after repeated infections, most commonly strep.

“Lucca got strep 15 times in four years,” said Kristi Giacco of Mt. Juliet.

She said her son Lucca, 10, first developed symptoms of the disease in the summer of 2022.

Giacco describes a litany of disconcerting behaviors that started suddenly for her then-8-year old son, including facials tics, extreme separation anxiety, OCD, aggression and unfounded fears of being alone.

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