A rapidly evolving subspecialty
Muscle fatigue that immobilizes a young mom in the prime of her life. Seizures that strike a child without warning. A 45-year-old man’s puzzling forgetfulness. Today, patients who present these symptoms can receive appropriate diagnoses — multiple sclerosis (MS), epilepsy and early-onset dementia, respectively — and embark on standard treatment protocols to improve quality of life.
But in cases triggered by the body’s autoimmune response, modern medicine falls short of attacking these diseases at their root causes, offering only temporary relief rather than cures. Autoimmune neurology is a rapidly evolving subspecialty driven by the discovery that the immune system can target virtually any structure within the central or peripheral nervous system. These conditions manifest as disorders previously thought to be independent and unrelated.
For the spectrum of autoimmune neurological disorders, where an early and accurate diagnosis is paramount, our testing approaches to effectively diagnose and guide treatment for these patients is unparalleled.
A history of innovation and discovery
Recognized as a world leader in the diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune neurologic disorders and demyelinating disease, Mayo Clinic mounts unmatched resources for uncovering novel syndromes, developing new diagnostic biomarkers and unique laboratory tests.
The Mayo Clinic Neuroimmunology Laboratory was the first to introduce comprehensive serological evaluations for the diagnosis of paraneoplastic neurologic autoimmune disorders, a group of disorders in which unusual neurologic signs and symptoms are the initial manifestations of cancer.
The laboratory continues to discover and clinically validate novel autoantibody profiles that inform neurological decision-making and guide the search for cancer.
An accurate and timely diagnosis is critical
Identifying the root cause can lead to a possible cure versus temporary relief. Early intervention may allow reversal of deficits in many patients and prevention of future disability. Antibody results may direct a targeted search for malignancy
The power of discovery
Autoimmune neurological disorders can often be treated, sometimes with full restoration of function. However, because the symptoms mimic other conditions, autoimmune neurological disorders are frequently misdiagnosed, resulting in an irreversible loss of function.
Antibody Ordering Matrix
Archived webinar -
The spectrum of autoimmune CNS disorders
This "Specialty Testing" webinar presentation offers an educational overview of autoimmune central nervous system disorders, evaluations (including antibody testing), and treatments.
Collaboration paves the way for rapid discovery in autoimmune neurologye
Using advanced technology, scientists at Chan Zuckerberg (CZ) Biohub, Mayo Clinic and University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), have discovered an autoimmune disease that appears to affect men with testicular cancer.
Patient story features the importance of neuroimmunology
The story highlights a patient and her journey to find answers at Mayo Clinic after not being comfortable with her original diagnosis of dementia. As reported in the article, the patient’s “condition was initially undiagnosed in part because the concept that the immune system can affect brain function is just now entering conventional medical understanding.”