Brielle Richardson, left, suffered a newly-diagnosed syndrome that left her anxious, and made her act aggressively towards her mother Tara, right (Pictures: KAKE)
A newly-discovered disease saw a five year-old girl develop severe mental health issues and threaten to stab her mother with a pencil. Brielle Richardson became anxious and aggressive after suffering from Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS), to the horror of her doctor mom Tara.
Recalling when she first realized Brielle was unwell, Tara explained: ‘We were trying to play tic tac toe to pass the time and she didn’t like where I put the eggs. So, she threatened to stab me with the pencil, which is not like my daughter at all.’
Tara, a psychiatrist from Wichita in Kansas, added: ‘She had a panic attack and ran inside from the bus stop and made her late for school.’ Brielle fell ill in September 2019, and also became convinced that she had accidentally swallowed a piece of egg shell, and a worm, and that she would die as a result.
Her mom said: ‘Everything was fear based. So, it wasn’t making sense. None of her anxieties made sense. But they all ended in that she was going to die.’
Brielle was suffering from a new condition called Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS), which requires extremely expensive immunoglobulin therapy if left untreated (Picture: KAKE)
Tara knew Brielle was seriously-ill when the youngster refused to eat. Her medical training saw her reach out to a neuropsychologist, who diagnosed PANS, which is also known as PANDAS.
The condition sees a bacterial infection – usually a variant of strep throat – spark a ‘misdirected immune response’ and causes inflammation on a child’s brain, leading to erratic behavior like that displayed by Brielle.
Tara used her medical connections to seek help from a doctor in Arizona, who was able to diagnose Brielle. The youngster’s PANS was caught sufficiently early for her to be successfully treated with a simple and cheap combination of ibuprofen and steroids.
Brielle is now back to her happy and relaxed self.
But young PANS sufferers whose parents do not have the same knowledge as Tara face a far more expensive immunoglobulin therapy treatment.
Tara told KAKE how she has since successfully campaigned at the Kansas State Legislature to boost official awareness of the condition across her home state.
The psychiatrist and other parents are due to appear before Kansas State Representatives again on Monday.
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