Interviewer: Professor Cleary, thank you for sparing the time today to speak to us.
As I understand it,
the position is the group A streptococcal infections can produce
an immune response that in turn has a pathologic effect on neuronal tissue.
Have I got it right?
Prof. Cleary: Yes, that's correct. In fact,
we've known this for probably 70 or 80 years,
in the days when there was rheumatic fever
in Britain and in the US and the developed world.
One of the complications of rheumatic fever is Sydenham chorea,
which is uncontrolled muscle movements and contractions,
and we've known about that for a long time.
But I think what you're probably referring to is a newer,
more recently described syndrome.
The acronym for this syndrome has been termed PANDAS,
and there's a more general term, PANS.
PANS, the acronym means Pediatric Acute Onset of Neuropsychiatric Syndrome and PANDAS,
sort of a subgroup of this,
is pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder
associated with streptococcus infection.
You can understand why we use acronyms after hearing those long names.
So, we've known for some time that following group A strep infections,
not just any strep but strep pyogenes or group A strep,
we can find antibody in the blood of patients who
have these neurological disorders that react with brain proteins.
In fact, some of these antibodies even react with dopamine receptors,