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Neurologic Autoimmune Disorders

Neurologic autoimmune disorders typically affect patients in one of two ways. Some disorders attack only the nervous system and few – if any – other organs. Neurologic symptoms can also occur in autoimmune diseases where the nervous system is one of the many organs affected.  

Primary neurologic autoimmune disorders affect only the nervous system, that is the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. These include multiple sclerosis (MS), myasthenia gravis, neuromyelitis optica, and many others. 

The nervous system can also be one of many organs attacked in autoimmune diseases such as lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Symptoms of neurologic autoimmune disorders are numerous and can include headache, stroke, seizure, cognitive dysfunction, trouble remembering, weakness, difficulty with coordination, and numbness or loss of other sensations. 

A comprehensive approach to treatment

Although the type, cause, and symptoms of neurologic autoimmune disorders can vary significantly, patients of the AHN Autoimmunity Institute have access to a wide range of specialists who are prepared to listen to their concerns, consult with one another on possible treatment options, and develop a therapy plan specific to their needs. 

The AHN Autoimmunity Institute includes 15 specialties working under the same roof. Not only is this consolidated team of experts unique across the globe, when it comes to assessing the symptoms and causes of neurologic autoimmune disorders, no one is better equipped to help patients determine the optimal path of treatment and a return to a more normal life. 

Treating neurological symptoms

Patients have access to a number of effective treatment options based on the underlying cause, nature, and severity of their symptoms. These include: 

  • Steroids. Commonly used for MS, steroids may be used to treat acute symptoms. They work by reducing the number of inflammatory cells in the body.
  • Disease modifying therapies. Some are used specifically for treating certain conditions such as MS. These include natalizumab, interferons, and fingolimod. Other medications are used more generally to treat autoimmune conditions. These include azathioprine, methotrexate, rituximab, and others.  These can take many forms, including self-injections, pills, or IV infusions. They’re used to treat or prevent active disease. Your physician will choose the best option based on your underlying autoimmune condition, medical history, stage of life, and lifestyle. 
  • IVIg (intravenous immunoglobulin). This infusion of antibodies may suppress the autoimmune response in some patients. 
  • Plasmapheresis. In this process, a patient’s blood is drawn and filtered, removing agents that may be causing inflammation. After filtering, the blood is reinfused into the patient. 

Our approach to care

The AHN Autoimmunity Institute is committed to providing a new standard of care to patients dealing with autoimmune disorders. 

  • Coordination of care. We take care of all the logistics, giving patients the ability to see multiple specialists in one location at one time.
  • State-of-the-art facility. We offer a comforting, welcoming space that puts patients at ease, facilitates collaboration across specialties, and provides numerous treatment options.  
  • Emotional support. Our behavioral health specialists help patients deal with the multitude of challenges that stem from autoimmune disease. 
  • Commitment to research. We are involved in clinical trials and research to diagnose and treat disorders. 

Find us

Autoimmunity Institute
West Penn Hospital
4815 Liberty Avenue
Suite 250, Mellon Pavilion
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
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