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Encephalitis describes inflammation of the brain parenchyma, typically caused by either an infectious agent or through an autoimmune process which may be postinfectious, paraneoplastic or idiopathic. Patients can present with a combination of fever, alterations in behaviour, personality, cognition and consciousness. They may also exhibit focal neurological deficits, seizures, movement disorders and/or autonomic instability. However, it can sometimes present non-specifically, and this combined with its many causes make it a difficult to manage neurological syndrome. Despite improved treatments in some forms of encephalitides, encephalitis remains a global concern due to its high mortality and morbidity. Prompt diagnosis and administration of specific and supportive management options can lead to better outcomes. Over the last decade, research in encephalitis has led to marked developments in the understanding, diagnosis and management of encephalitis. In parallel, the number of autoimmune encephalitis syndromes has rapidly expanded and clinically characteristic syndromes in association with pathogenic autoantibodies have been defined. By focusing on findings presented at the Encephalitis Society's conference in December 2021, this article reviews the causes, clinical manifestations and management of encephalitis and integrate recent advances and challenges of research into encephalitis.

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Journal article


Postgraduate Medical Journal

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