Copper Toxicity and PANDAS or PANS
High copper levels and other severe mineral imbalances as well as the presence of heavy metals are often seen in children who with symptoms or a diagnosis of PANDAS or PANS.
What is PANDAS?
PANDAS is an acronym for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections.” This diagnosis was first identified in the late 1990’s. Unfortunately, still many pediatric doctors have never heard of PANDAS, studied it, tested for it or even know about it. It is more often that the parents who do internet research out of desperation, then bring their child to the doctor, asking for the blood testing and a diagnosis – not the other way around.
The National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) Investigators discovered that the OCD tics, and other symptoms usually occurred in the aftermath of a strong stimulant to the immune system, such as a viral infection or bacterial infection. The research indicated that there are a subset of children with rapid onset of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and/or tic disorders and these symptoms are caused by group A beta-hemolytic streptococcal (GABHS) infections.
With PANDAS, children can have dramatic and sudden OCD exacerbations and tic disorders following streptococcus infections. The abnormal behaviors come on suddenly and are overt and easily recognized. PANDAS has been associated with a wider range of related behaviors. Affected children can have any combination of the following symptoms: ADHD symptoms, OCD, anorexia, anxiety, germ phobias, rage, hyperactivity and depression symptoms.
Rapid Onset of Symptoms In PANDAS or PANS
Both PANDAS and PANS involve a rapid onset of symptoms and is related to an incident of strep infection, but can be triggered by other infectious diseases as well. PANDAS is not the only immune system disease that may initially cause OCD to appear suddenly. Other disorders may need to be ruled out. They include: Lyme Disease, Thyroid Disease, Celiac Disease, Lupus, Sydenham Chorea, Kawasaki’s Disease and acute Rheumatic Fever. Both PANDAS and PANS involve a rapid onset of symptoms and is related to an incident of strep infection, but can be triggered by other infectious diseases as well.
High Copper Levels and PANDAS or PANS
There is a often strong correlation to those high in copper with other altered minerals and heavy metals relationships than can trigger symptoms of PANDAS or PANS. Doing a hair test will inform parents of the child’s exact mineral status and help you determine the actual level of unbound copper as well as other nutrient imbalances. Once these imbalances are corrected with nutritional rebalancing, the symptoms of PANDAS or PANS can be reduced.
The symptoms of PANDAS will include the criteria for diagnosis, along with any combination of following:
- Angry outbursts
- Anorexia or very picky eating
- Arms motions, flexing
- Aversion to bathing or washing hair
- Aversion to cutting fingernails
- Aversion to cutting hair
- Child can’t fall asleep alone
- Compulsive arm movements
- Compulsive behaviors
- Compulsive eating
- Compulsive hand motions
- Constipation – severe
- Bed wetting (even in older kids)
- Eye blinking
- Eye rolling
- Fearfulness – excessive
- Fears worse at night
- Fear of the dark
- Fear of germs or germ phobias
- Handwriting difficulty
- Handwriting sudden changes
- Head twitching
- Head shaking
- “High maintenance” nature
- Inability to focus
- Inability to sleep at night
- Jerking in limbs
- Jerking while asleep
- Makes mouth noises
- Makes humming noises
- Mood swings
- Night mares
- Night terrors
- Night sweats
- Super silly behaviors
- Sensitivity to light
- Repetitive behaviors
- Throat clearing
- Rage episodes
- Sensory issues
- Separation anxiety
- Stomach tics
- Suicidal thoughts
- Urinary Frequency
- Violent behaviors
- Whining, clingy
Below is the medical symptom criteria for PANDAS.
Additional symptoms, such as severely restricted food intake, may also occur such as in anorexia. Symptoms include sudden onset of OCD and/or Tics along with a least two other following systems.
- Deterioration of learning abilities
- Developmental or age regression
- Irritability or aggression
- Inability to concentrate or ADHD
- Personality changes
- Tics – repetitive vocalizations or body movements or abnormal movement
- Tourette’s Syndrome
- Separation anxiety
- Sleep difficulties
- Urinary frequency
Diagnostic Criteria for PANDAS:
- Presence of obsessive-compulsive disorder and/or a tic disorder.
- Pediatric onset of symptoms from age 3 years to puberty.
- Episodic course of symptom severity.
- Association with group A Beta-hemolytic streptococcal infection (a positive throat culture for strep or history of Scarlet Fever).
- Association with neurological abnormalities such as hyperactivity, or adventitious movements, such as rapid, jerky movements.