Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis

Children and adolescents with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis or ADEM receive treatment at our Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center. Our experts specialize in ADEM and related diseases and work with each child to develop a unique treatment plan, including long-term follow-up care specifically tailored to his or her needs.

When necessary, we collaborate with other specialists at UCSF or elsewhere to make sure your child receives the most comprehensive care possible. Because we are part of an international network of pediatric MS centers sponsored by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, we have access to the latest information, research and treatments.

Most children with ADEM will respond partially or completely to corticosteroid therapy, which diminishes symptoms by suppressing inflammation in the brain and spinal cord.

If corticosteroids fail, other treatments may be prescribed, including:

  • Immunosuppressive therapy (treatment to reduce or deactivate the immune system)
  • Intravenous immunoglobulin therapy (the administration of antibodies extracted from plasma)
  • Plasmapheresis (the removal, treatment and return of blood plasma)

Treatment may include other medications to treat symptoms as well as supportive care to help your child recover both physically and mentally, which may take weeks to months.

Some children have problems with their memory, especially short-term memory. They also may experience emotional disturbances.

Rest alternated with mental and physical exercise is recommended for your child's rehabilitation. Our team of experts includes a physical therapist, speech therapist and neuropsychologist who will work with your child to support their recovery.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers

Pediatric Brain Center

Multiple Sclerosis Center
1825 Fourth St., Fifth Floor, 5A
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-3939
Fax: (415) 353-3543
Appointment information