Avera Medical Minute: Acute Demyelinating Encephalomyelitis - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Avera Medical Minute: Acute Demyelinating Encephalomyelitis

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4 Year Old Michael Streleck on the road to recovery. 4 Year Old Michael Streleck on the road to recovery.

Can you imagine your child coming down with a cold and becomes so sick they can't get up.  We mean they won't wake up to eat, go to the bathroom anything. We have more on a rare neurological disorder that can hit kids out of the blue.

4 year old Michael Streleck from Sioux Falls is back to his energetic self, racing around faster than the hot wheels he loves to play with. A couple months ago you wouldn't have recognized him.

Michael says, "The virus was destroying my brain."

After catching a common cold, his immune system started attacking his brain. It's called Acute Demyelinating Encephalomyelitis or ADEM, a rare neurological disorder that strikes kids.

Main McGreevy Clinic Avera Pediatrician Dr. Kara Bruning treated Michael. She says, "Myelin is the covering in the brain. White matter and grey matter is what makes up the brain. White matter has myelin on the outside of it. It acts like insulation to help make the impulses go faster. ADEM is an inflammatory process from a virus that attacks that myelin. These patients come in lethargic. Michael was vomiting, running a fever and was sleeping around the clock and looked really bad when I saw him."

Michael's mom Diana Streleck says, " I didn't know what it was. I'd never heard of it. I didn't know how it could effect him now or later but we went to Avera McKennan because we knew something was very wrong and needed a faith based hospital."

Michael loves to talk and play a lot. He does not like to sit still so his mom knew something wasn't right when he didn't get up for 24 hours. 

Dr. Bruning says, "Parents need to watch for lethargy. If they are refusing to wake up and are wetting the bed when they usually don't do. I am talking about true lethargy."

At first Dr. Bruning thought Michael had meningitis. She put him on antibiotics for safety measures, but when he showed no sign of improvement, she brought him back in the next day and ran a battery of tests over the weekend. That's when she discovered why he was so lifeless. He had ADEM.  She put him on IV steroids (an anti-inflammatory) and within 12 hours he was better. The swelling in his brain went down and the brain rebuilds itself.  He went on oral steroids for a month after that.

Michael says, "Being sick was bad but they had a playroom. My cheeks are coming down (they are puffy from the steroids)"

His mom Diana says, "We felt very blessed. We didn't have bad days. They said you'll have good days and bad days. The bad days never came, we only had good days. He just kept getting better. We feel very blessed that our prayers were answered." 

Michael says, "Want to see the back of Angus. He has a band-aid on him because he has a boo-boo. He loves me."

Like his stuffed animal Angus the Husky, Michael is on the mend. Thank goodness because anyone who's around him truly has a ball truly.

The prognosis for children who develop ADEM varies. So far Michael's is good.


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