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Return to Neuro-sarcoidosis Overview

More on Neuro-sarcoidosis

Neurology and Neuroscience

Neuro-sarcoidosis

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Sarcoidosis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that primarily affects the lungs, but can also affect other organs and systems throughout the body. In 5 to 15 percent of people with sarcoidosis, the disease affects the central nervous system, causing neurosarcoidosis. In people with neurosarcoidosis, abnormal deposits of white blood cells and abnormal tissue cells accumulate in the brain, spinal cord, or peripheral nerves, and these areas can become inflamed.

NewYork-Presbyterian offers comprehensive care for people with neurosarcoidosis, with neurologists, neuroradiologists, and specialists from other departments collaborating to diagnose and treat patients.

Symptoms

Neurosarcoidosis affecting the brain or cranial nerves can cause confusion, hearing impairment, dementia, delirium, dizziness, vision problems, impaired smell and taste, headache, seizures, speech problems, and/or behavior and mood changes. Neurosarcoidosis affecting the peripheral nerves can cause abnormal sensations, loss of movement or sensation, and weakness.

Diagnosis

Neurosarcoidosis can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms resemble many other conditions, including chronic meningitis and tuberculosis. To diagnose neurosarcoidosis, doctors may use tests such as:

  • Neurological examination
  • Lumbar puncture or spinal tap
  • MRI of the brain
  • Biopsy of the affected nerve tissue

Medical Treatment

There is no cure for neurosarcoidosis, so the goal of therapy is to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. Doctors treat neurosarcoidosis with corticosteroids (such as prednisone), which suppress the immune system and reduce swelling.

Research

The National Institutes of Health is forming a working group to coordinate and fund research into the disease mechanisms of sarcoidosis, predisposing factors, genetic underpinnings, and the potential for clinical therapies. The results of these studies may lead to better ways to diagnose, treat, and ultimately cure neurosarcoidosis.

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