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Neurology and Neuroscience

Neuro-sarcoidosis

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About Neuro-sarcoidosis

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; this condition is called neurosarcoidosis. In 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. Nerves in the head and face are commonly affected and specific parts of the brain (the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland) may also be affected. Symptoms include seizures, behavior and mood changes, vision problems, and paralysis. These can appear very suddenly or develop gradually.

Diagnosis of Neuro-sarcoidosis

Neuro-sarcoidosis can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms resemble many other conditions including chronic meningitis and tuberculosis. At NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital our neurologists are expert at distinguishing between a range of immune-related neurological disorders. We take an aggressive approach to diagnosis, as early diagnosis is very important in managing immune system disorders and maintaining patients' quality of life.

To diagnose neuro-sarcoidosis doctors here may use tests including:

  • Lumbar puncture or spinal tap
  • Blood test for specific enzymes
  • MRI of the brain
  • Nerve biopsy of the affected nerve tissue

Medical Treatment for Neuro-sarcoidosis

Doctors treat neuro-sarcoidosis with corticosteroids, which suppress the immune system and reduce swelling.

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