What is Stiff Person Syndrome?
DR NEWSOME: SPS is an autoimmune, neurological condition where, even though we don’t know the primary cause, the immune system gets angry and is misdirected to attack the nervous system in a way that causes signs and symptoms we see in patients: horrific spasms, generalized pain, eye movement issues, problems walking, there’s a full spectrum people can experience with this condition.
When you are dealing with a neurological disease, there’s a lot of overlap, so that early on in SPS, patients can be in chronic pain but have a normal neurological exam. That’s why some physicians incorrectly consider them psychiatrically unwell. It is a really challenging disability, but at the core is the immune system.
Dr. Scott Newsome is the leading expert on Stiff Person Syndrome. He has researched the disease for more than a decade, and established the world’s only Stiff Person Syndrome Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
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