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Many families of patients with autoimmune encephalitis suffer in silence; without understanding the outcome of their family member’s diagnosis. However, two patient families, the “Egger’s and McDow’s” aimed to change this. Both families’ journeys with autoimmune encephalitis lead to the formation one of the world’s largest organizations to support patients and advance research in the diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune encephalitis. Listen and read about their empowering journey that led to the formation of “Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance”.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is caused when the immune system sends antibodies to attack your joints, leading to joint destruction and disability. While there is no current cure for RA, treatment is possible. Treatment of RA is best done within 3 to 6 months after symptoms start, since permanent joint damage can occur within the first 2 years. This blog will discuss the common antibodies which are tested for in RA diagnosis, and highlight additional uses of antibody testing in RA.

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The number of Powassan virus (POWV) reported cases is low compared to other tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease. However, the prevalence of POWV infection is likely underestimated because testing capabilities are limited. There are no FDA-cleared assays and only a few commercially available assays. There is a need to increase the awareness of POWV infection to include this testing in clinical routine labs.  

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Allergy testing identifies common allergens including foods and inhalation that are often harmless but may cause allergies in some patients. There are two main allergy testing methods, skin-prick and blood tests, that can assess the presence of allergen-specific IgE antibodies. Combining an IgE-antibody blood test result with case history and a physical examination has clear clinical advantages when making a diagnosis.

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Autoimmune liver diseases (ALD) occur when the immune system turns against liver cells, leading to inflammation. Types of ALD include autoimmune hepatitis (AIH), primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). The detection of specific disease-associated antibodies allows for a differential diagnosis of the culprit ALD, and helps to ensure proper patient treatment. Here we discuss the specific autoantibodies associated with either AIH, PBC, or PSC, as well as the techniques available for their detection.

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As the Delta variant spreads across the world, many vaccinated individuals are worried about the possibility of a breakthrough infection. The term “breakthrough infection” refers to the development of a COVID-19 infection despite an individual being vaccinated against the virus. With many Americans still reluctant to vaccination, and with mask mandates lifted in most states, the highly contagious Delta virus has contributed to spikes in COVID-19 cases across the nation this summer ’21.