PANDAS is an abbreviation for Pediatric(meaning related to medical care of children) Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections(refers infections caused by a spherical gram positive bacteria,e.g.-scarlet fever).In layman terms,it is related to the disorders caused due to an auto immune reaction of the body in response to the infection caused by the bacteria(called streptococci) which makes the antibodies interfere with the neuronal cells of the brain which results in the disorder.This proposed theory mainly deals with Tourette's Syndrome but a recent case study of a 6 year old reports the case of onset of stuttering approximately 1 month after a Streptococcal infection.To see the complete case study click here.
This case indicates that in some individuals stuttering can be caused due to such Streptococcal infections.To see common streptococcal infections,click here.According to the PANDAS theory the antibodies created in the auto-immune reaction may cross-react with the region of the brain associated with stuttering.
Another reason for the possibility of PANDAS to be related with stuttering is the resemblance of stuttering with Tourettes syndrome.Three genes that correlate with stuttering also correlate with Tourette's Syndrome. Tourette's and stuttering have many commonalities, suggesting that the neurology of Tourette's may shed light on the neurology of stuttering. Stuttering happens frequently in Tourette's syndrome. Many of the medications that help control tics also help stuttering.Touretters control the disorder by substituting more-acceptable tics. Stutterers do this by substituting words.The more a Touretter tries not to make a certain movement, or a stutterer tries not to stutter, the less he or she can control the behavior.Both Touretters and stutterers enjoy support groups, where they can "let go" and move or stutter without embarrassment.Environmental cues can "switch off" Tourette's and stuttering temporarily. E.g., a surgeon with Tourette's has tics everywhere but the operating room .Stress can "switch off" Tourette's and stuttering temporarily.Dopamine-blocking medications, such as Haldol, reduce both stuttering and Tourette's.Both disorders run in families.The prevalence of Tourette's and adult stuttering is similar.Both disorders originate in childhood.Both disorders can be disabling, but Touretters and stutterers who achieve success say that their disorder was a gift.
So one can look at PANDAS as an explaination of stuttering onset after suffering from a particular type of infection but due its complex nature,this theory is pretty controversial at the moment in the medical world.