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Neuroimmunology

Our neuro-immunology team study the interaction between the immune and nervous systems, and provide care for patients with a wide variety of different conditions.

This includes rheumatoid arthritis, Behcets disease, vasculitis, Guillian-Barré Syndrome, Sarcoidosis and transverse myelitis.

Neuroimmunological conditions occur when the immune system, which normally protects the body against infection and disease, begins to attack itself, causing damage to the brain, nerves and other tissues. This can cause sensory symptoms, such as problems with vision or ability to touch and feel, as well as muscle weakness and difficulties with memory, speech or mood. The symptoms each patient experiences and the impact they have on daily life will vary depending on what is causing the illness, and can last for anything between a few weeks to a lifetime.

If your GP refers you to our neuroimmunology clinic, you will be seen by a consultant neurologist who will review your symptoms and arrange for any further tests, such as brain scans or blood tests, which may be necessary. You might be prescribed medication which suppresses your immune system, in turn reducing the damage it is inflicting on your nerves. A specialist nurse will also be on hand to answer any questions you may have, give help and advice and talk through any problems. Depending on your condition, we may ask you to come back for further appointments to monitor your progress.

As many immunological diseases affect more than one part of the body, the clinic at Addenbrooke’s is run jointly with kidney doctors who have extensive expertise in managing autoimmune diseases and different forms of vasculitis. The team meet once a month to discuss all patients with multiple problems so that we can ensure they are receiving the best possible treatment.