Rasmussen's Encephalitis

Rasmussen's encephalitis is a rare progressive neurological disorder. It affects a single brain hemisphere. Generally, it occurs in children under the age of 10.


Problems include:

  • Frequent and severe seizures.

  • Loss of motor skills and speech.

  • Paralysis on one side of the body (hemiparesis).

  • Inflammation of the brain (encephalitis).

  • Dementia.

  • Mental deterioration.


When seizures have not spontaneously improved by the time hemiplegia and aphasia are complete, the standard treatment for this disorder is surgery. This is to remove or disconnect the affected part of the brain. It is called a hemispherectomy. Anti-epileptic drugs may be prescribed at first. But they are usually not effective in controlling the seizures. Alternative treatments may include:

  • Removal and reinfusion of blood plasma. (This is called plasmapheresis.)

  • High fat, low carbohydrate diet. (This is a ketogenic diet.)

  • Steroids.