Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) is traditionally regarded as a monophasic demyelinating disorder of the central nervous system occurring in children after infection or vaccination. ADEM in children has a polysymptomatic presentation that includes encephalopathy, fever and meningeal signs. In adults, encephalopathy is less frequent and the clinical presentation is usually dominated by long tract involvement. Despite the initial clinical severity, the functional outcome is favorable in most cases. ADEM is a subgroup within the broader spectrum of postinfectious neurological syndromes (PINSs), which includes variants characterized by additional peripheral nervous system involvement, and variants characterized by a relapsing or chronic progressive course. The literature on the matter is scarce, mostly consisting of retrospective studies. The aims of this paper are to review the clinical and paraclinical profile of ADEM and its variants, to identify potential predictors of outcome, to summarize current treatment strategies and to outline research perspectives.
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