Brain and other neurological conditions affect many body functions, such as thought, memory, speech and movement.
The brain also regulates the function of many organs, and when problems happen, they can be severe. In rare cases, certain vaccines can cause brain conditions.
Brain and neurological conditions related to vaccines may include:
- Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM). This condition is a sudden inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.
- Encephalitis. This is an inflammation of the brain.
- Encephalopathy. Refers to a number of different conditions that affect the structure or function of the brain.
- Headaches. Headache a common problem that is associated with a number of medications and other issues.
- Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). This is an elevated pressure inside the cranium, or skull. It can lead to vision loss.
- Narcolepsy. This is a sleep disorder in which people have trouble staying awake during the day and may fall asleep suddenly.
- Optic neuritis. This occurs when inflammation damages the protective myelin covering of the optic nerve that sends visual information from the retina to the brain.
- Seizures. These sudden electrical disturbances in the brain cause changes in movements, feelings, consciousness and behavior.
- Tinnitus. Tinnitus is a condition that causes ringing in the ears.
- Transverse myelitis. This condition causes the entire width of the spinal cord to become inflamed, resulting in weakness and numbness.
- Vasovagal syncope, or fainting. This happens when something triggers the nervous system to slow the heart rate, which leads to a rapid drop in blood pressure and fainting.
Encephalitis Caused by Vaccines
Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain, usually caused by an infection. Viruses are the most likely cause, which typically affects children and older adults as well as those with compromised immune systems.
Symptoms of encephalitis can be similar to those of the flu, including headache, fatigue, fever and achy muscles and joints. It’s important to see a doctor if these symptoms progress to:
- General confusion
- Loss of consciousness
- Loss of sensation or paralysis in the face or body
- Muscle weakness
In young children and infants, symptoms of encephalitis can include bulging fontanelles (soft spots), nausea, vomiting, body stiffness, irritability and difficulty with feeding. If your child has these symptoms, they should be seen by a doctor immediately.
Encephalopathy and Vaccines
Encephalopathy refers to a number of brain conditions that can be temporary or permanent. They range from mild memory loss to dementia and seizures. In rare cases, encephalopathy can be caused by vaccines.
Symptoms of encephalopathy include:
- Personality changes
- Poor concentration
- Problems with memory
If you have symptoms of this condition after a vaccination, see a doctor right away.
Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension Caused by Vaccines
Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is also called pseudotumor cerebri. It occurs when the pressure inside your skull increases, often for unknown reasons. The symptoms are similar to those of a brain tumor, and can include:
- Loss of peripheral vision
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pain in the neck, shoulder or back
- Seeing light flashes
- Severe headaches
- Vision loss or double vision
When idiopathic intracranial hypertension is linked to other conditions it’s called secondary intracranial hypertension. IIH has been linked to conditions such as Addison’s disease, anemia, blood-clotting disorders, sleep apnea, kidney disease and others.
If you or your child has symptoms of idiopathic intracranial hypertension, you should see a doctor right away.
How We Can Help With Your Brain Condition Claim
A brain or neurologic condition caused by a vaccine can be life altering, and you might be eligible for compensation under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).
The vaccine injury attorneys at Sands Anderson understand how devasting a brain injury can be. We give you focused, caring attention, and we put our skills and experience to work for you.
Your vaccine injury team will explain the VICP process and file your claim, at no cost to you. With our in-depth knowledge of healthcare litigation, we’ll help you every step of the way to getting the compensation you deserve.