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About Us

The past decade has seen billions of dollars spent on identifying genetic risks for psychiatric illness.  While considerable progress has been made, it is increasingly clear that genetic vulnerability alone only accounts for a small percentage of psychiatric illness.  Additionally, the identified genetic causes for neuropsychiatric disorders are frequently shared across multiple diseases and are rarely fully penetrant, further complicating the role that genetics play in the development of these illnesses.  There is a clear need to explore other factors which may explain what genetics alone cannot, including inflammation, infection, and the microbiome.

Mending Minds Foundation’s goal is to explore and resolve one of the greatest puzzles of humankind: Why, and how, do young children develop psychiatric disease? Our method is to include all of the varied pieces of this puzzle that are currently available—genetics, immunity, and the microbiome, in order to provide the clearest picture to date of the mechanism behind two closely related psychiatric disorders: Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal infections (PANDAS) and Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome.   Our secondary intent is that this mode of analysis may become a model for future investigations of neuropsychiatric disorders in children and adults.

What Needs to Happen

Diagnostic Biomarker

This is a “physical indicator,” a crucial first step in the development of easily accessible diagnostic tools for use by pediatricians and clinicians worldwide. Without a biomarker, diagnosis remains clinical, based on presentation and history. This reduces the accuracy and speed of diagnosis and makes treatment more challenging, with devastating results for patients and their families. Innovations in testing would prompt the development and implementation of diagnostic guidelines.

Uniform Treatment Consensus

Currently, no consensus exists in the medical community on treatment for children with post-infectious neuroimmune disorders. Robust data collection is needed to elucidate the relationship between clinical presentation, timing and type of intervention, and outcome. Large-scale data analysis would bring consensus regarding treatment approaches for children with these conditions and transform clinical care into precision medicine, enabling an optimal match between patient and intervention.

Dissemination of Information and Research Findings

Clinicians world-wide need access to accurate information and up-to-date research to ensure a consensus clinical approach for patients, including differential diagnosis and best practice treatment guidelines. Building a mechanism for information-sharing and collaboration between scientists and doctors will ensure that scientific discoveries impact clinical practice and clinical experience informs research.