Woman diagnosed with neurological disorder has story to tell - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Woman diagnosed with neurological disorder has story to tell

By Dan Wells – bio | email

CINCINNATI (FOX19) – A woman diagnosed with a recently-discovered neurological disorder has quite a story to tell.

For weeks, doctors from all over the Buckeye State told 22-year old Kiera Echols' family she was going insane and at one point her family was advised to institutionalize her. That's until she got to University Hospital.

It all started when Kiera began complaining of headaches, body aches and neck stiffness. Doctors in Kiera's hometown say those symptoms were attributed to meningitis.

Kiera however progressively got worse. A few days later, fever, light-headedness, double vision and blackouts followed.

At that point Kiera went to stay with her parents as her health deteriorated; her husband of nearly two years was away for U.S. Air Force military basic training.

More delusions, some involving goblins, followed, including an hour-long episode where she repeatedly screamed that she was in labor but not pregnant. At that point , Kiera was admitted to a local hospital.

Within three days, doctors told Kiera's parents she needed to be committed to a psychiatric ward.

"We were angry at everything because we wanted some answers," stated Kiera's mother. "They were trying to tell us that she was crazy, and we were saying, 'no, she's not.'"

The family didn't accept the diagnosis, and asked to be referred to another doctor.

The family wanted her to be treated at Ohio State University Medical Center, but the hospital didn't accept her insurance, so she ended up at University Hospital in Cincinnati. Her family says it was the best thing that could have happened to her.

At University Hospital, physicians thought her symptoms resembled NMDA Receptor Encephalitis.  An MRI of the pelvis showed an abnormality that was likely a teratoma tumor on her ovaries.

The tumor was, a freakish, but not uncommon, conglomeration of basic cells growing out of control. Some teratomas contain hair, fat cells, eyeballs or tiny feet.

Echols' body recognized the tumor as an invader, and developed antibodies against it, just like it would develop antibodies against a cold virus.

Those antibodies attacked certain chemicals in the brain, triggering the encephalitis and the hallucinations.

Doctors performed surgery to remove the tumor, and Kiera's symptoms went away.

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