HealthDay News — Genetic testing may help in the diagnosis or ruling out of central nervous system (CNS) infections, according to research published in Neurology: Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation.

The study included 10 patients, aged 16 to 68, with signs of CNS infection, including fever, weakness in limbs, partial paralysis, numbness, headache, or seizures. The researchers took brain or spinal cord biopsies and sequenced the DNA in the tissue. They looked for evidence of bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens that could cause infection.

“By incorporating modern genetic sequencing techniques into pathology diagnostics, we were able to investigate the potential presence of infection in 10 subjects and found appropriate explanations of clinical problems in 8 out of 10 patient cases examined in this study,” study author Carlos Pardo-Villamizar, MD, an associate professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said in a university news release.

“We hope to develop this technique further as a way to bring the diagnosis rate of inflammatory brain disorders and infections closer to 100% so we can treat patients more effectively,” Dr Pardo-Villamizar added.

Related Articles


Salzberg SL, Breitwieser FP, Kumar A, et al. Next-generation sequencing in neuropathologic diagnosis of infections of the nervous system. Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm. 2016; doi:10.​1212/​NXI.​0000000000000251.