No. 32







Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  ROY FREIMAN

District 16 (Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset)


District 16 (Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset)






     Designates February 22 of each year as “Autoimmune Encephalitis Awareness Day.”



     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.


A Joint Resolution designating February 22 of each year as “Autoimmune Encephalitis Awareness Day” in New Jersey.


Whereas, Autoimmune Encephalitis (AE) is a newly-discovered disease in which the body’s immune system erroneously attacks healthy brain cells, causing inflammation of the brain; and

Whereas, AE occurs in adults and children of all ages, although it has been diagnosed most often in young women; and

Whereas, The brain inflammation experienced by AE patients causes rapid onset of a combination of neurological and psychiatric symptoms, including, but not limited to: seizures, severe anxiety, insomnia, memory problems, hallucinations, loss of balance, vision changes, loss of language, cognitive problems, and agitation; and

Whereas, Depending upon the part of the brain affected, and the part of the immune system activated by the disease, the symptoms of AE can vary widely; and

Whereas, Symptoms of AE frequently overlap with those of psychiatric diseases, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, or neurological diseases, such as a seizure disorder, potentially leading to the misdiagnosis of AE as a psychiatric or neurological disorder; and

Whereas, Early diagnosis and treatment with immunotherapy greatly improves health outcomes for the majority of AE patients, while delayed diagnosis and treatment can lead to permanent brain injury and even death; and

Whereas, The direct cause of most cases of AE is still unknown; and

Whereas, A recent study indicates that approximately one million people worldwide have had AE during their lifetime, and 90,000 individuals develop AE each year; and

Whereas, Researchers believe that the incidence and prevalence of AE is likely underestimated due to the similarity of the symptoms to psychiatric or neurological disorders; and

Whereas, It is altogether fitting and proper, and in the public interest, to designate February 22 of each year as “Autoimmune Encephalitis Awareness Day,” and to encourage the citizens of this State to learn about AE, its symptoms, and the importance of early diagnosis and treatment for patient recovery; now, therefore,


     Be It Resolved by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:


     1.    February 22 of each year shall be designated “Autoimmune Encephalitis Awareness Day” in New Jersey.


     2.    The Governor is respectfully requested to annually issue a proclamation calling upon public officials and citizens of this State to observe “Autoimmune Encephalitis Awareness Day” with appropriate activities and programs.

     3.    This joint resolution shall take effect immediately.





     This resolution designates February 22 of each year as “Autoimmune Encephalitis Awareness Day” in New Jersey.  Autoimmune Encephalitis (AE) is a devastating disease, in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy brain cells, resulting in inflammation of the brain.  AE is characterized by the rapid onset of a combination of psychiatric and neurological symptoms, including, but not limited to: severe anxiety, insomnia, seizures, agitation, loss of balance, memory problems, hallucinations, and loss of language.  Because many AE symptoms overlap with those of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and seizure disorders, patients can be misdiagnosed as having a psychiatric or a neurological disease. 

     Recent research indicates that AE occurs more frequently than researchers and clinicians had originally thought.  Researchers estimate that 90,000 people worldwide develop AE each year, and one million people have suffered from AE during their lifetime.  The fluctuating nature and timing of patients’ symptoms can make an accurate AE diagnosis and treatment challenging.  Without prompt diagnosis and treatment with steroids and immunosuppressants, patients can become critically ill; the mortality rate for AE is six percent. However, with early diagnosis and intensive immunotherapy treatment, many patients either substantively or fully recover from this debilitating illness.