Senator Witkos Applauds Passage of PANDAS Advisory Council Bill

June 6, 2013

Hartford – State Senator Kevin Witkos (R-Canton) introduced legislation on the Senate floor that would establish an advisory council to improve our understanding about two debilitating disorders that affect children. He introduced the proposal as an amendment to Senate Bill 1070, An Act Establishing a School Nurse Advisory Council.

“After several years of bringing attention to PANDAS, I am so proud that this legislation has gained bipartisan and unanimous support,” said Senator Witkos. “With the passage of this bill, our state will be the first in the nation to establish an advisory committee to deal with this debilitating disorder. If it is caught early enough, it can be cured, and we have the opportunity to improve our public education about how best to recognize and provide effective treatment to those who are affected by PANDAS.”

The proposal that Senator Witkos introduced specifically focuses on pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder associated with streptococcal infections (PANDAS) and pediatric acute neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS).

These disorders are characterized by the dramatic onset of neuropsychiatric symptoms including a combination of obsessions, compulsions, tics and other symptoms. They are believed to be caused when the immune system produces an antibody that interacts with neurons in the brain.

The bill requires the state Department of Public Health to establish a 14-member advisory council that will provide the DPH commissioner with information about research, diagnosis, treatment and an outreach and education program for health care providers for the recognition of and treatment options for PANDAS.

Lynn Johnson, the Executive Director of the PANDAS Resource Network, and Jim Carson played an integral role in advocating for the legislation.

“To begin mitigating all the human and financial costs of PANDAS/PANS several steps should be taken—it is imperative that research and awareness into this disorder take place simultaneously,” according to Lynn Johnson. “These include development of clinical awareness programs for physicians and the public, development of effective epidemiological studies within the state of Connecticut, and development of outcome studies of clinical intervention strategies. I look forward to working with the PANDAS Advisory Council and Public Health Commissioner Mullen on developing a plan to get these sick children identified and treated.”

“As a parent of a child with PANDAS who was misdiagnosed for ten years, I am so pleased to know that this bill is the first step to educating the medical community about this debilitating disorder so that other sick children can find treatment and get their lives back on track,” said Jim Carson of West Hartford. “I am very proud to see our legislature make PANDAS a priority for my son William and all the others suffering with this immune disorder.”

The bill, S.B. 1070, passed by a unanimous vote in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. It now moves to the Governor’s office to be signed into law. For more information about the PANDAS Resource Network, please visit their website at