Susan Swedo, M.D.

Senior Investigator

Pediatrics and Developmental Neuroscience Branch (PDNB)

NIMH

Magnuson Clinical Center (Building 10), Room 1C250
10 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20814

301-496-5323

swedos@mail.nih.gov

Research Topics

The Pediatrics and Developmental Neuroscience Branch is comprised of a clinical research team investigating the etiology, phenomenology, pathophysiology and treatment of developmental disorders and childhood psychiatric disorders. Autism spectrum disorders and childhood-onset obsessive compulsive disorder (and particularly the PANDAS subtype) are of particular research interest.

Biography

Dr. Swedo is currently Chief Pediatrics & Developmental Neuroscience Branch at the NIMH. Dr. Swedo received her M.D. from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and completed her pediatrics residency at Children’s Memorial Hospital (Northwestern University) in Chicago. Dr. Swedo began her career as a hospital-based pediatrician in Evanston, IL and was later named Chief of Adolescent Medicine at the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University. She moved to the Washington area in 1986 and joined the staff of the Child Psychiatry Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health, where she conducted research on childhood obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Dr. Swedo and her NIMH team were the first to identify a new subtype of pediatric OCD, in which symptoms are triggered by cross-reactive antibodies produced in response to infections with Group A beta-hemolytic streptococci. The subgroup is known by the acronym, PANDAS, which stands for: Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections. This work led to the development of several novel therapies, including use of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) and plasmapheresis to treat acutely ill children, and antibiotics prophylaxis to prevent strep-triggered neuropsychiatric exacerbations. Subsequent work has revealed that the cross-reactive antibodies are unique to the PANDAS subgroup and have biologic activity in the CNS.

In 2002, Dr. Swedo moved to the extramural side of NIMH to serve as Associate Director for Pediatric Research and Director of the Division of Pediatric Translational Research. She returned to the Pediatrics & Developmental Neuroscience Branch in May 2006 to establish a multi-disciplinary, clinical research team dedicated to studies of autism spectrum disorders and related neurodevelopmental disorders. Studies of childhood-onset OCD are also underway in the Branch.

Selected Publications

  1. Williams KA, Swedo SE. Post-infectious autoimmune disorders: Sydenham's chorea, PANDAS and beyond. Brain Res. 2015;1617:144-54.

  2. Gaughan T, Buckley A, Hommer R, Grant P, Williams K, Leckman JF, Swedo SE. Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Abnormalities in Children with Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS). J Clin Sleep Med. 2016;12(7):1027-32.

  3. Chang K, Frankovich J, Cooperstock M, Cunningham MW, Latimer ME, Murphy TK, Pasternack M, Thienemann M, Williams K, Walter J, Swedo SE, PANS Collaborative Consortium.. Clinical evaluation of youth with pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS): recommendations from the 2013 PANS Consensus Conference. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2015;25(1):3-13.

  4. Swedo SE, Seidlitz J, Kovacevic M, Latimer ME, Hommer R, Lougee L, Grant P. Clinical presentation of pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections in research and community settings. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2015;25(1):26-30.

  5. Swedo SE, Frankovich J, Murphy TK. Overview of Treatment of Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2017;27(7):562-565.


This page was last updated on August 29th, 2017