(MEDICALXPRESS) — Greg Widseth didn't know what hit him. The lawyer felt fine as he coached his son's ninth-grade basketball workout last March. He remembers smiling at a young woman as he left the building.
Now Widseth, who once had a photographic memory, is struggling to reconstruct the events that put him in the hospital and led his wife, a former emergency room nurse, to seek help from the Mayo Clinic.
Specialists at Mayo determined that Widseth, 47, was hit by a rare disease that prompted his immune system to attack his brain cells, resulting in as many as 60 seizures a day.
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Mayo is one the world's leaders in the diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune neurological diseases, an emerging specialty that drives about 2,500 patients a year to seek help at its Rochester campus. Widseth said neurologists near his home had no idea what to do for him after standard anti-seizure drugs failed to stop the lightning jolting his brain.