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Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain substance) is one of the most important types of brain injury. It is often caused by a virus, or by the body’s defense system. It often has a devastating impact on the patient, their family and carers. For the number of people affected, the costs to the NHS and society are disproportionally large, because of the nature of the brain damage cause

The Royal Preston Hospital (part of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals) was a recruitment centre for this study, which has now closed.

Key findings from the work are summarised below.

Encephalitis remains an important problem. Attention should focus on converting our discoveries to improving the management through better awareness among health care professionals and the public. The investigators are updating National Encephalitis Guidelines and leading the production of European Guidelines, as well as producing information leaflets with the Encephalitis Society. Using the Brain Infections UK network, set up through this programme grant, and the improved understanding of encephalitis outcomes, the researchers have set up a randomised controlled trial assessing the role of corticosteroids in HSV encephalitis (in progress, NIHR-funded, ISRCTN11774734).

Further information can be found on the ENCEPH-UK website.