Becky Dennis, Author of BRAIN WRECK, to Speak on Patient Advocacy at the Encephalitis Global 2014 Conference

Becky Dennis, advocate, author of the highly acclaimed Brain Wreck and encephalitis survivor, will speak on patient advocacy at the Encephalitis Global 2014 conference this Saturday, February 22 in La Jolla, California. The conference highlights the first annual World Encephalitis Day, which creates awareness about the devastating consequences of encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain.

Encephalitis strikes 20,000 Americans each year and roughly 500,000 people across the globe. Approximately 20 percent of encephalitis victims die. This brain injury can be triggered by many causes, including the herpes cold sore virus, mosquitoes, or auto-immune disorders. However, more than 50 percent of causes are unknown; and there is no cure.

Becky Dennis is a survivor of encephalitis and as a patient advocate is a trusted "go-to" resource for scarce information about this rare syndrome. With a tenacious drive and compassionate spirit, Dennis is putting encephalitis on the map.

"World Encephalitis Day marks an occasion to bring about more awareness for this overlooked brain injury," said Dennis. "It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere, at any age, and even to those in good health. In 2012, it became personal to our community when 174 people were struck with West Nile encephalitis here in Dallas County."

As a survivor, Dennis offers a unique perspective for patients. With caregivers, she is often asked to be a resource to coach both during the acute phase of crisis as well as help navigate the long-term recovery. Within the medical community, Dennis works with the International Encephalitis Consortium, a network of infectious disease professionals, neurologists, rehabilitation specialists and researchers who collaborate to reduce the global impact of encephalitis. Together the consortium works to improve survivor outcomes, identify causes, and improve diagnostics.

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