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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


Severe toxic encephalopathy with corpus callosum

Anna Pokryszko-Dragan, Małgorzata Bieszczad, Małgorzata Bilińska

CaseRepClinPractRev 2002; 3(4):245-249

ID: 474444

Available online:


Background: Marchiafava-Bignami disease (M.-B.) is one of the rarer toxic encephalopathies due to alcohol abuse. The most characteristic feature of this disorder is demyelination of the corpus callosum. The disease
usually takes a subacute course and leads to death. To date, the diagnosis has been established most frequently on the basis of autopsy.
Case report: The authors present a case of severe toxic encephalopathy (in a patient with chronic excessive alcohol intake). The clinical presentation included: disturbances of consciousness and intellectual degradation, elements of neglect syndrome, seizures, gait and posture abnormalities, symptoms of pyramidal tract damage. Imaging of the CNS, demonstrating corpus callosum demyelination, played an important role in diagnostics.
Atypical, favorable outcome of the disease is noteworthy.
Conclusions: Advances in CNS imaging techniques allow curently intravital diagnostics of M.-B. disease. Remission of some clinical symptoms and lesions demonstrated by imaging techniques in the course of the disease
is possible.

Keywords: Marchiafava-Bignami disease, toxic encephalopathy, demyelination, Corpus Callosum