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Acta Paediatr. 2003 Apr;92(4):506-9.

Paraneoplastic limbic encephalitis masquerading as chronic behavioural disturbance in an adolescent girl.

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  • 1Departments of Paediatrics, Tuen Mun Hospital, New Territories, Hong Kong, China.



To describe an unusual but treatable cause of behavioural disturbance in adolescence.


The case is reported of a 15-y-old girl presenting with acute confusion, memory problems and psychotic symptoms following an 18-mo history of change in personality, school failure and running away from home. A review of the literature is also presented.


Microbiology, toxicology, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging did not show any pathology of the central nervous system. Bilateral ovarian immature teratomas were eventually diagnosed and removed. The rapid improvement in the patient's mental and cognitive functions after corticosteroid treatment and the abnormality shown on the single photon emission computed tomography suggested a diagnosis of paraneoplastic limbic encephalitis.


Paediatricians and neurologists should be aware of this rare disease entity among the more common conditions of behavioural problems and substance abuse in adolescents.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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