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Acta Psychiatr Belg. 1977 Jul-Aug;77(4):429-45.

[Late catatonic syndrom symptomatic of a degenerative encephalopathy (author's transl)].

[Article in French]


The authors have observed the evolution of a late catatonic syndrome in a 50 years old woman, without psychological background. They have observed a progressive mental (intellectual) deterioration which have had for a long time a partial and paradoxical aspect, while on the thymic and affective stade an atypical melancolic picture evolved toward a schizophrenic syndrome with catatonic traits which finally came to a stade of marasmus and death after three and a half years of illness. A psychological examination performed at mid course confirmed the mental deterioration without intellectual disorganisation (Wechler) while the Rorschach indicated schizophrenia. The neuro-radiological explorations, repeated several times, have demonstrated the existence of a diffuse cerebral atrophy on the white substance and yet more on the cortex, and it was possible to follow the aggravation of this atrophy. Repeated biological tests were less informative: albumine in the CSF was 0.15 to 0.63 g % and an isolated increase of alpha1-globulines in the CSF was observed at the electrophoresis 4 months before the exitus. Histological examination of cortical biopsies and of the white substance indicates a degenerative encephalopathy with spongiosis and cortical atrophy. Because of the limited value of the histopathological examination, one cannot suggest a systematic interpretation of the catatonic symptoms.

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