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October 1969

Treatment of Dawson's Encephalitis With 5-Bromo-2′-Deoxyuridine: Double-Blind Study

Author Affiliations

Stanford, Calif
From the Department of Pediatrics and Human Development, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif. Dr. Freeman is now with the Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore.

Arch Neurol. 1969;21(4):431-434. doi:10.1001/archneur.1969.00480160103012

DAWSON'S encephalitis is a progressive degenerative disease of the central nervous system secondary to a chronic viral infection. Histologic, electron microscopic, immunologic, and immunofluorescent studies indicate that the etiologic agent in this disease is the rubeola virus. In addition, the rubeola virus has been cultured from brain tissue obtained at cerebral biopsy from several patients. As a chronic progressive infection of the brain, this disease might be susceptible to antiviral chemotherapy. Preliminary trials suggested that 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine (BUDR) might alter the course of the disease.1,2 To further evaluate this preliminary data, as well as to acquire detailed information regarding the course of Dawson's encephalitis, a double-blind study was undertaken using BUDR and placebo.

Materials and Methods  Patients were included in the study if all the following characteristics of Dawson's encephalitis were manifest2: (1) intellectual or personality change; (2) myoclonic jerks; (3) periodic bursts of slow wave or synchronous