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November 1975

A Syndrome of Acute Zinc Loss: Cerebellar Dysfunction, Mental Changes, Anorexia, and Taste and Smell Dysfunction

Author Affiliations

From the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md. Dr. Patten is now at Baylor University, Houston; Dr. Re is at Emory University, Atlanta; Mrs. Bronzert is at the University of California, La Jolla; and Dr. Henkin is at the Center for Molecular Nutrition and Sensory Disorders, Washington, DC.

Arch Neurol. 1975;32(11):745-751. doi:10.1001/archneur.1975.00490530067006

• Oral administration of the amino acid histidine to six patients with progressive systemic sclerosis produced anorexia, taste and smell dysfunction, changes in mentation, and cerebellar dysfunction in each patient; these changes were associated with significant decreases in serum zinc concentration and significant increases in urinary zinc excretion. Administration of zinc ion, even with continued histidine administration, returned each of the signs and symptoms to or toward normal within 8 to 24 hours in each patient at the same time that correction of the serum zinc concentration occurred. The signs and symptoms noted constitute a syndrome related to acute zinc loss.

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