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March 1976

Infantile Diffuse Cerebral Degeneration With Hepatic Cirrhosis

Arch Neurol. 1976;33(3):186-192. doi:10.1001/archneur.1976.00500030042009

• Four children had progressive degeneration of the cerebral cortex, with hepatic cirrhosis. They and four previously described ones, are representative of a distinct form of hepatocerebral degeneration. Onset of the neurological disorder is between ages 1 and 3 years, at times with mild developmental delay. Explosive onset of intractable convulsions, leaving the child in a stuporous and demented state, is characteristic. Generalized hypotonia or hemiparesis were observed in several affected children. Clinical evidences of hepatic disease, including ascites and jaundice, occurred late, if at all. The illness ended fatally within ten months of onset of convulsions. Pathological findings in the brain are neuronal loss and gliosis, in a pattern that is indistinguishable from that in degeneration of the cerebral gray matter in infancy (Alpers disease). The hepatic lesions consist of cirrhosis or of subacute hepatitis, with superimposed fatty infiltration of hepatocytes. The disorder is genetically determined, with recessive inheritance.