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February 1981

Autonomic Dysfunction in Subacute Spongiform Encephalopathy

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, University of Maryland Hosptial, Baltimore (Dr Khurana); and the Departments of Pathology and Neurology, University of Alabama, Birmingham (Dr Garcia).

Arch Neurol. 1981;38(2):114-117. doi:10.1001/archneur.1981.00510020072011

• Autonomic nervous system functions were studied in two patients with subacute spongiform encephalopathy (SSE) and compared with those of four patients with presenile dementia—Huntington's disease and Alzheimer's disease. Autonomic dysfunctions in patients with SSE included the following: diminished lacrimation; abnormal pupillary responses to topically applied autonomic drugs; subnormal pulse rate in response to the cold face test and atropine administration; anhidrosis and absence of a rise in blood pressure in response to the cold pressor test. These functions were normal in dementia patients who served as controls. Postmortem studies disclosed morphologic alterations in the sympathetic ganglia and vagus nerve.

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