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August 1996

Progressive Deterioration of Intellect and Motor Function Occurring Several Decades After Cranial Irradiation: A New Facet in the Clinical Spectrum of Radiation Encephalopathy

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle Upon Tyne, England.

Arch Neurol. 1996;53(8):814-818. doi:10.1001/archneur.1996.00550080140022

Objective:  To report the cases of 2 patients who developed the features of radiation encephalopathy 33 and 28 years after cranial irradiation.

Design:  Case reports; clinical data were available for 2 years in each instance.

Conclusion:  Latent intervals approaching 2 decades have been reported in cases of radiation necrosis following cranial irradiation, but a similar or greater delay before the onset of radiation encephalopathy has not been described previously. This report indicates that a diagnosis of radiation encephalopathy must be considered when any individual who has received cranial irradiation presents with deterioration in intellectual or motor function, whatever the interval.

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