From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Encephalopathy /ɛnˌsɛfəˈlɒpəθi/ means disorder or disease of the brain. In modern usage, encephalopathy does not refer to a single disease, but rather to a syndrome of global brain dysfunction; this syndrome can have many different organic and inorganic causes.
In some contexts it refers to permanent (or degenerative) brain injury, and in others it is reversible. It can be due to direct injury to the brain, or illness remote from the brain. In medical terms it can refer to a wide variety of brain disorders with very different etiologies, prognoses and implications. For example, prion diseases, all of which cause transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, are invariably fatal, but other encephalopathies are reversible and can have a number of causes including nutritional deficiencies and toxins.
There are many types of encephalopathy. Some examples include:
- Mitochondrial encephalopathy: Metabolic disorder caused by dysfunction of mitochondrial DNA. Can affect many body systems, particularly the brain and nervous system.
- Glycine encephalopathy: A genetic metabolic disorder involving excess production of glycine
- Hepatic encephalopathy: Arising from advanced cirrhosis of the liver
- Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy: Permanent or transitory encephalopathy arising from severely reduced oxygen delivery to the brain
- Static encephalopathy: Unchanging, or permanent, brain damage
- Uremic encephalopathy: Arising from high levels of toxins normally cleared by the kidneys—rare where dialysis is readily available
- Wernicke’s encephalopathy: Arising from thiamine deficiency, usually in the setting of alcoholism
- Hashimoto’s encephalopathy: Arising from an auto-immune disorder
- Hypertensive encephalopathy: Arising from acutely increased blood pressure
- Chronic traumatic encephalopathy: Progressive degenerative disease associated with multiple concussions and other forms of head injury
- Lyme encephalopathy: Arising from Lyme disease bacteria, including Borrelia burgdorferi.
- Toxic encephalopathy: A form of encephalopathy caused by chemicals, often resulting in permanent brain damage
- Toxic-Metabolic encephalopathy: A catch-all for brain dysfunction caused by infection, organ failure, or intoxication
- Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy: A collection of diseases all caused by prions, and characterized by “spongy” brain tissue (riddled with holes), impaired locomotion or coordination, and a 100% mortality rate. Includes bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease), scrapie, and kuru among others.
- Neonatal encephalopathy: An obstetric form, often occurring due to lack of oxygen in bloodflow to brain-tissue of the fetus during labour or delivery
- Salmonella encephalopathy : A form of encephalopathy caused by food poisoning (especially out of peanuts and rotten meat) often resulting in permanent brain damage and nervous system disorders.
- Encephalomyopathy: A combination of encephalopathy and myopathy. Causes may include mitochondrial disease (particularly MELAS) or chronichypophosphatemia, as may occur in cystinosis.
Signs and symptoms
The hallmark of encephalopathy is an altered mental state.