Atypical childhood Wilson's disease

Division of Pediatric Neurology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-0202, USA.
Pediatric Neurology (Impact Factor: 1.7). 02/2004; 30(1):57-60. DOI: 10.1016/S0887-8994(03)00422-3
Source: PubMed


Wilson's disease is a genetic disorder of copper metabolism with a hepatic or neurologic presentation. A hepatic presentation is more common in young children. Neurologic Wilson's disease often manifests as a movement disorder with dystonia, tremor, and dysarthria. Psychiatric or behavioral symptoms can also be a presenting feature of Wilson's disease. We describe an atypical neurologic presentation in a prepubertal child with minimal hepatic involvement; in which transient hemiparesis and encephalopathy dominated her initial neurologic presentation. Brain magnetic resonance imaging revealed extensive cortical and subcortical signal change, in addition to the classical basal ganglia signal abnormality observed in Wilson's disease. She was treated with oral tetrathiomolybdate anticopper therapy, followed by zinc maintenance. Her clinical status and brain imaging improved considerably at 1 year after treatment initiation. Neurologic Wilson's disease may have diverse presentations, and should be considered in children who present with cortical features and signal change on magnetic resonance imaging.

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