Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Wilson's disease


Patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and cirrhosis have higher risk for liver-related complications and have historically been more difficult to cure than patients without cirrhosis. We evaluated the safety and efficacy of ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir and dasabuvir, without ribavirin, for 12 weeks in patients with HCV GT1b infection and compensated cirrhosis.

Concepts: Cirrhosis, Hepatitis, Hepatocellular carcinoma, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis C virus, Wilson's disease


BACKGROUND: A high index of suspicion is required to make this diagnosis of constrictive pericarditis (CP) in patients presenting with cirrhosis and volume overload, as they can otherwise go misdiagnosed for years. METHODS: Case report. FINDINGS: A 51 year-old man with a history of presumed alcoholic cirrhosis presented to the emergency department with anasarca. Abdominal ultrasound with Doppler demonstrated a nodular cirrhotic liver, but no evidence of portal hypertension or ascites. The chest x-ray, however, was significant for a right-sided pleural effusion and pericardial calcification, suggestive of (CP). Transthoracic echocardiogram and ECG-gated computerized tomography scan of the chest without IV contrast confirmed the diagnosis. The patient was referred to thoracic surgery for definitive pericardiectomy. CONCLUSION: The diagnosis of CP is often neglected by admitting physicians, who usually attribute the symptoms to another disease process. Although a multimodality approach is necessary for the diagnosis of CP, this case highlights the utility of chest x-ray, a relatively non-invasive and inexpensive test, in expediting the diagnosis.

Concepts: Heart failure, Echocardiography, Medical imaging, Cirrhosis, Ascites, Pleural effusion, Hepatorenal syndrome, Wilson's disease


Dystonic storm is a frightening hyperkinetic movement disorder emergency. Marked, rapid exacerbation of dystonia requires prompt intervention and admission to the intensive care unit. Clinical features of dystonic storm include fever, tachycardia, tachypnea, hypertension, sweating and autonomic instability, often progressing to bulbar dysfunction with dysarthria, dysphagia and respiratory failure. It is critical to recognize early and differentiate dystonic storm from other hyperkinetic movement disorder emergencies. Dystonic storm usually occurs in patients with known dystonia, such as DYT1 dystonia, Wilson’s disease and dystonic cerebral palsy. Triggers such as infection or medication adjustment are present in about one-third of all events. Due to the significant morbidity and mortality of this disorder, we propose a management algorithm that divides decision making into two periods: the first 24 h, and the next 2-4 weeks. During the first 24 h, supportive therapy should be initiated, and appropriate patients should be identified early as candidates for pallidal deep brain stimulation or intrathecal baclofen. Management in the next 2-4 weeks aims at symptomatic dystonia control and supportive therapies.

Concepts: Intensive care medicine, Neurology, Parkinson's disease, Deep brain stimulation, Basal ganglia, Dystonia, Wilson's disease, Neurological disorders


Low copper and ceruloplasmin in serum are the diagnostic hallmarks for Menkes disease, Wilson disease, and aceruloplasminemia. We report on five patients from four unrelated families with these biochemical findings who presented with a lethal autosomal-recessive syndrome of congenital cataracts, hearing loss, and severe developmental delay. Cerebral MRI showed pronounced cerebellar hypoplasia and hypomyelination. Homozygosity mapping was performed and displayed a region of commonality among three families at chromosome 3q25. Deep sequencing and conventional sequencing disclosed homozygous or compound heterozygous mutations for all affected subjects in SLC33A1 encoding a highly conserved acetylCoA transporter (AT-1) required for acetylation of multiple gangliosides and glycoproteins. The mutations were found to cause reduced or absent AT-1 expression and abnormal intracellular localization of the protein. We also showed that AT-1 knockdown in HepG2 cells leads to reduced ceruloplasmin secretion, indicating that the low copper in serum is due to reduced ceruloplasmin levels and is not a sign of copper deficiency. The severity of the phenotype implies an essential role of AT-1 in proper posttranslational modification of numerous proteins, without which normal lens and brain development is interrupted. Furthermore, AT-1 defects are a new and important differential diagnosis in patients with low copper and ceruloplasmin in serum.

Concepts: Amino acid, Histone, Cell biology, Posttranslational modification, Copper, Lysine, Wilson's disease, Ceruloplasmin


Wilson’s disease (WD) is a rare inborn disease related to copper storage, leading to liver cirrhosis and neuropsychological deterioration. The aim of this study was to determine the clinical presentation and long-term outcome, and to examine the progression of hepatic histopathology in serial liver biopsies from WD patients.

Concepts: Cancer, Cirrhosis, Hepatitis, Liver, Bilirubin, Copper, Hepatic encephalopathy, Wilson's disease


BACKGROUND: Wilson’s disease diagnosis is still a challenge for clinicians. AIM: To underline the importance of genetic testing in carrier detection and diagnosis of atypical Wilson’s disease cases. METHODS: Two families with Wilson’s disease in two consecutive generations were analysed with clinical, biochemical and genetic testing. RESULTS: In one family with triplet siblings, two of whom monozygotic, molecular screening of ATP7B, the gene responsible for Wilson’s disease phenotype, allowed detection of 3 disease alleles, the discrimination between carrier and disease state and the postmortem diagnosis of Wilson’s disease in the siblings' father. In the second family, molecular analysis detected 3 disease alleles and confirmed the diagnosis of Wilson’s disease in two asymptomatic monozygotic twins. CONCLUSION: These results demonstrate that mutational analysis is determinant for carrier identification and diagnosis of atypical Wilson’s disease patients.

Concepts: Family, DNA, Gene, Genetics, Cancer, Genotype, Evolution, Wilson's disease


Wilson disease is an autosomal recessive disorder of copper metabolism. Diagnosis depends primarily on clinical features, biochemical parameters and the presence of the Kayser-Fleischer ring. Genetic analysis for mutations within ATP7B is a convincing diagnostic tool. The traditional treatment for WD includes chelation of excessive copper accumulation and reduction of copper intake. Medical therapy is effective but WD is not yet curable. Liver transplantation is especially helpful for patients who fail to respond to medical therapy or present with fulminant liver failure, although evaluation of its long-term effect are still in need.

Concepts: Medicine, Medical terms, Cirrhosis, Liver, Hepatology, Gregor Mendel, Hepatic encephalopathy, Wilson's disease


Wilson disease is associated with a defect in copper metabolism and caused by different mutations in ATP7B gene. The aim of this study was to determine mutation frequency of ATP7B exons 8 and 14 in Wilson disease patients from the South of Iran. The exons 8 and 14 of ATP7B gene were analyzed in 65 unrelated Wilson disease patients by Denaturing High Performance Liquid Chromatography, and samples with abnormal peak profile were selected for direct DNA sequencing. Seven out of 65 (10.8%) patients had mutations at exon 14, including c.3061-1G>A in four and c.3207C>A in three patients. In addition, four different mutations were identified at exon 8 of six patients (9.2%). Three of these mutations have been previously reported, including c.2304delC in two patients, c.2293G>A and 2304dupC each in one patient. Furthermore, a novel mutation, c.2335T>G (p.Trp779Gly), was identified in two unrelated patients. The patients with this novel mutation demonstrated severe neuropsychiatric condition. All together, 13 out of 65 (20%) patients had mutations within exons 8 and 14. We also identified a lower frequency of the most common mutations of exon 8 and 14 in the Southern Iranian population.

Concepts: DNA, Mutation, Evolution, DNA repair, High performance liquid chromatography, Alternative splicing, Mutation rate, Wilson's disease


BACKGROUND: Communication is often impaired in cerebral palsy (CP). Tools are needed to describe this complex function, in order to provide effective support. AIM: To study communication ability and the relationship between the Communication Function Classification System (CFCS) and CP subtype, gross motor function, manual ability, cognitive function and neuroimaging findings in the CP register of western Sweden. METHODS: Sixty-eight children (29 girls), 14 with unilateral spastic CP, 35 with bilateral spastic CP and 19 with dyskinetic CP, participated. The CFCS, Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) and Manual Ability Classification System (MACS) levels, cognitive impairment and neuroimaging findings were recorded. RESULTS: Half the children used speech, 32% used communication boards/books and 16% relied on body movements, eye gaze and sounds. Twenty-eight per cent were at the most functional CFCS level I, 13% at level II, 21% at level III, 10% at level IV and 28% at level V. CFCS levels I-II were found in 71% of children with unilateral spastic CP, 46% in bilateral spastic CP and 11% in dyskinetic CP (p = 0.03). CFCS correlated with the GMFCS, MACS and cognitive function (p < 0.01). Periventricular lesions were associated with speech and more functional CFCS levels, while cortical/subcortical and basal ganglia lesions were associated with the absence of speech and less functional CFCS levels (p < 0.01). CONCLUSION: Communication function profiles in CP can be derived from the CFCS, which correlates to gross and fine motor and cognitive function. Good communication ability is associated with lesions acquired early, rather than late, in the third trimester.

Concepts: Brain, Cerebral cortex, Basal ganglia, Language, Cerebral palsy, Spastic diplegia, Complex analysis, Wilson's disease


Wilson disease (WD) is a major type of primary copper toxicosis associated with hypoceruloplasminemia, while idiopathic copper toxicosis (ICT) is a minor type characterized by normoceruloplasminemia. Because ceruloplasmin is the major circulating ferroxidase, iron metabolism may be affected in patients with WD. Biopsied liver specimens obtained from patients with primary copper toxicosis were fixed with glutaraldehyde solution and embedded in epoxy resin. Ultrathin sections that had or had not been stained with uranyl acetate solution were examined under an electron microscope equipped with an energy dispersive X-ray analyzer. A 7-year-old boy with WD was free from any metal overloading at the pre-treatment stage. Pre-treatment liver specimens of another 16 patients showed a variety of copper and iron overload patterns, from isolated copper to evenly distributed combined overloading. A 19-year-old female patient was free from any metal overloading after 7 years of treatment. Post-treatment overloading in another 6 patients ranged between evenly distributed combined patterns and isolated iron patterns. All patients had hypoceruloplasminemia throughout treatment periods. A patient with normoceruloplasminemic ICT continued to display isolated copper overloading after 2.5 years of treatment. In conclusion, these observations support the hypothesis that iron accumulates in patients with hypoceruloplasminemia.

Concepts: Iron, Cirrhosis, Liver, Metal, Copper, Glutaraldehyde, Wilson's disease, Ceruloplasmin