Cases reported "Multiple System Atrophy"

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1/4. Clinical and physiological characteristics of autonomic failure with Parkinson's disease.

    We analyzed the clinical and physiological features of autonomic failure with Parkinson's disease (AF-PD) in seven patients and compared them with those of autonomic failure with multiple system atrophy (AF-MSA). In AF-PD, parkinsonism was more gradually progressive than in AF-MSA, and symptoms were responsive to L-dopa. All seven patients with AF-PD had orthostatic hypotension, postprandial hypotension, and constipation, but no urinary retention. Of these, three had hypohidrosis and five had frequent urination; five patients had subnormal plasma norepinephrine (NE) concentrations. Supersensitivity to NE infusion was observed in all patients. head-up tilting (HUT) test resulted in no increase of plasma NE concentrations in both groups, but a significant increase of the plasma arginine vasopressin (AVP) concentrations in the patients with AF-PD. Urodynamic studies revealed that urinary bladder function was relatively well preserved in AF-PD in contrast to AF-MSA. In conclusion, there exists some clinical and physiological differences in autonomic features between AF-PD and AF-MSA, and postganglionic involvement predominates in AF-PD.
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2/4. A case of rapidly progressive multiple system degeneration: morphological findings and pathogenetic implications.

    A 62-year-old woman was referred to our psychiatric hospital by the municipal health office, because she was in such a neglected condition that she was a danger to herself. Initially, it was suspected that she was suffering from dementia or psychosis. x-rays led to the suspicion of bronchial carcinoma. Consequently, the mental changes were interpreted as probable effects of metastases to the brain. There was not enough time, however, to check the patient thoroughly to find the actual cause of her altered personality. The patient developed a high fever (up to 42 degrees C). A few days later, she died of cardiorespiratory failure with severe abscess-forming obstructive pneumonia. An autopsy confirmed the bronchial carcinoma. However, metastases were only found in the hilar lymph nodes. No metastases were detectable in the CNS, either macroscopically or microscopically. The neuropathological examination of the brain revealed multiple system degeneration. The striking microscopic findings (a large number of typical apoptotic figures visible with the light microscope in ganglion cells, lack of cytoplasmic inclusion bodies in the oligodendroglia and an unusually strong monocytic reaction (so-called reactive satellitosis) indicated that the disease course had been very rapid. Perhaps these were early steps in the evolution of a multisystem atrophy. A kind of time-lapse effect, as it were, revealed simultaneously individual details of the pathogenetic course, which would have disappeared in the usual long course of the disease and thus could not have been observed, even with the most up-to-date molecular methods. It is very likely that this was a paraneoplastic syndrome.
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3/4. Involvement of medullary regions controlling sympathetic output in lewy body disease.

    We sought to determine the involvement of medullary regions controlling sympathetic output in pathologically confirmed diffuse lewy body disease (LBD). We studied eight limbic or neocortical stage LBD and eight multiple system atrophy (MSA) cases, confirmed neuropathologically, and eight age-matched controls. Five of the LBD cases and all MSA cases had orthostatic hypotension. Serial 50-mum sections obtained from the medulla rostral to the obex were immunostained for tyrosine hydroxylase, tryptophan hydroxylase and alpha-synuclein. Analysis was focused on the ventrolateral medulla and medullary raphe nuclei. In LBD cases, there were lewy bodies and neurites, as well as dystrophic neurons in the ventrolateral medulla, but the number of catecholaminergic and serotonergic neurons was not significantly reduced. All these groups were depleted in MSA. There were Lewy body pathology and dystrophic neurons in the raphe in all LBD cases. Cell numbers were reduced in both the raphe obscurus and raphe pallidus. Our findings suggest that, although LBD affects medullary autonomic areas, it does so less severely than MSA, particularly in the case of the VLM, which controls sympathetic outputs maintaining arterial pressure. In LBD, orthostatic hypotension may be due primarily to involvement of sympathetic ganglion neurons rather than ventrolateral medulla neurons.
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4/4. A differential diagnosis of Parkinsonism.

    Parkinsonism is a common, age-related syndrome, characterized by resting tremor, bradykinesias, rigidity, and postural reflex impairment. Though Parkinsonism is not very difficult to recognize, all Parkinsonism is not created equal and it is important to distinguish among the most common identifiable syndromes. This review discusses the key clinical features of these various syndromes, including Parkinson's disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, multiple system atrophy, corticobasal ganglionic degeneration, lewy body disease, vascular Parkinsonism, and Parkinsonism with no clear etiology. Symptomatology and diagnostic testing for each syndrome are discussed and 4 typical cases are analyzed to offer clinicians guidance in making a differential diagnosis for Parkinsonism.
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