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altered mental status

Link: Assessment of altered mental status

Altered mental status (AMS) is a general term used to describe various disorders of mental functioning that can range from slight confusion to coma. [1] Given the vagueness of the term, it is imperative to understand its key components before considering a differential diagnosis. Fundamentally, mental status is a combination of the patient’s level of consciousness (i.e., attentiveness) and cognition (i.e., mental processes or thoughts); patients may have disorders of one or both. [2] For example, patients with meningitis may have impaired consciousness (i.e., altered sensorium, decreased attentiveness) with intact cognition, whereas patients with dementia may have a normal level of consciousness with impaired cognition. However, more frequently, patients exhibit altered levels of consciousness plus cognition: for example, with delirium, a relatively common and sometimes fatal cause of AMS.

This article discusses “altered mental status” which is often listed as a symptom of encephalopathy. The full article can be found at http://bestpractice.bmj.com/best-practice/monograph/843.html.

This website is not a substitute for independent professional advice. Nothing contained in this site is intended to be used as medical advice. No articles, personal accounts, or other content are intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professionals advice.

Link: Hashimoto’s Encephalopathy – A Brief Review

Hashimoto’s encephalopathy (HE) is a syndrome of altered mental status, hallucinations, delusional thinking, and often, epileptic seizures. It is diagnosed by the clinical syndrome, the presence of elevated titers of antithyroid antibodies, the lack of another diagnosis based on clinical evaluation, and the response to corticosteroid and other immunosuppressant treatment. This review discusses the symptoms, pathophysiology, and treatment of HE. The disorder is important to recognize because aggressive treatment may bring about a favorable clinical outcome. The disorder has a relatively benign prognosis, compared with many of the entities for which it can be mistaken.

The abstract can be found at http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11910-014-0476-2#page-2. The full article can be purchased or “rented” from Springer Link.

 

Copyright ©  July 2014 | by Howard S. Kirshner

This website is not a substitute for independent professional advice. Nothing contained in this site is intended to be used as medical advice. No articles, personal accounts, or other content are intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professionals advice.