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Children and encephalitis lethargica: a historical review.
Pediatr Neurol. 2007 Aug; 37(2):79-84.PN

Abstract

Between 1917 and the late 1920s, encephalitis lethargica was an epidemic and often lethal neurologic disease. In adults, it typically elicited severe somatic effects, and in particular, various forms of cranial nerve and motor dysfunction. In children, the psychiatric effects were often as severe as the physical consequences. Approximately one third of affected children underwent a rapid transformation from normal behavior to delinquency, often leading to institutionalization. Many neurologic and psychological theories were advanced to explain these severe behavioral changes, and the therapeutic approaches employed ranged from training in dedicated schools to frontal leucotomy. Whereas epidemiologic associations provide both positive and negative support for an etiologic relationship between encephalitis lethargica and the approximately contemporaneous "Spanish" influenza epidemic, previously unutilized data from children provide some of the strongest links between influenza and encephalitis lethargica. Encephalitis lethargica triggered behavioral changes in children that are not duplicated by any other neurologic condition, with the possible exception of traumatic brain injury. These unique behavioral abnormalities may provide the earliest clear indication of new encephalitis lethargica cases, whether alone or in concert with an influenza epidemic.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46805, USA. vilensk@ipfw.eduNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Historical Article
Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

17675021

Citation

Vilensky, Joel A., et al. "Children and Encephalitis Lethargica: a Historical Review." Pediatric Neurology, vol. 37, no. 2, 2007, pp. 79-84.
Vilensky JA, Foley P, Gilman S. Children and encephalitis lethargica: a historical review. Pediatr Neurol. 2007;37(2):79-84.
Vilensky, J. A., Foley, P., & Gilman, S. (2007). Children and encephalitis lethargica: a historical review. Pediatric Neurology, 37(2), 79-84.
Vilensky JA, Foley P, Gilman S. Children and Encephalitis Lethargica: a Historical Review. Pediatr Neurol. 2007;37(2):79-84. PubMed PMID: 17675021.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Children and encephalitis lethargica: a historical review. AU - Vilensky,Joel A, AU - Foley,Paul, AU - Gilman,Sid, PY - 2007/02/26/received PY - 2007/04/20/revised PY - 2007/04/30/accepted PY - 2007/8/7/pubmed PY - 2007/10/30/medline PY - 2007/8/7/entrez SP - 79 EP - 84 JF - Pediatric neurology JO - Pediatr Neurol VL - 37 IS - 2 N2 - Between 1917 and the late 1920s, encephalitis lethargica was an epidemic and often lethal neurologic disease. In adults, it typically elicited severe somatic effects, and in particular, various forms of cranial nerve and motor dysfunction. In children, the psychiatric effects were often as severe as the physical consequences. Approximately one third of affected children underwent a rapid transformation from normal behavior to delinquency, often leading to institutionalization. Many neurologic and psychological theories were advanced to explain these severe behavioral changes, and the therapeutic approaches employed ranged from training in dedicated schools to frontal leucotomy. Whereas epidemiologic associations provide both positive and negative support for an etiologic relationship between encephalitis lethargica and the approximately contemporaneous "Spanish" influenza epidemic, previously unutilized data from children provide some of the strongest links between influenza and encephalitis lethargica. Encephalitis lethargica triggered behavioral changes in children that are not duplicated by any other neurologic condition, with the possible exception of traumatic brain injury. These unique behavioral abnormalities may provide the earliest clear indication of new encephalitis lethargica cases, whether alone or in concert with an influenza epidemic. SN - 0887-8994 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/17675021/Children_and_encephalitis_lethargica:_a_historical_review_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0887-8994(07)00194-4 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -