Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker disease: A case report.


Department of Neurology and Neuroscience Center, the First Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun 130021, Jilin Province, China. [Email]


BACKGROUND : Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker (GSS) disease is an inherited prion disease that is clinically characterized by the early onset of progressive cerebellar ataxia. The incidence of GSS is extremely low and it is particularly rare in China. Therefore, clinicians may easily confuse this disease with other diseases that also cause ataxia, resulting in its under-diagnosis or misdiagnosis.
METHODS : Here, we report the first case of genetically diagnosed GSS disease in Northeast China. The patient exhibited typical ataxia and dysarthria 2.5 years after symptom onset. However, magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and spinal cord revealed a normal anatomy. Screening results for the spinocerebellar ataxia gene were also negative. We thus proposed to expand the scope of genetic screening to include over 200 mutations that can cause ataxia. A final diagnosis of GSS was presented and the patient was followed for more than 3.5 years, during which we noted imaging abnormalities. The patient gradually exhibited decorticate posturing and convulsions. We recommended administration of oral sodium valproate, which resolved the convulsions.
CONCLUSIONS : Patients with inherited ataxia should be considered for a diagnosis of GSS via genetic testing at an early disease stage.


Brain,Case report,Cerebellar ataxia,Diagnosis,Magnetic resonance imaging,Prion disease,

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