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Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatría

versão impressa ISSN 0034-7450


CARRILLO ROBLES, Daniel  e  GARCIA MALDONADO, Gerardo. Psychiatric manifestations by prions. A narrative review. rev.colomb.psiquiatr. [online]. 2016, vol.45, n.2, pp.118-123. ISSN 0034-7450.

Prion diseases are a group of rare and rapidly progressive neurodegenerative conditions that may cause neuropsychiatric symptoms. This group of diseases has been described since the 18th century, but they were recognized decades later, when it became clear that the humans were affected by infected animals. There was controversy when the problem was attributed to a single protein with infective capacity. The common pathological process is characterized by the conversion of the normal cellular prion protein into an abnormal form. In humans, the illness has been classified as idiopathic, inherited and acquired through exposure to exogenous material containing abnormal prions. The most prominent neurological manifestation of prion diseases is the emergence of a rapidly progressive dementia, mioclonus associated with cerebellar ataxia and also extra pyramidal symptoms. Psychiatric symptoms occur in early stages of the illness and can contribute to timely diagnosis of this syndrome. Psychiatric symptoms have traditionally been grouped in three categories: affective symptoms, impaired motor function and psychotic symptoms. Such events usually occur during the prodromal period prior to the neurological manifestations and consists in the presence of social isolation, onset of delusions, irritability/aggression, visual hallucinations, anxiety and depression, and less frequent first-rank symptoms among others. Definite diagnosis requires post mortem examination. The possibility that a large number of cases may occur in the next years or that many cases have not been considered with this diagnosis is a fact. In our opinion, psychiatrists should be aware of symptoms of this disease. The main objective of this research consisted of assessing the correlation between this disturbance and neuro-psychiatric symptoms and particularly if this psychiatric manifestations integrate a clinical picture suggestive for the diagnosis of these diseases, but firstly reviewed taxonomic, pathogenic and pathological aspects. The authors of this project also added an element in relation to some diagnostic considerations based on scientific evidence. For the search controlled descriptors applied to the research for indexing scientific articles in databases were used. The electronic data bases used were PubMed, EMBASE and also PsycInfo. The descriptors were prion diseases, psychotic disorders, depression, mood disorders, pathology, classification, prion protein, history, neurological manifestations, and psychiatric manifestations. The selection criteria for the material were qualitative. To conclude, and based on the extensive literature review, the authors propose that the period where the evidence is more robust for mental impaired is named "psychiatric symptoms phase, which can be extended for a few months, being the psychiatric affective symptoms the most characteristic of this phase. In conclusion, we considered that the identification of these symptoms in a patient with risk factors for developing the disease will contribute to the early identification, and would regulate the guidelines in suspected diagnosis of this group of disorders. The intention is provide a better quality of life to the sick people.

Palavras-chave : Prion deseases; Neurological manifestations; Psychiatric manifestations; Prion protein.

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