Elemental mercury poisoning probably causes cortical myoclonus

Authors

  • Mona Ragothaman MBBS,

    1. Department of Neurology, National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences, Bangalore, India
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  • Girish Kulkarni DM,

    1. Department of Neurology, National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences, Bangalore, India
    2. Department of Neurology, Malabar Institute of Medical Sciences, Calicut, India
    3. Department of Neuropathology, National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences, Bangalore, India
    4. Department of Neuroradiology, National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences, Bangalore, India
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  • Valappil V. Ashraf DM,

    1. Department of Neurology, Malabar Institute of Medical Sciences, Calicut, India
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  • Pramod K. Pal DM,

    1. Department of Neurology, National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences, Bangalore, India
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  • Yasha Chickabasavaiah MD,

    1. Department of Neuropathology, National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences, Bangalore, India
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  • Susarla K. Shankar MD,

    1. Department of Neuropathology, National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences, Bangalore, India
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  • Srikanth S. Govindappa MD,

    1. Department of Neuroradiology, National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences, Bangalore, India
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  • Parthasarthy Satishchandra DM,

    1. Department of Neurology, National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences, Bangalore, India
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  • Uday B. Muthane DM

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Neurology, National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences, Bangalore, India
    • Department of Neurology, National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences, Bangalore 560 029, India
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Abstract

Mercury toxicity causes postural tremors, commonly referred to as “mercurial tremors,” and cerebellar dysfunction. A 23-year woman, 2 years after injecting herself with elemental mercury developed disabling generalized myoclonus and ataxia. Electrophysiological studies confirmed the myoclonus was probably of cortical origin. Her deficits progressed over 2 years and improved after subcutaneous mercury deposits at the injection site were surgically cleared. Myoclonus of cortical origin has never been described in mercury poisoning. It is important to ask patients presenting with jerks about exposure to elemental mercury even if they have a progressive illness, as it is a potentially reversible condition as in our patient. © 2007 Movement Disorder Society

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