Central nervous system effects in acute thallium poisoning

Yu Tai Tsai, Chin Chang Huang*, Hung Chou Kuo, Hsuan Min Wang, Wu Shiun Shen, Tung Sheng Shih, Nai Shin Chu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

62 Scopus citations


We report the central nervous system manifestations, neuropsychological studies and brain magnetic resonance image (MRI) findings of two patients with acute thallium intoxication. Neurologically the patients suffered from confusion, disorientation, and hallucination in the acute stage, followed by anxiety, depression, lack of attention, and memory impairment, in addition to peripheral neuropathy. Neuropsychological tests revealed an impairment of memory function, including reversed digital span, memory registration, memory recall, memory recognition, similarity, proverb reasoning, and verbal fluency. High concentrations of thallium were found in the urine, blood, and drinking water of these two patients. Brain MRI showed lesions in the corpus striatum in one patient. During the follow-up periods, the clinical manifestations and neuropsychological studies showed a slowly progressive improvement, and a follow-up brain MRI 1.5 months later demonstrated a resolution of the lesions. We conclude that thallium intoxication might induce encephalopathy, and brain MRI studies demonstrated the acute-stage brain lesions in a severe intoxicated patient. In addition, neuropsychological tests also confirmed memory deficits, although the brain lesions in the corpus striatum might resolve.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-295
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - 03 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • MRI
  • Neuropsychology
  • Neurotoxic disease
  • Thallium poisoning
  • Toxicology


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