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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 57  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 528--540

Wilson's disease: An Indian perspective

Department of Neurology, NIMHANS, Bangalore, India

Correspondence Address:
A B Taly
Department of Neurology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Hosur Road, Bangalore, Karnataka - 560 029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0028-3886.57789

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Wilson's disease (WD) is an autosomal recessive disease involving a defect of copper transport by the hepatic lysosomes. It leads to excess copper deposition in the liver, the brain, the kidneys and the skeletal system, affecting most commonly children or young adults and running an invariably fatal course if not adequately treated by de-coppering therapy. The last century has witnessed several changes, notable among these are: Increased awareness, improved diagnostic facilities leading to earlier recognition even in the pre-symptomatic phase, clear distinction from its mimics, aggressive therapeutic approaches owing to availability of effective treatment and an overall reduction in the morbidity and mortality. It is widely acknowledged that the disease is not as rare as once believed. Sir SAK Wilson published his landmark article in 1912, but it was only in 1968 that the first patient of WD was reported from our country. Publications from India on WD have focused on phenotypic characterization, documentations of lesser recognized aspects of the disease e.g. seizures, behavior abnormality, speech and cognitive impairment, sub-clinical affection of visual pathway, heart and autonomic function and pre-symptomatic detection. Attempts have been made to understand the clinical heterogeneity of the disease through identification of biochemical and immunological markers, magnetic resonance imaging, neuropathological study and genetic analysis for novel and/or known mutations. Assessment of impairment and severity and effect of various therapeutic interventions namely zinc sulphate on the long-term outcome and quality of life have also been studied. Nevertheless, clinicians often face difficulties in long-term care of these patients. Diagnostic errors leading to delay in diagnosis and initiation of treatment are common, even in patients with positive family history. There is no consensus regarding therapeutic protocols since the use of penicillamine, once a 'gold standard' for treatment, has been debated by experts. Mortality and morbidity of this potentially treatable disease and nonavailability of medications to the poor patients remain a major area of concern.


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Online since 20th March '04
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