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Central pontine myelinolysis


* Not a rare disease
Other Names for this Disease
  • CPM
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Central pontine myelinolysis (CPM) is a neurological disorder that most frequently occurs when sodium deficiency is treated too rapidly.  The part of the brain called the pons is especially sensitive and too much sodium can damage nerve fibers.  Initial signs and symptoms appear within two to three days and include a depressed level of awareness, difficulty speaking, and difficulty swallowing.  Additional symptoms often occur in the next one to two weeks, including impaired thinking, weakness or paralysis in the arms and legs, stiffness, impaired sensation, and difficulty with coordination.  Severe CPM can lead to coma, “locked-in” syndrome, and death.[1] Treatment is focused on safely restoring sodium levels and relieving symptoms.[1] Many affected people improve over weeks to months; however, some have permanent disability or develop new symptoms later on including behavioral or intellectual impairment or movement disorders like parkinsonism or tremor.[1]
Last updated: 7/21/2011


  1. Central Pontine Myelinolysis Information Page. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. September 22, 2010; Accessed 9/22/2010.
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