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Organic brain syndrome
Alternative namesOBS; Organic mental disorder; Chronic organic brain syndrome
DefinitionOrganic brain syndrome is a general term which refers to physical disorders that cause a decrease in mental function, usually not including psychiatric disorders.
Causes, incidence, and risk factorsOBS is a common "diagnosis" of the elderly. It is not an inevitable part of aging, however. OBS is not a separate disease entity, but is a general term used to categorize physical conditions that can cause mental changes .
Disorders associated with OBS include, but are not limited to:
SymptomsSymptoms vary with the specific disease. In general, organic brain syndromes cause varying extents of confusion , delirium (severe, short-term losses of brain function), agitation , and dementia (long-term, often progressive, losses of brain function).
Signs and testsTesting and physical examination vary depending on the specific disorder.
Treatment varies with the specific disorder. Many of the disorders have nonspecific treatments -- primarily supportive care to assist the person in areas where brain function is lost.
Medications may be needed to reduce aggressive behaviors typical of some of the conditions in this category.
Expectations (prognosis)See the specific disorder. Some disorders are acute and treatable, but many are chronic or progressive.
ComplicationsLoss of ability to interact or function independently is common.
Calling your health care providerCall your health care provider if "organic brain syndrome" has been diagnosed and you are uncertain of the actual, specific diagnosis; if you have symptoms which suggest this problem; or if you have been diagnosed with it and symptoms become worse.
Update Date: 7/28/2002Elaine T. Kiriakopoulos, M.D., MSc, Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard University, Boston, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT