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The amnesic syndrome of primary Whipple disease of the brain.

OBJECTIVE: To describe a case of primary Whipple disease (WD) of the brain, which may manifest as an amnesic syndrome.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A 46-year-old woman developed primary WD of the brain. The onset was characterized by a short-term amnesic syndrome for several months before the onset of generalized tonic-clonic seizures. Her amnesia was stable throughout her illness.

RESULTS: Our patient had impairment of verbal and visual memory tasks with reduced learning. Her amnesic syndrome was secondary to asymmetric bilateral hippocampal atrophy with gliosis involving the mesial temporal structures-all secondary to primary WD of the brain.

CONCLUSIONS: WD may present as an amnesic syndrome and needs to be thought of as a treatable cause of cognitive dysfunction in young adults.

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