A case of reversible neuropsychiatric symptoms in HIV due to toxic leukoencephalopathy

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Mothball ingestion has been previously cited to induce toxic-leukoencephalopathy, secondary to the destructive effects of paradichlorobenzene on central nervous system white matter. This case presents a 37-year-old woman who experienced a neuropsychiatric syndrome consistent with paradichlorobenzene-induced toxic leukoencephalopathy after two decades of mothball abuse. Her clinical presentation was insidious, involving fluctuating cognitive decline, depression, and psychosis. This was further complicated by an human immunodeficiency virus infection and concomitant cocaine abuse. Ultimately, her clinical findings were attributed to a reversible toxic-leukoencephalopathy from mothball ingestion, and her magnetic resonance imaging findings were consistent with symmetric leukoencephalopathy and atrophy. Though leukoencephalopathy in human immunodeficiency virus has numerous potential etiologies, a patient with a history of substance abuse warrants consideration of toxin-induced leukoencephalopathy, and further inquiry regarding abuse of other substances is appropriate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-29
Number of pages4
JournalInnovations in Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Cocaine abuse
  • HAND
  • HIV infection
  • Leukoencephalopathy
  • Mothballs
  • Paradichlorobenzene
  • Pdb


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