Encephalopathy is a term which refers to infections involving the entire body system also affecting the brain and spinal cord of the central nervous system (CNS). In most encephalopathies, systemic symptoms of the particular disease are reported by the patient, such as diabetic encephalopathy, but sometimes the CNS findings are more prominent than the underlying disease process. In some cases, CNS symptoms are the only features. Given that this is such a large and varied group of diseases, the syndromic approach (see syndrome) to diagnosis is less effective. In the setting of an undiagnosed CNS infectious syndrome, it is prudent to consider systemic infection as a possible underlying cause.

« Back to Glossary Index