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Hemiballismus, Hyperphagia, and Behavioral Changes following Subthalamic Infarct

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Case Reports in Medicine
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Abstract

The function of subthalamic nucleus (STN) which is a part of the basal ganglia system is not clear, but it is hypothesized that this component might be involved in action selection. Unilateral damage to STN, which can commonly occur due to the small vessel stroke mainly, causes hemiballismus and sometimes hemichorea-hemiballismus. This paper deals with a 60-year-old patient with sudden onset of abnormal movements in his right limbs. He had increased appetite and hyperphagia and also developed mood and behavioral changes (aggressiveness, irritability, anxiety, and sometimes obscene speech). The magnetic resonance imaging revealed infarct area in left subthalamus. In our case, hemiballismus is caused by infarction in left subthalamic area. Occurrence of irritability, anxiety, and some behavioral changes such as aggressiveness and obscene speech can be explained by impairment of STN role in nonmotor behavior and cognitive function as a result of infarct.

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