What is Toxic Encephalopathy?
Encephalopathy is defined as any degenerative disease of the brain. This is a nonspecific term and there are numerous causes of encephalopathy, some of which are progressive and some reversible. Encephalopathy can range from barely discernible to so severe as to cause coma or death. An example of a potentially reversible encephalopathy is with liver disease. When liver function falls to a certain point, molecules which are toxic to the brain cannot be cleared from the blood and mental function deteriorates. If the liver condition can be ameliorated, normal brain function may return. Boxer’s encephalopathy is an example of irreversible brain damage caused by repeated blows to the head. Various toxic substances, such as heavy metals (lead), infections, and injuries can cause encephalopathy.