Pathology and circumstances link this disorder to osmotic demyelination syndrome Osmotic demyelination syndrome (previously called central pontine myelinolysis), of which it may be a variant. In Marchiafava-Bignami disease, the speed of onset and the degree of physical findings vary.
Patients can present with acute, subacute, or chronic onset of mental status change varying from lethargy to coma, seizure, ocular movement dysfunction, memory loss, and gait disturbance.
Some patients recover over several months. Patients who present in coma and stupor have a mortality rate of about 20%.
There is no specific treatment for Marchiafava-Bignami disease, but supportive care typically includes vitamin supplementation (particularly with thiamin Thiamin Deficiency Thiamin deficiency (causing beriberi) is most common among people subsisting on white rice or highly refined carbohydrates in countries with high rates of food insecurity and among people with... read more , folate Folate Deficiency Folate deficiency is common. It may result from inadequate intake, malabsorption, or use of various drugs. Deficiency causes megaloblastic anemia (indistinguishable from that due to vitamin... read more , and other B vitamins Vitamin B6 Deficiency and Dependency Because vitamin B6 is present in most foods, dietary deficiency is rare. Secondary deficiency may result from various conditions. Symptoms can include peripheral neuropathy, a pellagra-like... read more ) and correction of malnutrition.
(See also Alcohol Toxicity and Withdrawal Alcohol Toxicity and Withdrawal Alcohol (ethanol) is a central nervous system depressant. Large amounts consumed rapidly can cause respiratory depression, coma, and death. Large amounts chronically consumed damage the liver... read more as well as Alcohol Use Disorder and Rehabilitation Alcohol Use Disorder and Rehabilitation Alcohol use disorder involves a pattern of alcohol use that typically includes craving and manifestations of tolerance and/or withdrawal along with adverse psychosocial consequences. Alcoholism... read more .)