Akinetic mutism

Akinetic mutism is a syndrome that can arise as a result of brain damage.

It is a syndrome in which the person no longer speaks or has reduced speech (mutism) and has no or reduced movement (akinesia).

The person can follow someone with the eyes but otherwise appears apathetic. There is no paralysis.


Where in the brain?

It can be caused by injury to both sides of the frontal lobe or by blood flow disorders of the brain region, involving the anterior cerebral artery and damage to the midbrain and the anterior cingulate gyrus (part of the limbic system).
However, it is also seen in thalamic strokes. The thalamus filters stimuli and is involved in regulating consciousness and emotion.


For which conditions?

Akinetic mutism occurs in the final stages of the brain disease Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), in prion infectious diseases, in
neurodegenerative diseases, due to oxygen deficiency in the brain and after contact with toxic substances (for example tacrolimus and cyclosporine).
This consequence was first described in 1941 (Cairns et al) in a 14-year-old girl with a cyst in the right lateral ventricle (3rd ventricle).

For more information, see here.


Cairns, H .; Oldfield, R.C .; Pennybacker, J. B. & Whitteridge, D. (1941). Akinetisch mutisme met een epidermoïde cyste van het 3e ventrikel. Brain, 64 (4): 273-90.

Hersenletsel-uitleg, team Hersenletsel-uitleg 2016

Rodríguez-Bailón, M .; Triviño-Mosquera, M.; Ruiz-Pérez, R. & Arnedo-Montoro, M. (2012). Akinetic mutism: review Revision, propuesta de protocolo neuropsicologico y aplicacion a un caso . Annals of Psychology, 28 (3): 834-41. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation

Otto, Anke;Inga Zerr;Maria Lantsch (1998)."Akinetisch mutisme als een classificatiecriterium voor de diagnose van de ziekte van Creutzfeldt-Jakob".

Journal of Neurology, Neurochirurgie en Psychiatry.64(4): 524- 528.doi:10.1136 / jnnp.64.4.524.PMC