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Case report
Acute psychosis in glycogen storage disease: a rare but severe complication
  1. Thomas Frederick Dunne1,
  2. Tarekegn Geberhiwot2 and
  3. Rowena Jones3
  1. 1 College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2 Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research, University of BIrmingham, Birmingham, UK
  3. 3 Department of Psychiatry, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Tarekegn Geberhiwot, Tarekegn.Geberhiwot{at}


Glycogen storage disease type 1 (GSD-1) is a group of inherited metabolic disorders characterised by the inability to use intracellular glucose stores. It is associated with a high risk of hypoglycaemia, as well as long-term complications including growth retardation, hepatocellular adenomas, renal disease, hypertriglyceridaemia and hyperuricaemia. Treatment involves slow absorption carbohydrates, for example, cornstarch. We present a case of acute psychosis in a patient with GSD-1a. This was initially attributed to his opiate use. Later in his management an MRI scan of his head was performed which revealed regions of brain atrophy following significant hypoglycaemic insult, thus identifying an organic cause of his psychosis. This case presents a rare complication of glycogen storage disease: organic psychosis attributable to cortical atrophy from profound hypoglycaemic insult. It emphasises the importance of investigating organic causes of psychiatric symptoms.

  • metabolic disorders
  • psychotic disorders (incl schizophrenia)
  • neurological injury

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  • Contributors TFD: author of article. TG: corresponding author, patient’s endocrinologist, editor of article. RJ: patient’s psychiatrist, editor of article.

  • Funding This study was funded by UHB Charity.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

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