Medically, metabolic brain disease is defined as acquired or innate metabolic disease that affects the way the brain functions. This effect on the brain is always adverse and can lead to brain dysfunction or brain damage. A metabolic brain disease can be either primary where the brain is directly affected or secondary where the brain is indirectly affected.
Metabolic brain disease is also known as encephalopathy, acquired metabolic brain disease or acquired metabolic encephalopathy.
Usually when we talk about metabolism, it always refers to the way the body digests food to make the necessary chemicals it requires. However, very few people are aware that the brain is actually very sensitive to any changes in the chemistry of the body. The brain requires chemicals in the form of amino acids that are made into neurotransmitters and it also requires certain proteins to help with structural repairs of the brain cells. In addition, the brain requires sodium, potassium, calcium and lipids.
However, when the chemical environment of the brain changes, it leads to metabolic brain disorder. A lack of a vitamin, ion or enzyme can cause the metabolic cycle in the brain to go haywire as it leads to a deficiency of essential metabolic products. This can impair the development of the brain, lead to seizures or have other harmful effects on the body. In addition, when the metabolism process in the brain is affected, there is a buildup of compounds that would otherwise have been metabolized and this buildup can turn toxic to the brain. For example, when a person suffers from mitochondrial disease, which is a metabolic brain disease, there is a buildup of lactic acid in the brain and this causes the breakdown of the white matter in the brain and loss of nerve cells. There are certain metabolic brain diseases that can lead to mental retardation, seizures and cerebral palsy.
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