Acquired Organic Mutism in the Course of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (Heidenhain Variant): A Case Study

  • Maria Pachalska Department of Medical Rehabilitation, Cracow Rehabilitation Center; Cracow; Poland
  • Henryk Kurzbauer Department of Neurology, MSWiA Hospital, Cracow, Poland
  • Bruce Duncan MacQueen Department of Neurolinguistics, Rydygier Academy of Medicine, Bydgoszcz, Poland


This article describes the onset of mutism in a patient with the Heidenhain variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (HV-CJD), where vision disturbances are the first presenting symptoms. In this case, the development from the onset of the first detectable speech and language symptoms to acquired organic mutism was progressive but very rapid, The first presenting symptom was dysgraphia (shown in documents from summer 2000), then varied and progressive visual disorders culminating in hallucinations. Very rapid neurological and neuropsychological deterioration (dementia) occurred in December-January, leading to organic mutism. The neurolinguistic significance of the findings is discussed.