About agyria

What is agyria?

Classical lissencephaly, also known as lissencephaly type I, is a brain malformation that may occur as an isolated abnormality (isolated lissencephaly sequence [ILS]) or in association with certain underlying syndromes (e.g., Miller-Dieker syndrome, Norman-Roberts syndrome). The condition is characterized by absence (agyria) or incomplete development (pachygyria) of the ridges or convolutions (gyri) of the outer region of the brain (cerebral cortex), causing the brain's surface to appear unusually smooth.

In infants with classical lissencephaly, the head circumference may be smaller than would otherwise be expected (microcephaly). Additional abnormalities may include sudden episodes of uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain (seizures), severe or profound intellectual disability, feeding difficulties, growth retardation, and impaired motor abilities. If an underlying syndrome is present, there may be additional symptoms and physical findings.

Researchers indicate that there may be various possible causes of isolated lissencephaly, including viral infections or insufficient blood flow to the brain during fetal development or certain genetic factors. Changes (mutations) of at least two different genes have been implicated in isolated lissencephaly: a gene located on chromosome 17 (known as LIS1) and a gene located on the X-chromosome (known as XLIS or Doublecortin). There is a third gene known as TUBA1A that has been identified as the 3rd genetic cause for this disorder.

What are the symptoms for agyria?

Blue skin symptom was found in the agyria condition

The main and most obvious symptom is that your skin turns blue-gray. This might start in a small area or with just a slight tinge, but it can eventually cover your entire body.

For some people, the first symptom is gray or brown discoloration of the gums. Other areas of hyperpigmentation may occur in your:

  • nail beds
    • conjunctival membranes
    • mucous membranes

The amount of discoloration depends on the amount of silver that’s entered your body.

If you’ve been exposed to a very high level of silver, argyria can develop quite rapidly. If you use products containing only small amounts of silver, it will likely progress slowly. In some cases, the progression can take months or even years.

Areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun may turn much darker than areas that are generally covered up.

What are the causes for agyria?

Silver is a naturally occurring substance. You come into contact with low levels of silver every day. Traces of silver can be found in food, water, and even in the air.

Silver can enter your body through your mouth, mucus membranes, or skin.

You can develop argyria if you have far too much silver in your body, which generally results from prolonged exposure. When silver reaches your stomach, it prompts a chemical reaction. As the silver breaks down, it enters your bloodstream.

Within a week, most of the silver we consume leaves the body through our feces. Some goes out with urine.

But when you take in too much silver, your body has a tough time keeping up with it. Whatever silver isn’t discarded gets deposited in the skin and other tissues, where it continues to build up. When your skin is then exposed to light, it turns blue-gray.

How do you end up with too much silver in your body?

One way you may end up with too much silver in your body is if your job involves prolonged exposure to silver. This might happen if you work in the silver industry, jewelry industry, or in photographic processing.

Some products you consume or use on your body may also contain silver. These include:

  • antimicrobial health tonics
  • medication containing silver salts
  • colloidal silver dietary supplements, usually marketed as “cure-alls”
  • silver sutures used in surgery
  • silver dental fillings

In a list of ingredients, silver may be identified as:

  • ionic silver
  • native silver
  • silver alginate
  • silver protein
  • silver sulphadiazine
  • colloidal silver, colloidal silver protein, or true colloidal silver

Using eye drops or makeup that contain silver can also cause localized argyria of the eye.

Wearing silver jewelry or using silver utensils doesn’t usually cause argyria. But in some cases, silver needles used for acupuncture or silver earrings can cause localized argyria.

Dietary supplements that contain silver can also interfere with your body’s ability to absorb certain medications, such as:

  • quinolone antibiotics, including ciprofloxacin (Cipro), norfloxacin (Noroxin), and ofloxacin
  • tetracycline antibiotics
  • thyroxine
  • penicillamine (Cuprimine)

What are the treatments for agyria?

Argyria has no cure. However, recent trials with laser treatment are proving to be promising for helping with the skin discoloration. Benefits have been seen with just one treatment. The use of laser treatment for argyria is limited, so more research is needed to determine its efficacy.

Here are some steps you can take steps to prevent further exposure:

  • If you must work with silver, cover your skin with gloves and other protective wear.
  • Avoid dietary supplements and medicines that contain silver.
  • Avoid cosmetics containing silver.

Since light causes the skin pigmentation to darken, use sunscreens liberally. When you’re out in the sun, cover your skin as much as possible.

What are the risk factors for agyria?

Exposure to excessive amounts of silver is the only known risk factor for argyria. What isn’t clear is exactly how much silver or how much exposure can put you at risk.

You’re more likely to develop argyria if you:

  • take dietary supplements or medications containing silver
  • regularly use eye drops or cosmetics containing silver
  • have an occupation that involves prolonged exposure to silver

Workplace exposure may occur in:

  • silver mining
  • silver refining
  • jewelry making
  • silverware and metal alloy manufacturing
  • photographic processing

Is there a cure/medications for agyria?

Argyria is a rare condition that causes the skin to turn blue or grey. This discolouration happens when the body comes into contact with excessive amounts of silver.

  • There is no defined treatment for this disease. It can be treated by the restriction of the underlying cause.
  • This could be the use of colloidal silver therapy, hydroquinone usage for skin conditions, silver dental fillings etc.
  • When the source of such exposure is reduced, the discoloration may also change considerably; however, the problem is it takes time for the discoloration to go off completely.
  • An optional laser therapy using the quality switch (QS) laser may significantly improve skin discoloration.
  • The QS laser delivers high-intensity pulses of light to affected areas of skin.
  • This will remove the discoloration through dermabrasion and changes in melanin production in the long run.
  • In 2015, researchers conducted a study, investigating the efficacy of QS laser therapy in treating argyria.
  • The researchers concluded that a single treatment with the QS laser could offer both immediate and long-term improvement in skin discoloration.
  • Additional recommendations may include wearing proper sunscreen, and proper medication without silver or gold particles to prevent this condition.

Skin, eyes, internal organs, nails, and gums turning slate-gray, metallic or blue-gray in color,Discoloration may stand out most on your forehead, nose, hands, and other areas that are exposed to the sun,Whites of your eyes and nail beds turn blue-gray,Internal organs such as the spleen, liver, and intestines turn bluish in color
A rare skin condition where silver builds up in your body over a long time, turning your skin and other parts of the body blue-gray in color
5% hydroquinone treatment,Laser therapy,Sunscreen

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