Chronic painters' syndrome. Chronic toxic encephalopathy in house painters

Acta Neurol Scand. 1979 Sep;60(3):149-56.


Seventy house painters were examined after being referred because organic solvent intoxication of dementia was suspected. In 50 cases no competitive etiological factors to the cerebral symptoms other than exposure to organic solvents could be disclosed. In these, neuropsychological examination showed signs of intellectual impairment in 39 patients and neuroradiological examination by PEG or CT demonstrated the presence of cerebral atrophy in 31 patients; 38 patients studied with CT were compaired to an age-matched control group regarding maximum sulcus width, and a highly significant difference was found. It is argued that long-term exposure to turpentine substitute-often through a period with acute intoxication symptoms--gradually may lead to the development of a chronic brain syndrome, which we have called the "chronic painters' syndrome".

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Atrophy
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Brain Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Electroencephalography
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Paint / poisoning*
  • Psychological Tests
  • Solvents / poisoning*
  • Syndrome


  • Solvents