Background - Hunger strike is a very serious entity which may lead to severe diseases and death.
Aims - The aim of this study is to document the clinical, neurophysiological, neuroradiological, and neuropsychological aspects of prolonged hunger strike.
Material and method - We investigated the clinical and laboratory characteristics of 25 hungerstrikers hospitalized during refeeding process. One sample t-test, independent samples t-test, Mann-Whitney and Pearson correlation tests were used for statistical analyses.
Results - Twelve of them had a continuous hunger strike ranging between 190-366 days. The other 13 had quitting intervals for various reasons with a continuous hunger ranging between 65-265 days with a total hunger duration of 153-382 days. The mean loss of body mass index (BMI) was 40.98 +/- 9.3%. Imbalance, sleep disorders, somatosensory disturbances, and adynamia were the most common complaints. At admission, one third experienced ophtalmoparesis, about half of them had paresis, one quarter had truncal ataxia. At discharge 16% had persistant ophtalmoparesis and 36% nystagmus. Only four patients (16%) could walk independently. There was no serious MRI, EEG findings. Most prominent EMG findings ere the decrease in median and sural nerve cnap, median and fibulary cmap, and fibulary ncv values. They showed mild impairment in MMTS and most of them had attention deficit and frontal type memory impairment.
Conclusion - It can be concluded that vitamin B intake, independent of the quantity and timing, lowers the morbidity and mortality of hunger strikers.