Disorders of the diencephalon may affect consciousness either directly, by interfering with reticular system function, or indirectly, by producing endocrine disorders. These conditions may develop slowly, as with anterior pituitary syndromes resulting in hypothyroidism or cortisol deficiency, or rapidly, as with osmoregulatory disorders. The lesions producing these problems may also affect the cerebral cortex, as in the case of neoplasms, and produce seizures or other focal neurological disorders. Patients with structural diencephalic lesions may have toxic downward eye deviation, small pupils, decorticate posturing, and Cheyne-Stokes respirations as an archetype, although varying combinations of signs may appear.
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