Periodic paralysis, characterized by the unique and impressive muscular paralysis, with loss of reflexes and loss of excitability to electrical stimulation, together with its dramatic onset and transient nature, has always been one of the most peculiar and obscure phenomena confronting the clinician. The disorder known as familial periodic paralysis, and rather vaguely classified in the textbooks as a disease of the voluntary muscles, has been extensively studied since Cavare (1853), Westphal (1885) and Goldflam (1890)1 made their original observations. Metabolic studies on patients suffering from attacks of periodic paralysis have thrown some light on the changes in electrolytes occurring during the episodes, but the cause and mechanism of this disorder are still obscure.
There is today, nevertheless, increasing evidence that periodic paralysis is a syndrome, rather than a nosologic entity, the paralysis being an external manifestation of a more or less severe and complex paroxysmal neural disturbance, which
GROSSMAN C. PERIODIC PARALYSIS ASSOCIATED WITH OBESITY OF HYPOTHALAMIC ORIGINObservations in a Case with Changes in the Electrocardiogram and the Serum Potassium Level. Arch NeurPsych. 1949;62(1):105-112. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1949.02310130111008