September 18, 1954


JAMA. 1954;156(3):252. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.02950030044015

Multiple sclerosis is one of the commonest organic diseases of the nervous system and is being recognized in the United States with ever-increasing frequency. About 250,000 persons in this country suffer from this disease.1 It is characterized by central nervous system demyelinization the cause of which is unknown. A vitamin or mineral deficiency, infection with a virus, a glandular disturbance, or an allergy have been suggested as the cause, but no conclusive evidence of any of these theories has yet been advanced. It develops as an acute disease without warning in young adults and runs an intermittent course characterized by exacerbations at intervals of weeks, months, or years. These recurrent attacks may last a few days or several months. In some patients complete disability results, and in others the process becomes arrested.2

Charcot's triad, consisting of scanning speech, nystagmus, and intention tremors, is of no practical diagnostic value

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