[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
July 31, 1967


JAMA. 1967;201(5):321. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130050055019

It must be embarrassing for a woman to be told that she is suffering from "stiff-man syndrome" and to be thus made aware that this indeed is a man's world even in disease. Moersch and Woltman,1 who first reported the syndrome (1956) in 14 patients afflicted with severe painful muscle contractions, may not have anticipated that the implied "maleness" in the name they had chosen would often misfire (30%) and the "stiffness" confuse. The affronted female minority can indeed derive a measure of satisfaction from a survey by Gordon et al,2 which discloses that not only is the "stiff-man syndrome" a misnomer in respect to sex but also in its lack of descriptive specificity. Out of a total of 45 cases reported to date, including one of their own (a woman, as would happen), the authors reject 11 as nonconforming to their criteria for precise diagnosis. These cases