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Since Duchenne first described progressive muscular atrophy in adults and infants and regraded each form as of peripheral origin, the study of the clinical history and pathology of muscular dystrophies has only partially decided which are of muscular and which of spinal origin. We now believe that the hereditary form found during infancy and early life, especially if it attacks several members of the same family, is of muscular origin, and certainly so if there are present postmortem hypertrophied muscular fibers side by side with atrophied and degenerated fibers, and with no changes in the anterior horns of gray matter of the cord nor in the nuclei of the fourth ventricle or aqueductus sylvii.
One chief reason for considering this much talked about disease is the desire to establish a definite symptomatology, to accomplish a differential diagnosis and arrive at the rational treatment for the benefit of the patient, rather
PETTYJOHN ES. ERB'S PRIMARY MUSCULAR ATROPHY.. JAMA. 1896;XXVII(22):1140-1142. doi:10.1001/jama.1896.02431000016002c