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July 1981

Oculopharyngeal Dystrophy

Arch Intern Med. 1981;141(8):1103. doi:10.1001/archinte.1981.00340080139038

To the Editor.  —Oculopharyngeal dystrophy (OPD) is an unusual form of late-onset muscular dystrophy characterized by dysphagia and bilateral ptosis. It rarely is seen in patients younger than 45 years. It apparently is transmitted in an autosomal dominant fashion and occasionally is associated with weakness of cervical and shoulder girdle muscles. Variable degrees of ophthalmoplegia also may be present. The disease progresses slowly over a course of several decades, and those afflicted tend to die of unrelated causes. Except for one study from Japan,1 all cases have been reported among whites. We report herein, to our knowledge, the first case of OPD in a black person.

Report of a Case.  —A black woman from the island of Barbados, West Indies, emigrated to Boston in 1945, at the age of 42 years. She was first seen at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, in 1962, complaining of approximately eight years of difficulty

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