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October 1940


Author Affiliations

New York

From the Departments of Medicine and Neurology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons; the Presbyterian Hospital, and the Neurological Institute of New York.

Arch NeurPsych. 1940;44(4):830-840. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1940.02280100132010

Familial periodic paralysis is a rare but well recognized syndrome in which periods of extensive flaccid motor paralysis alternate with periods of normal health. The only regularly observed fault is a periodic disturbance in the internal distribution of potassium,1 believed by certain workers to be related to the movements of potassium that accompany carbohydrate metabolism.2 The paralytic symptoms are associated with a temporary decrease in serum potassium concentration and can be alleviated by the administration of potassium salts.3 In the opinion of Pudenz, McIntosh and McEachern1a the efficacy of this treatment does not depend on changes in the serum potassium concentration or on changes in the potassium content of the muscles. Their experiments have indicated that the effect of potassium is mediated in some way through the central nervous system. In the following study evidence is presented to show that there is a disturbance in the

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