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September 1948


Author Affiliations

Chief of Neurology Section, Neuropsychiatric Service, Birmingham Veterans Administration Hospital VAN NUYS, CALIF.

Arch NeurPsych. 1948;60(3):270-278. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1948.02310030051004

IT IS the opinion of some neurologists that the neuropathies are initially biochemical disorders of the neuron, due chiefly to disruption of one or more enzyme systems that regulate the metabolism of the cell. According to this theory, the neuronal dysfunction that results can be severe but structural changes in the myelin or axon need not occur. Neurons in this stage of dysfunction should be able to recover rapidly over a period of hours or days if enzymatic equilibrium is restored. Anesthetics, such as procaine, are capable of producing analogous dysfunction and rapid recovery. Such rapid resolution of impaired conduction is inconsistent with recovery from structural changes in the neuron, which proceeds at a rate of from 0.5 to 2 mm. a day. When the disruption of cellular metabolism has reached an irreversible stage, degeneration of the neuron results, and recovery will follow the laws of regeneration.

Dr. J. M.

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