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June 1950

ATHETOSIS AND THE BASAL GANGLIA: Review of the Literature and Study of Forty-Two Cases

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Neurology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Arch NeurPsych. 1950;63(6):875-901. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1950.02310240034002

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS  UNDER the term athetosis,1 Hammond2 (1871) drew attention to a symptom which he believed had not previously been recognized by medical writers. This symptom was described as "an inability to retain the fingers and toes in any position in which they might be placed, and by their continual motion." Two cases, without autopsy, were reported in which "grotesque," involuntary movements of the fingers and toes occurred unilaterally. Prior to introduction of the term athetosis, almost all abnormal involuntary activity was described as chorea3 (Oulmont,4 Herz5). Charcot6 (1853), Heine7 (1860) and Little8 (1862) reported abnormal involuntary activity in association with hemiplegia and diplegia, which later authors (Oulmont,4 Wiszwianski9), in retrospect, stated to be similar to that described by Hammond.The first description of what is now called double athetosis was given in 1873 by Shaw10 from several cases

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