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January 2, 1937


JAMA. 1937;108(1):43. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.92780010001010

Wolf1 has recently reported striking benefit obtained by the use of quinine in four cases of myotonia and has concluded that quinine is a specific for this disorder, which has shown practically no response to all previous methods of therapy. I have had an opportunity to confirm this remarkable discovery in three cases, which will be briefly reported.

The familial disease known as myotonia congenita was first described in 1876 by Thomsen, a Danish physician. He himself and twenty members of his family were affected. The disease is characterized by tonic muscular spasms occurring at the start of a movement, which greatly restrict further action. With repeated attempts at movement the spasms relax and the movement gradually becomes more free, until there is no difficulty. After a period of inactivity, however, the spasm occurs on attempted activity. The condition is usually worse when the patient is cold or

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