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July 21, 1951

RADIATION MYELITIS

JAMA. 1951;146(12):1136. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.03670120046012
Abstract

During intensive x-ray therapy of structures close to the brain or spinal cord, sufficiently large amounts of radiation may be received by the brain or cord to produce serious damage.1 That this complication occurs more frequently than is generally realized is indicated by several studies made in the last few years. Boden,2 for example, found five fatal and five nonfatal cases of radiation myelitis of the cervical cord in a series of 161 patients who received x-ray therapy for malignant tumors of the nose, mouth, pharynx, or cervical lymph nodes. Because of the long latent period between the irradiation and the appearance of symptoms, the cause of the condition was often not recognized initially. Frequently, the patient, discharged by the radiologist during this interval, was seen by a physician who was unaware of the technic of irradiation or of its implications. Symptoms were usually ascribed, without proof, to

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