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May 20, 1968


JAMA. 1968;204(8):728. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140210084022

It may seem strange that, despite extensive studies of so common a condition as alcoholism, investigators still are uncovering hitherto unrecognized ill effects. Perhaps the very prevalence of this addiction makes it possible for a complication to escape notice. It is easy to get lost in a crowd, especially if the crowd is large and the culprit resembles someone else who is well known. Deceptive resemblance to alcoholic neuropathy may be partly responsible for delayed discovery of muscle disease caused by alcohol.

Occurrence of an acute alcohol myopathic syndrome which resembled thrombophlebitis more than it did a neuropathy was first described by Hed and co-workers1 in 1962, seven years after their previous report of acute hemoglobinuria in acute alcoholic intoxication. Patients—all chronic alcoholics admitted to a hospital after a binge—presented with muscle pain, tenderness, and swelling. Fever and elevated serum transaminase levels were common findings, and some patients had