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September 1949

FAMILIAL PERIODIC PARALYSIS: Report on Two Families, with Observations on the Pathogenesis of the Syndrome

Author Affiliations

Assistant Resident, Neurological Institute of New York NEW YORK

Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1949;84(3):419-430. doi:10.1001/archinte.1949.00230030061005

TRANSIENT paralysis of skeletal muscle without other neurologic abnormality is an interesting syndrome which has been recognized and observed clinically for over a hundred years. Although in comparatively recent times the disorder has been reported in the course of other diseases, notably thyrotoxicosis,1 and in diabetic coma,2 in by far the larger number of cases reported it existed as a familial trait, unassociated with other disease.

During a typical attack, the patient shows flaccid paralysis of the skeletal musculature, loss of all deep reflexes and electrical excitability of the muscles, with complete preservation of sensation and mental function. The disease usually does not manifest itself until puberty; the attacks of paralysis are characteristically noted by patients when they awaken in the early morning hours. Weakness lasts from a few hours to a few days, spares all musculature above the neck and disappears completely without residual effects.

In 1941,

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