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January 1972

Myxedema and Myotonic Dystrophy

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Neurology, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago. Dr. Brumlik is now with the Department of Neurology, Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Ill. Dr. Maier is now with the Department of Neurology, Albany Medical College of Union University, Albany, NY. Dr. Maier is now with Lovelace Clinic, Albuquerque, NM.

Arch Intern Med. 1972;129(1):120-122. doi:10.1001/archinte.1972.00320010124018

The relationship between thyroid dysfunction and diseases of muscle is well-known but not explained; the effect of thyroid hormone on myasthenia gravis, polymositis, and familial periodic paralysis has yet to be clarified. The association of hypothyroidism and a presumably unrelated myopathy in the case we report affords an unusual opportunity to observe the effect of one upon the other. Treatment with thyroid extract reversed the signs of myxedema, improved muscle function, and altered the electromyographic findings.

Patient Summary  A 39-year-old white woman was referred to Northwestern University Medical School Clinic; she complained of muscle "stiffness" which had worsened in the past five years. At age 9 her hands became "clumsy," although she could do intricate factory work (putting springs into the tumblers of locks) at age 30. Muscle stiffness seemed to worsen through each of her four pregnancies, especially toward term. Menarche was at age 16; five years prior to

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