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October 1960

The "Stiff-Man" Syndrome: A Report of Two Further Cases

Author Affiliations

Camperdown, New South Wales, Australia

Arch Neurol. 1960;3(4):448-456. doi:10.1001/archneur.1960.00450040098012

The object of this paper is to report two cases of an obscure neuromuscular disorder first described by Moersch and Woltman1 and called by them the "stiff-man" syndrome. Since then only a few cases have been recorded, one by Asher2 and another by Price and Allott.3 In addition, Campbell4 and O'Conner5 have each made a brief report of a patient in whom this diagnosis was thought, retrospectively, to be correct.

It is possible that the disorder may not be as rare as it seems: since emotional disturbance is one of several factors which may lead to exacerbation of symptoms, these may be mistakenly regarded as of psychogenic origin. Thus, 5 of Moersch and Woltman's 14 patients were initially labeled as "functional"; for 10 years Asher's patient was thought to be suffering from "hysterical spasms," and a similar view was taken of O'Connor's patient.

The first