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March 1965

"Jumping Frenchmen of Maine": Myriachit

Author Affiliations

From the George Washington University. Professor of Neurology.

Arch Neurol. 1965;12(3):311-314. doi:10.1001/archneur.1965.00460270087011

AT THE FOURTH Annual Meeting of the American Neurological Association in 1878, Dr. George M. Beard announced that he planned to make an investigation of a group of patients known as the "Jumping Frenchmen of Maine," who lived in the Moosehead Lake region of northern Maine, the sole endemic area for this new disease.1

Based on his observations of 50 cases, including 14 cases in four families, he reported his findings at the Sixth Annual Meeting of the American Neurological Association in 1880 in a paper entitled, "Experiments with the Jumpers or Jumping Frenchmen of Maine."2 He found that the disorder began in childhood, was familial, was rarely in females, persisted throughout life, and was characterized by a marked and violent jump in response to sudden noise or startle. These paroxysms never occurred spontaneously and were not associated with loss of consciousness. In addition, some of the

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