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September 1984

Alcoholic Myelopathy Without Substantial Liver Disease: A Syndrome of Progressive Dorsal and Lateral Column Dysfunction

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Rutgers Medical School, Academic Health Science Center, New Brunswick (Drs Sage and Lepore), and the Department of Medicine, North Adams (Mass) Regional Medical Center (Dr Van Uitert).

Arch Neurol. 1984;41(9):999-1001. doi:10.1001/archneur.1984.04050200109030

• Five well-nourished, alcoholic patients had a progressive myelopathy. Symptoms began with paresthesias of the feet and progressed to a spastic paraparesis with clinical signs of both lateral and dorsal column involvement. Abstinence from alcohol halted progression but did not cause improvement in the myelopathy. The absence of portacaval shunting or notable liver dysfunction in these patients suggests that a direct toxic effect of alcohol must be considered a possible mechanism of spinal cord damage.

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