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June 1987

Incorrect Priority Claim for the DNA-Damage Hypothesis-Reply

Author Affiliations

Department of Neurology University of Vermont Burlington, VT 05405
Department of Radiobiology Tufts-New England Medical Center Boston, MA 02111

Arch Neurol. 1987;44(6):580-581. doi:10.1001/archneur.1987.00520180006005

In Reply.  —We are surprised that Dr Robbins has waited almost four years after the publication in 1982 of our article entitled "A New Hypothesis of the Etiology of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: The DNA Hypothesis"1 to submit the above letter. We dispute Dr Robbins' claim that he and his colleagues were the first to propose the DNA-damage hypothesis of human neurologic disease, and we will briefly review the history of this hypothesis as we see it.One of us (W.G.B.) has been undertaking work on the etiology of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) for a number of years.2-6 In our 1982 article1 we brought together work from a number of different fields to produce a cohesive hypothesis that might explain the etiology of ALS. This hypothesis derived from the seminal 1974 article of Mann and Yates,7 in which they reported RNA, nuclear, and nucleolar changes in ALS motor neurons

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