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December 1934


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, Western Reserve University, and the Division of Contagious Diseases, City Hospital.

Am J Dis Child. 1934;48(6):1296-1303. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1934.01960190116012

One of the earliest neurologic changes in poliomyelitis is a modification of the abdominal cutaneous reflex.1 In frank cases of paralysis of the abdominal musculature, this lack of reflex response may be due to a lesion of a lower motor neuron of the somatic system—a break in the motor arm of the reflex arc. Usually, however, in poliomyelitis, the abdominal rectus muscles are not paralyzed even though the reflex may be lost. In other neurologic diseases manifesting a loss of abdominal reflexes, it is usually said that this loss of reflex response is the result of an irritation of the upper motor neuron, because of which reflexes acquired later in ontogeny disappear, and more primitive responses become more obvious. Some of these theories are discussed in a previous article.1

Since I believe that poliomyelitis has its origin in, or at least its spread from, the gastro-intestinal tract, I

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