For many years, new-born infants have been seen in tetanic states. The onset usually consists of fine tremor-like manifestations, which continue with growing intensity until the definite symptom complex of tetany has developed. Before the nervous irritability is noted, this fine tremor-like movement, known as the Moro reflex, can be brought out by the Moro sign; i. e., the simultaneous striking of the palms of both hands on the table, one on each side of the infant, usually starts a crying spell, and the upper and lower extremities of the infant begin to quiver.
This irritability becomes more frequent and in cases in which there is severe involvement it is constant. There is increased sensitivity to all sensory impressions, such as sudden touch, disturbance of the nursery bed and loud sounds. In addition, there are usually diffuse or localized spasms of the skeletal muscles, both tonic and clonic, a positive
LITCHFIELD HR. TREMORS OF THE NEW-BORN (BIRTH SHOCK), TETANY AND NERVOUS DISTURBANCES IN CHILDREN: CLINICAL OBSERVATIONS AND TREATMENT. Am J Dis Child. 1936;52(6):1312–1318. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1936.04140060022002
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