Studies on the aetiology and pathogenesis of motor neuron diseases

1. Lathyrism: Clinical findings in established cases

A. C. Ludolph, J. Hugon, M. P. Dwived, H. H. Schaumburg, P. S. Spencer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

90 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Lathyrism is a toxic disease of the motor system constantly associated with primary consumption of the seed of Lathyrus sativus (chickling or grass pea). Neurological examination was performed on 38 affected subjects drawn from four regions of the Indian subcontinent endemic for lathyrism. All showed a consistent and largely symmetric pattern of neurological deficit similar to that displayed by 5 Europeans with longstanding lathyrism now living in Israel. Hallmarks of lathyrism include a pyramidal pattern of motor weakness combined with greatly increased tone in the thigh extensors and adductors and in the gastrocnemius muscles so that the more severely affected walk on the balls of their feet with a lurching scissoring gait. Extensor plantar responses are uniformly present in such cases, and the knee and ankle tendon reflexes are exaggerated and often clonic. Hoffmann signs and exaggerated biceps and/or triceps tendon jerks are also found in the most severely affected. Sensory signs are absent, although perverse sensations in the legs are frequently reported at the onset. Walking difficulties commonly begin suddenly but may also appear subacutely or insidiously. Some individuals experience partly reversible symptoms suggestive of a diffuse CNS excitation of somatic, motor and autonomic function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-165
Number of pages17
JournalBrain
Volume110
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1987

Fingerprint

Lathyrism
Motor Neuron Disease
motor neurons
Neurons
etiology
Neuron
pathogenesis
Tendons
Lathyrus sativus
tendons
Lathyrus
Babinski's Reflex
Gait
Mobility Limitation
Walk
Stretch Reflex
Muscle
Seed
Poisons
knees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Mathematics(all)
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Studies on the aetiology and pathogenesis of motor neuron diseases : 1. Lathyrism: Clinical findings in established cases. / Ludolph, A. C.; Hugon, J.; Dwived, M. P.; Schaumburg, H. H.; Spencer, P. S.

In: Brain, Vol. 110, No. 1, 02.1987, p. 149-165.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ludolph, A. C. ; Hugon, J. ; Dwived, M. P. ; Schaumburg, H. H. ; Spencer, P. S. / Studies on the aetiology and pathogenesis of motor neuron diseases : 1. Lathyrism: Clinical findings in established cases. In: Brain. 1987 ; Vol. 110, No. 1. pp. 149-165.
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