A patient with motor neuron syndrome clinically similar to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, presenting spontaneous recovery

K. Miyoshi, Y. Ohyagi, T. Amano, I. Inoue, S. Miyoshi, S. Tsuji, T. Yamada, J. I. Kira

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Abstract

We report a patient with motor neuron syndrome similar to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and with spontaneous recovery. At the age 40, the woman developed progressive muscular weakness, atrophy and fasciculation in extremities. She also noted a dyspnea, tongue atrophy and dysphagia. A neurological examination 6 months after onset revealed i) a tongue atrophy and fasciculation, ii) diffuse muscule weakness and atrophy in face, neck and extremities, and iii) marked hyperreflexia in the four limbs and bilateral Babinski reflex, but iv) neither sensory disturbance nor ophthalmoplegia. Electromyogram (EMG) detected such denervation potentials as fibrillation potentials, fasciculation potentials, positive sharp waves and polyphasic or giant MUPs diffusely in the limb muscles. Peripheral nerve conduction study detected neither conduction block nor delay. Thus, she was diagnosed as suffering from ALS. However, since approximate 1 year after onset, her muscle weakness has gradually been getting better. Simultaneously, the dyspnea and dysphagia gradually improved. Two years after onset, an EMG examination detected chronic denervation potentials in the left musculus sternocleidomastoideus and a few on-going denervation potentials in the left musculus extensor carpi radialis, but no denervation potentials in other limb muscles. Fasciculation potentials were found in tongue muscles. Thus, the present case was thought to have a reversible motor neuron syndrome clinically quite similar to ALS. A mild increase in IgE (346 U/ml) and a low-titer IgM-class anti-GM1antibody were found in her serum though its pathological significance was uncertain. Any immunological aberrance may account for the pathogenesis. It should be noted that clinically diagnosed cases of ALS may rarely recover spontaneously.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1090-1095
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Neurology
Volume40
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2000

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology

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