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Alcohol Alcohol. 1986;21(4):357-62.

Peripheral neuropathy and myopathy in chronic alcoholism.


Nineteen chronic alcoholics referred for investigation of their medical complications and for alcohol re-education were subjected to quadriceps muscle biopsy and detailed peripheral nerve electrophysiological studies. Thirteen patients showed type II muscle fibre atrophy by histomorphometric analysis. The presence of atrophy did not correlate with peripheral neuropathy as determined by clinical examination or with objective indices of nutritional status. There was no association of muscle atrophy with neurophysiological evidence for neuropathy and both occurred independently of each other. It was concluded that chronic alcoholic myopathy was due to a toxic effect of ethanol on the muscle fibres and was not merely secondary to a peripheral neuropathy.

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