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Human neurolathyrism, a follow-up study of 200 patients. Part I: Clinical investigation.


Two hundred patients with chronic neurolathyrism were clinically examined, 25 to 35 years after exposure to the lathyrus sativus pea. All the patients were prisoners in a labour camp under similar nutritional and physical conditions at the outbreak of the syndome. The main symptoms were spastic paraparesis and a neurogenic bladder, both of varying degree. In addition lower motor neuron involvement with muscular atrophies was noticed in 14 cases and simulated amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. A lathyric sensory neuropathy was found in 12 patients. No cranial lesions or psychiatric disorders were found. Laboratory tests including 5 CSF specimens were normal. HLA typing was unremarkable. Our overall impression was that chronic neurolathyrism in the long run shows a gradually slow progressive course.

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