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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2011 Aug;92(8):1344-9. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2011.03.002. Epub 2011 Jun 12.

A brief history of postpolio syndrome in the United States.

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National Rehabilitation Hospital, 102 Irving Street NW, Washington, DC 20010, USA. Lauro.S.Halstead@Medstar.Net.


This is an overview of the history of the late effects of polio in this country from 1980 to the present in the context of the broader and much longer history of acute poliomyelitis. Books, articles, conference proceedings, and other relevant historical resources that dealt with polio-related issues from January 1, 1980, through December 31, 2009, were reviewed. The mean number of articles published per year was calculated for 5-year intervals beginning in 1980; the number of postpolio support groups and polio-dedicated clinics was compiled from directories published annually by Post-Polio Health International at 5-year intervals from 1985 to 2010. Beginning in the mid-1980s, the number of articles published each year increased dramatically, peaking during the years 1995 to 1999 when a mean of 48.2 articles were published each year. This figure steadily declined over the next 14 years. Support groups and clinics showed a similar pattern of rise and fall, with a maximum of 298 support groups and 96 clinics in 1990 and a decline to 131 and 32, respectively, by 2010. During the 1980s and early 1990s, there was a period of optimism that energized research, clinical, and self-help initiatives. As the limits of these efforts became apparent during the late 1990s and early 2000s, resources and activities declined as the postpolio community continued to age and decrease in size. Regardless of these trends, there are still thousands of survivors who continue to require skilled physiatric management as they cope with advancing age and declining function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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