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Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 1997 Dec;55(4):722-7.

Clusters of Bell's palsy.

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Federal University of Maranhão, Brasil.


The idiopathic facial paralysis or Bell's palsy installs abruptly or within a few hours, without any apparent cause. It corresponds to approximately 75% of all peripheral facial palsies. Three theories try to explain its pathogenecity: vascular-ischemic, viral and auto-immune. We reviewed the records of the EMG Sector, Hospital do Servidor Público Estadual (São Paulo, Brazil), from 1985 to 1995 and found 239 cases of Bell's palsy. Data were analysed according to age, gender, seasonal distribution of cases. There was a predominance of cases in the 31-60 age bracket (40.59%). The female gender was responsible to 70.71% of cases. There was a predominance of cases in winter (31.38%) and autumn (30.13%), which was statistically significant. These findings let us to suppose that Bell's palsy predominates in females, in 41-60 years age bracket, and occurs predominantly in cold months. There are groups of clusters throughout temporal distribution of cases and cases are dependent on one each other or on factors affecting them all, which reinforces the infectious hypothesis (there is a rise in the incidence of viral upper respiratory tract infection during cold months).

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