Hereditary Proximal Spinal and Bulbar Motor Neuron Disease of Late Onset: A Report of Six Cases

Paul E. Barkhaus, William R. Kennedy, Lawrence Z. Stern, Ryan B. Harrington

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35 Scopus citations


Six cases of a comparatively rare motor neuron disease are described. Essential features of this syndrome include (1) X-linked inheritance; (2) adult onset in the fourth to fifth decades; (3) slow progression; (4) predominant proximal and bulbar muscle involvement; and (5) absence of sensory or pyramidal tract signs. The previously reported finding of gynecomastia was absent, whereas longitudinal midline furrowing of the tongue was present in only one case. Electromyography in five patients revealed neurogenic changes. Muscle biopsies in two patients showed fiber type grouping with type I fiber predominance. The coexistence of this form of motor neuron disease and diabetes mellitus is prominent in family 2. It is important to recognize that these patients have a chronic, slowly progressive illness. The prognosis for longevity is good, although severe disability is inevitable. Management includes reassurance, supportive therapy, genetic counseling, and periodic testing for diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-116
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1982


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