Multifocal acquired demyelinating neuropathy masqurading as motor neuron disease

Gareth J. Parry, Stephen Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

310 Scopus citations


We report five patients with pure motor neuropathy characterized by multifocal weakness, muscle atrophy that was sometimes profound, cramps, and fasciculations with relatively preserved reflexes. The clinical picture led to an initial diagnosis of motor neuron disease in all cases, but nerve conduction studies revealed multifocal conduction block confined to motor axons and predominantly involving proximal nerve segments. Routine sensory nerve conduction studies, ascending compound nerve action potentials, and somatosensory evoked potentials were all normal even through nerve segments in which motor conduction was severely blocked. Onset of symptoms was insidious, and progression was indolent. In two cases, after many years of neuropathy, sensory abnormalities developed but remained clinically trivial. These unusual cases probably have the same pathogenesis as previously described patients with persistent multifocal conduction block. Distinction from motor neuron disease is critical, since chronic demyelinating neuropathy may respond to treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-107
Number of pages5
JournalMuscle & Nerve
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1988
Externally publishedYes


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