The clinical and pathological features of a fourth patient with progressive encephalomyelitis with rigidity are reported and compared with those previously described. It is suggested that the muscular rigidity, abnormal postures, painful muscular spasms, and myoclonus are a product of excessive and abnormal discharges of alpha motor neurones caused by their release from control by spinal internuncial neurones. A count of neuronal perikarya in the ventral horns confirmed that the disease selectively destroyed small and medium sized neurones, most of which were spinal internuncial neurones. Experimental, clinical, and pathological evidence concerning spinal internuncial neurones is reviewed and found to conform to this theory. The pathogenesis of opsoclonus may be similar.
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