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Hermann Oppenheim (1858–1919)
  1. J M S Pearce
  1. 304 Beverley Road, Anlaby, Hull HU10 7BG, UK;

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    Oppenheim’s name is perpetuated by his eponymous sign of pyramidal tract lesions, and by the disease bearing his name, Oppenheim’s disease.

    Amyotonia congenita1 is a congenital, sometimes familial, disorder, characterised by muscular hypotonia and hypoplasia without atrophy. It results in floppy infants with excessive mobility of joints and consequent abnormal postures. Some children who survive more than 18 months from the onset may improve and are often designated benign congenital hypotonia. Oppenheim clearly described myotonia congenita, a separate condition, in his book,2 but some confusion between the disparate disorders pervades the early literature. Myotonia congenita (Thomsen’s disease) was described by Asmus Julius Thomsen (1815–1896) in 1876 in his own family, who showed episodic myotonic contractions, precipitated by cold, pressure, and percussion of enlarged muscles: later portrayed …

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