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Hu, Yo, Ri, Ma, Ta: monosyllabic answers to complex questions
  1. Jan Verschuuren
  1. Dr Jan Verschuuren, Leiden University Medical Centre, PO Box 9600, Leiden 2300 RC, The Netherlands; j.j.g.m.verschuuren{at}

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Patients’ names rarely obtain a prominent place in medical history. The exotic abbreviations from the title are an exception, as some patients, who presented with a rare but intriguing neurological syndrome, lend the first two letters of their names to indicate the antigen involved in their autoimmune disease. The search for autoantibodies related to limbic encephalitis is a successful example. Anti-Hu, anti-Ma, anti-Ta and anti-NMDA receptor antibodies were discovered as paraneoplastic antibodies in patients with tumours such as lung, testicular cancer or ovarian teratomas.1 2 Antibodies to voltage gated potassium channels, infrequently associated with cancer, were shown to be associated with a treatable form of limbic encephalitis.3 In this issue of J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry, Hoffmann …

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  • Competing interests: None.

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