Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria
Print version ISSN 0004-282X
TEIVE, Hélio A. Ghizoni; ARRUDA, Walter O. and TREVISOL-BITTENCOURT, Paulo C.. Machado-Joseph disease: report on five members of a family. Arq. Neuro-Psiquiatr. [online]. 1991, vol.49, n.2, pp. 172-179. ISSN 0004-282X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0004-282X1991000200010.
The authors report the clinical and laboratorial findings of 5 affected members (all males) of a family with Machado-Joseph disease. The mode a inheritance was autosomal dominant. The mean onset age was 38 years (range 30-50 years). The clinical picture was pleomorphic and included cerebellar ataxia, external ophthalmoplegia with bulging eyes, extrapiramidal/piramidal syndromes, amyotrophy with fasciculations and peripheral neuropathy, in variable degrees of severity. In one patient parkinsonian rigidity was greatly improved with the use of trihexaphenidyl and L-dopa. CT scan examinations disclosed a variable degree of cerebellar atrophy, with mild cerebral atrophy in one patient. Brainsten evoked potentials were normal in two patients. EMG showed denervation in three patients. Muscle biopsy (gastrocnemium) with histochemical studies revealed chronic muscle denervation in four cases. Sural nerve biopsy with conventional pathological study was normal in four cases. This family was living in Florianopolis, Santa Catarina, where there is a great number of Portuguese descendants from the Azores Islands. The worldwide presence of the disease seems to result from the genic diffusion of the disease with the Portuguese emigration during the Great Navigations Era and with some later emigratory settlement.