Subacute combined degeneration of spinal cord

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Subacute combined degeneration of spinal cord, also known as Lichtheim's disease, refers to degeneration of the posterior and lateral columns of the spinal cord as a result of vitamin B12 deficiency. It is usually associated with pernicious anemia.

The pathological findings of subacute combined degeneration consist of patchy losses of myelin in the dorsal and lateral columns. Patients present with weakness of legs , arms, trunk, tingling and numbness that progressively worsens. Vision changes and change of mental state may also be present. Bilateral spastic paresis may develop and pressure, vibration and touch sense are diminished. A positive Babinski sign may be seen.

Therapy with vitamin B12 results in partial to full recovery, depending on the duration and extent of neurodegeneration.



de:Funikuläre Myelose




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