Intended for healthcare professionals


Hermann Oppenheim . . . and other stories

BMJ 2017; 359 doi: (Published 07 December 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j5559

The useless hand of Oppenheim

A demyelinating plaque in the dorsal columns of the cervical spinal cord compromises proprioception and can cause a profound loss of useful function in one, or sometimes both hands, despite preservation of motor pathways and other sensory modalities. This classic, if rare, presentation of multiple sclerosis was first described by Hermann Oppenheim in 1911. Apart from its diagnostic value, it illustrates the importance of sensory pathways and proprioceptive feedback in fine motor control (Pract Neurol doi:10.1136/practneurol-2016-001494).

Exercise and falls

It’s no surprise to learn that falls in very elderly people (90 years and older) living in a Californian retirement community were commoner if they had a history of heart disease, stroke, arthritis, …

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