Tropical myeloneuropathies: The hidden endemias
Peripheral Nervous System Diseases
Spinal Cord Diseases
Tropical myeloneuropathies include tropical ataxic neuropathy and tropical spastic paraparesis. These disorders occur in geographic isolates in several developing countries and are associated with malnutrition, cyanide intoxication from cassava consumption, tropical malabsorption (TM), vegetarian diets, and lathyrism. TM-malnutrition was a probable cause of myeloneuropathies among Far East prisoners of war in World War II. Clusters of unknown etiology occur in India, Africa, the Seychelles, several Caribbean islands, Jamaica, and Colombia. Treponemal infection (yaws) could be an etiologic factor in the last two. Tropical myeloneuropathies, a serious health problem, are multifactorial conditions that provide unsurpassed opportunities for international cooperation and neurologic research.