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Tonic spasms and short myelitis in an elderly woman—unique onset of neuromyelitis optica


Neuromyelitis optica typically presents at a median age of 40–50 years. The myelitis is usually of acute onset, long (>3 vertebral segments) and causes severe sensorimotor and bladder and bowel disturbances. We describe a 73-year-old Caucasian woman with aquaporin-4 antibody-positive neuromyelitis optica whose index event was intermittent paroxysmal tonic spasms (and no other myelitis features) that recurred for 6 months and was associated with a short spinal cord lesion on MRI. This case reiterates recent observations that neuromyelitis optica can occur in older persons, and its myelitis can be ‘short’ and clinically mild.

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