In early 1999, a right-handed manufacturing engineer in his thirties presented to his general practitioner (GP) with a week-long history of diminished sensation and paraesthesiae affecting his left arm and leg. Two months prior to presentation he had contracted a ‘flu-like illness that had left him with persistent fatigue. At presentation, his GP noticed weakness of his left hand and made a presumptive diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. He prescribed a five-day course of oral prednisolone 40 mg daily, which the patient took for only one day, making a transient improvement. The next day he had difficulty making decisions at work and was stopped by the police for speeding in a residential area. Two weeks after the onset of his neurological symptoms, he was admitted to a local hospital with confusion and then transferred to the Neurology department in Edinburgh the following day.
Two years beforehand, in 1997
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