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Stiff-Person Syndrome

Stiff-person syndrome (SMS) was first described by Moersch and Woltman (1956) in a case report of 14 patients seen over 27 years. A literature review by Gordon (1966) including one patient of his own and 33 from the literature more sharply delineated the characteristics of the disease and postulated that the symptoms might be due to a failure of inhibitory function. A follow-up report of the Mayo Clinic experience by Lorish (1989) describing 13 patients seen over 30 years established standard criteria for diagnosing the disease. A cumulative literature review by Jankovic (1991) included 2 patients of his own and 82 others, and is the most recent large-scale report of the disease. Effective treatment with a benzodiazepine was described by Howard in 1963.