On the basis of experimental paralyses produced in animals by Evans and Burr,1 Einarson and Ringsted2 and others, vitamin E and alpha tocopherol, an alcohol isolated from wheat germ oil having apparently all of the properties of the vitamin, have been rather widely advocated as therapeutic agents for a variety of diseases of the neuromuscular system, especially amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and progressive muscular dystrophy. The favorable clinical reports of Bicknell3 and Wechsler4 have been followed by those of Stone,5 Vilter, Aring and Spies,6 and Rosenberger7 and by a considerable body of literature distributed by various pharmaceutic companies and, indeed, by the lay press. However, the reports of others8 make it clear that the efficacy of the therapy is far from proved.
This report covers a group of 35 patients treated with large doses of synthetic alpha tocopherol, beginning May 1940. The purpose of the study was to