In 1959, we reported 1 the case of a young woman with apparent progressive muscular dystrophy and disturbed intestinal motility. At postmortem examination, the smooth muscle of the intestinal tract had changes similar to those of the peripheral muscles. Later, we reviewed2 the literature relating to muscular dystrophy and the gastrointestinal tract. Three findings impressed us: (1) the severity of gastrointestinal symptoms in some of these patients,2-6 (2) the occasional report5,7 of involvement of the intestinal musculature, and (3) the experimental work8-10 that suggested malabsorption of vitamin E as an etiological factor in this disease.
At that time, we had little experience with the disease; but shortly thereafter, we joined in a cooperative study of a group of muscular dystrophy patients. In an exploratory effort, we did a series of absorption tests on these patients. The following reports our findings.
Fifty-seven adults and 43 children