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Most reports about oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy (OPMD) have been contributed by occidental countries, and most of the victims of this disease are racially white. In contrast, this disorder is rarely seen in Asians and has only one African report. Consequently, OPMD has been regarded as a disease of the Western world. The purpose of this paper is to challenge the accuracy of this concept. In a Chinese immigrant family, 3 patients manifesting signs related to OPMD were examined. Electromyography, nerve conduction studies, muscle biopsy and genetic analysis were performed on the proband. All the 322 papers about OPMD were reviewed and their country of origin was labeled to perceive the approximate prevalence of OPMD. Countries were categorized into groups according to the continents to which they belonged. The proband's muscle histopathology showed small angulated fiber with rimmed vacuoles, ultrastructural pathology exposed filamentous intranuclear inclusions, and genetic analysis of the polyadenylate binding protein nuclear 1(PABPN1) gene revealed 13 GCG trinucleotide repeats in one allele (GCG)13 while being normal in the other. The survey of the country of origin of OPMD reports showed that 80% of these papers were contributed by occidental countries and that the number of publications of OPMD among countries of Americas and Asia were unequal, when compared to those of European countries, which were fairly proportioned. An epidemiologic review of the literature is presented and the prevalence of OPMD is discussed. This is a China-born Chinese patient with both morphologically and genetically proven of OPMD. The very low OPMD report rate in developing countries of East Asia is due to the unfamiliarity of medical workers to OPMD and the unavailability of medical supplies to confirm the diagnosis. In addition, the present and previous reports provide clear evidence that OPMD in these areas is underdiagnosed. Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier B.V.


Yu-Yi Chien. Oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy --an under-diagnosed disease in China? Report a China-born Chinese with PABPN1 mutation and epidemiology review of the literature. Journal of the Formosan Medical Association = Taiwan yi zhi. 2012 Jul;111(7):397-402

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PMID: 22817818

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