Myeloneuropathy and anemia due to copper malabsorption

J Neurol. 2004 Jun;251(6):747-9. doi: 10.1007/s00415-004-0428-x.


Dietary deficiency of copper results in a progressive ataxic myelopathy in ruminants called swayback. Menkes disease is a human disease due to an inherited defect in copper absorption; survival into adulthood is typically not known to occur. We report a 63-year-old woman who was evaluated by us for a myeloneuropathy that occurred in the setting of copper malabsorption. Her neurological deterioration stopped with copper supplementation. The limited literature on neurological manifestations of acquired copper deficiency suggests that the clinical presentation resembles the myeloneuropathy seen with vitamin B12 deficiency.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Anemia / etiology*
  • Copper / deficiency*
  • Copper / therapeutic use
  • Diet Therapy / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Malabsorption Syndromes / complications*
  • Malabsorption Syndromes / therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Nervous System Diseases / therapy
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / etiology*
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / therapy


  • Copper