[Copper deficiency myelopathy probably caused by long-lasting daily excessive intake of zink]

Rinsho Shinkeigaku. 2016 Oct 28;56(10):690-693. doi: 10.5692/clinicalneurol.cn-000926. Epub 2016 Oct 16.
[Article in Japanese]


We report a 39-year-old woman with slowly progressive spastic gait and paresthesia in the lower extremities. Cervical spinal MRI revealed high intensity in the dorsal column from vertebrae C2 to C7. Laboratory findings showed normal vitamin B12 and low serum copper level. By lifestyle history taking, we noticed her extreme unbalanced diet of having 15-20 oysters everyday over 5 years. Then we considered that zinc excess caused copper deficiency myelopathy. We needed to pay attention to copper and zinc level if the patient has a symptom resembling subacute combined degeneration of spinal cord with normal serum vitamin B12.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Axis, Cervical Vertebra
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Copper / blood
  • Copper / deficiency*
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ostreidae* / chemistry
  • Spinal Cord / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / diagnosis
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / etiology*
  • Zinc / adverse effects*


  • Biomarkers
  • Copper
  • Zinc