Jamaican Neurologist Dominating His Field

A senior consultant neurologist and one of Jamaica’s leading physicians, Dr Daniel S. Graham, is well known for his groundbreaking research on the cause of the disease then known as ‘Jamaican Neuropathy’ in the mid to late 1980s.

Dr Graham worked alongside the late Professor Pamela Rodgers-Johnson, Professor Owen Morgan and Medicine and Neurophysiology Nobel Prize laureate, Daniel Carleton Gajdusek, on the early research, which was critical in identifying and establishing the human T-cell lymphotrophic virus-type 1 (HTLV-1) as the cause of ‘Jamaican Neuropathy’, later renamed Tropical Spastic Paraparesis (TSP). Tropical Spastic Paraparesis has been used to describe this chronic and progressive disease of the nervous system that affects adults living in equatorial regions of the world.

TSP is now called HTLV-1 associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis or HAM/TSP. The HTLV-1 virus is transmitted from person to person via infected cells, breastfeeding by mothers who are seropositive (possess high levels of virus antibodies in their blood), sharing infected needles or having sexual relations with a seropositive partner.

Their early research played an important role in worldwide screening of blood donors for this potentially sexually transmitted virus. The chief complaints encountered in HAM/TSP are usually back and leg pain, urinary frequency and urgency, followed later by weakness, stiffness of the legs and progressive difficulty walking, often leading to being wheelchair-bound. Read more

Source: Jamaica Gleaner