Torunska K, Maj-Zurawska M
Private Neurologist Practice, University of Warsaw, Poland

For many years, the role of magnesium in medicine has been well known. We know that magnesium is not only a membranes- but also organelles stabilizer. This fact is commonly applied by scientists in studying the role of magnesium in the pathophysiology of various diseases. The role of magnesium deficiency in neurological diseases arouses great interest. Mostly common effects of magnesium deficiency in tissues are neuromuscular hyperactivity teams. Magnesium is known for its role as adjunctive therapy in epilepsy syndrome, involuntary movements, neurosis, panic disorders, and anxiety-depressive. Toning effect on the muscles, magnesium is used in treating diseases with increased spasticity, for example multiple sclerosis or traumatic spinal cord. The role of the influence of magnesium on brain aging and Alzheimer disease is currently researched. But in outpatient practice, neurologist meets disorders resulting from original latent magnesium deficiency in the form of latent tetany. These disorders result from primary magnesium deficiency. We present a model of diagnostic and therapeutic management of tetany, with special attention paid to the role of magnesium and to psychotherapy or psychiatric treatment. There are two types of tetany that are distinguished: manifest tetany and latent tetany (spasmophilia). The former due to hypocalcemia, is relatively rare and usually postoperative (parathyroid tetany), while the mechanism of the much more common latent tetany or spasmophilia involves hyperventilation and magnesium deficiency. Latent tetany affects particularly young women. There are many signs of spasmophilia, but none of them is specific, so this pathology is difficult to diagnose.

Latent tetany is becoming more and more prevalent in society. Tetany latent (spasmophilia) pathology, wherein the substrate is an increase in the excitability of the nerve-muscle, follows magnesium deficiencies and/or hyperventilation. Unlike overt tetany, spasmophilia is usually accidentally detected on the basis of electromyographic test. While overt signs of tetany are widely known and attacks are easy to recognize, the latent tetany (spasmophilia) is usually detected by chance in apparently healthy people, complaining on very unusual symptoms from the various organs and systems.

Latent tetany signs are resulting from reduction intracellular magnesium concentration and not from reduction serum magnesium concentration. At this moment, this illness can be identified on the basis of ischemic test. Much more reliable test results on the basis of determination ionized magnesium in erythrocytes.