Combined evoked potentials as markers and predictors of disability in early multiple sclerosis

Clin Neurophysiol. 2012 Feb;123(2):406-10. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2011.06.021. Epub 2011 Jul 22.


Objective: To prospectively assess combined evoked potentials (EP) as markers and predictors of the disease course of early MS over 3 years.

Methods: Fifty patients in the early phase of relapsing remitting MS prospectively received visual, somatosensory and motor EP and EDSS assessments at baseline (T1) and at 6 months intervals during 3 years. Spearman rank correlation was used to determine the relationship between z-transformed EP-latencies (z-EPL) and EDSS. Multivariable linear regression was performed to predict EDSS at year 3 (T7) in function of z-EPL(T1). Validity of the models was assessed using group cross-validation.

Results: At each of the seven points in time, EDSS correlated with the sum of z-EPL (0.64 ≤ rho ≤ 0.79, p<0.001). The change of the sum of z-EPL(T7-T1) correlated with the change of EDSS(T7-T1) (rho=0.51, p=0.001). EDSS(T7) as predicted by the sum of z-scores of EP latencies or by the number of pathological EP results at baseline correlated with the observed clinical values after 3 years (rho>0.70, p<0.001, for both measures).

Conclusions: Multimodal EPs correlate well with clinical disability in cross-sectional and longitudinal comparison in early MS and allow prediction of disease evolution over 3 years.

Significance: EPs seem well suited as markers of the disease course in early MS in clinical trials and bear potential for supporting decision-finding in individual patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnosis*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Young Adult