Neurophysiological evaluation of the central nervous impulse propagation in patients with sensorimotor disturbances

Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol. 1988 Jul;70(1):16-25. doi: 10.1016/0013-4694(88)90190-3.


Motor evoked potentials (MEPs) to transcranial stimulation (TCS) and somatosensory evoked potentials to median nerve stimulation (MN-SEPs) were examined in 74 patients affected by multiple sclerosis (MS = 49 cases), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS = 9 cases), cervical cord lesions (7 cases), Parkinson's disease (PD = 5 cases), Huntington's chorea (HC = 2 cases), Wilson's disease (WD = 1 case), subacute combined degeneration (SCD = 1 case). MN-SEPs were altered in 38% of arms in MS with a higher incidence in clinically affected than in clinically 'silent' arms (= 77.8% vs. 27.5%). MEP alterations were found in 54% of examined arms, mostly because of a prolongation of the motor CCT. This index was invariably altered in the affected arms, whilst it was involved in 40% of the 'silent' ones. Twelve out of 18 arms displayed abnormal MEPs in ALS. These were mainly due to an absent response, even if moderate motor CCT prolongation and 'giant' MEPs were also encountered. MN-SEPs were altered in 3/18 arms. By recording MEPs from proximal and distal upper limb muscles, cues on the level of abnormal propagation were obtained in patients suffering from 'focal' lesions of the spinal cord. Combining SEP records enhanced the diagnostic yield in this field. Both MEPs and SEPs were normal in patients with PD and HC, whilst abnormally prolonged CCTs were found in the case with WD. MEP and SEP recording revealed central propagation abnormalities coupled to a severe clinical picture of the peripheral nerve involvement (as in the case of SCD).

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Central Nervous System / physiopathology*
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Movement Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Movement*
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Neural Conduction
  • Sensation*
  • Time Factors