A New Simple Neurophysiological Method (Through Conventional Electrical Stimulation) To Assess Function Of Tactile Receptors And Related Nerve Fibers
Sometimes standard sensory nerve conduction studies show normal results in patients with definite symptoms of sensory polyneuropathy. This is usually explained because standard neurophysiological tests evaluate only large myelinated fibers and do not assess the slowest conducting fibers, more distal segments of the nerves and tactile receptors. Tactile stimulation is a test, not routinely available, that assesses the function of tactile receptors and conduction of fibers that are depolarized by these receptors. During conventional sensory nerve conduction studies (in patients and healthy subjects) through surface electrodes, where we slowly increased the intensity of the stimulus, we occasionally observed a sensory response characterized by a particular morphology with two peaks. After several experiments (performed in the neurophysiological laboratories of Catholic University of Rome and of University of Uppsala) we argued that the double component of the response is the expression of the stimulation of tactile receptors (and depolarization of their related fibers). Therefore an electrical stimulation through conventional EMG equipment allows us to assess function of tactile receptors (and related nerve fibers). This observation may have important diagnostic application in clinical practice to evaluate suspected polyneuropathies negative to neurophysiological conduction studies.
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Document Type: Abstract
Affiliations: Institute of Neurology, Univ. Cattolica Roma, Italy
Publication date: March 1, 2001