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Generalised sensory system abnormalities in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a European multicentre study

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Peter Fawcett, Dr Ian Schofield



Background: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is defined as a disease of the motor neurones, although several studies indicate involvement of the sensory nervous system. Aim: To evaluate the sensory nerve conduction studies (NCS) in 88 patients with ALS as part of a European multicentre study. Methods: Seven European clinical neurophysiologists examined consecutive series of ALS patients. The examinations were peer reviewed, and the diagnosis of ALS was confirmed clinically. Results: 20 (22.7%) patients with ALS had sensory NCS abnormalities in at least one nerve. Of those, 11 (12.5% of all patients) obtained an additional peer review diagnosis of electrophysiological polyneuropathy. There was no difference between the subgroups of patients with normal versus abnormal sensory NCS findings with respect to age, duration and region of onset. Conclusion: The findings support previous reports of sensory involvement in ALS, and raise the question of whether patients with ALS with sensory nerve abnormalities represent a variant of ALS. ALS associated with generalised sensory system abnormalities may be consistent with degeneration of motor neurones and dorsal root ganglion cells.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pugdahl K, Fuglsang-Frederiksen A, de Carvalho M, Johnsen B, Fawcett PRW, Labarre-Vila A, Liguori R, Nix WA, Schofield IS

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry

Year: 2007

Volume: 78

Issue: 7

Pages: 746-749

Date deposited: 21/06/2010

ISSN (print): 0022-3050

ISSN (electronic): 1468-330X

Publisher: BMJ Group


DOI: 10.1136/jnnp.2006.098533


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