Electrophysiological Investigation of Disorders of the Spinal Cord

  • A. A. Eisen


This chapter explores the value, and limitations, of clinical neurophysiology in the investigation of spinal cord disease. In an age of gigantic advances in visualization of the spinal cord - made possible by CT scanning and, more so, by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - one may reasonably ask what is the role of clinical neurophysiology? The disease specificity of neurophysiology is poor and localization to a single segmental level is seldom possible. However, such techniques can be cost-effective, yielding important information concerning function. For example, after spinal cord trauma it is possible to gauge the extent to which function has been impaired and to comment on prognosis. Many diseases affecting the spinal cord have no radiological correlates. This statement is relevant to: most of the motor neurone diseases, non-structural diseases of the dorsal root ganglion better termed the ganglioneuronopathies, diseases of the dorsal columns such as vitamin B12 deficiency and Friedreich’s ataxia, diseases of the motor tracts such as latharysm and Konzo and autonomic dysfunction secondary to spinal cord disease.


Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Motor Unit Motor Evoke Potential Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy 
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