The neuroscience and phenomenology of sensory loss

  • Jonathan Cole


Historically deafferentation has been seen in the context of a late effect of syphilis, (before the spirochaete’s effects were largely killed off by antibiotics, at least in Western societies). One of the consequences of the chronic late stage of the disease is atrophy of the dorsal columns of the spinal cord, leading to loss of the tracts carrying touch and proprioception. This in turn led to the characteristic broad based staggering gait and uncontrolled ataxic movements. Dispassionate accounts of the consequences of this may have been made more difficult by the fact that with ataxia comes intractable lightning pains1. That such deafferentiation could arise from other peripheral and central causes of loss of proprioception was less clear2


Dorsal Root Ganglion Grip Force Sensory Loss Motor Programme Quantitative Sensory Testing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Selected readings

  1. Cole J (1991) Pride and a Daily Marathon. London: Duckworth (reprinted by the MIT Press, London and Cambridge, MA, 1995)Google Scholar
  2. Forget R, Lamarre Y (1987) Rapid elbow flexion in the absence of proprioceptive and cutaneous feed-back. Human Neurobiol 6: 27–37Google Scholar
  3. Rolke R, Magerl W, Andrews Campbell K, Schalber C, Caspari S, Birklein F, Treede RD (2006) Quantitative sensory testing: a comprehensive protocol for clinical trials. Eur J Pain 10: 77–86PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Rothwell JC, Traub MM, Day BL, Obeso JA, Marsden CD, Thomas PK (1982) Manual motor performance in a deafferented man. Brain 105: 515–542PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Sterman AB, Schaumburg HH, Asbury AK (1980) The acute sensory neuronopathy syndrome; a distinct clinical entity. Ann Neurol 7 (4): 354–358PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Cole
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Clinical NeurophysiologyPoole HospitalPooleUK

Personalised recommendations