Which degenerative disorders can be assessed by somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs)?

Updated: Aug 20, 2019
  • Author: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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In Friedreich ataxia, SEPs recorded from the scalp usually show normal peripheral nerve conduction latencies but prolonged central conduction times. Degenerative disorders of the brain stem, such as spinal cerebellar degeneration, usually show a similar SEP pattern. In Huntington disease, latencies are normal but the amplitudes may be low (similar to the low-voltage pattern found in the EEG).

SEPs are normal in many degenerative disorders, including Parkinson disease, [17] Alzheimer disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (particularly early in the course of the disease). [18] An unusually large amplitude response is seen in the SEPs of patients with progressive myoclonic epilepsy. In cerebrovascular disease or head trauma, abnormal SEPs are recorded when infarction, hemorrhage, or direct injury disrupts the integrity of ascending somatosensory pathways.

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