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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Pain-related somatosensory evoked potentials in syringomyelia.

Pain-related somatosensory evoked potentials following CO2 laser stimulation (pain SEPs) and conventional electrically-stimulated SEPs (electric SEPs) were examined in 8 patients with syringomyelia who showed various forms of dissociated sensory loss. Unlike clinical examination using a pin or needle, pain SEP is considered to be an objective and quantitative test to investigate functions of peripheral and central sensory pathways responsible for pain-temperature sensation (A delta fibres and the spinothalamic tract). Pain SEPs were abnormal in all patients. The results were generally compatible with the degree of a clinical impairment of pain-temperature sensation. Subclinical abnormality was detected in 3 patients. Electric median nerve SEPs using the scalp reference (Fz) were normal in 6 out of 8 patients. However, anterior and posterior cervical responses using a noncephalic reference were absent or small in 7 patients. Electric SEPs following tibial nerve stimulation were normal in 7 patients. These findings suggest that the function of the ascending fibres through the dorsal columns is intact in most patients, whereas the dorsal horn, where a fixed cervical potential is generated, is impaired. Pain SEPs combined with electric SEPs therefore appear to be extremely useful for investigating physiological function in the sensory pathways in patients who show 'dissociated sensory loss' such as in syringomyelia.[1]


  1. Pain-related somatosensory evoked potentials in syringomyelia. Kakigi, R., Shibasaki, H., Kuroda, Y., Neshige, R., Endo, C., Tabuchi, K., Kishikawa, T. Brain (1991) [Pubmed]
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