Two types of abnormal somatosensory evoked potentials in chronic cerebellar ataxias

Y. Okajima, N. Chino, E. Saitoh, A. Tsubahara, A. Kimura, B. Mihara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


To investigate subclinical sensory impairment in spinocerebellar degenerations, median nerve somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) were examined in 16 patients with chronic cerebellar ataxia who were originally diagnosed by clinical neurologists as having olivopontocerebellar atrophy (OPCA). Two types of abnormal SEP patterns were found in six patients. Two patients had the SEP pattern of peripheral neuropathy, which was also detected by peripheral sensory nerve conduction studies. Four patients had abnormal SEPs seen in patients with the lesions in the central nervous system (dorsal column, medial lemniscus). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed multiple subcortical lesions in two of them which are often found in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). It is possible that clinically diagnosed OPCA sometimes includes a similar form of Friedreich's ataxia with subclinical sensory fiber neuropathy detected by SEPs and peripheral sensory conduction studies. In cases of lesions in the central nervous system demonstrated by both SEPs and MRI, there must be a follow-up in order to make a final diagnosis. In those cases, an alternative diagnosis of MS must be considered when the temporal profile of symptoms and signs characteristic of MS is observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-100
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • ataxias
  • multiple sclerosis
  • somatosensory-evoked potentials
  • spinocerebellar degenerations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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