Les Dorfman

Publication Details

  • MOTOR UNIT FIRING RATES AND FIRING RATE VARIABILITY IN THE DETECTION OF NEUROMUSCULAR DISORDERS ELECTROENCEPHALOGRAPHY AND CLINICAL NEUROPHYSIOLOGY DORFMAN, L. J., Howard, J. E., McGill, K. C. 1989; 73 (3): 215-224

    Abstract:

    We have used automatic decomposition electromyography (ADEMG) to study 41 muscles in 29 patients with well-defined peripheral and central motor disorders. In motor neuron diseases motor unit action potentials (MUAPs) showed increased amplitudes, firing rates and firing variability. Relatively large MUAPs sometimes were not identified by the computer program if they lacked sufficient high-frequency signal content, or were too variable in shape. In myopathies the MUAPs showed reduced amplitudes, durations and turns, and sometimes dramatic increases in firing rates. Also, the mean number of MUAPs per recording site was often increased, indicating excessive recruitment. In polymyositis (the best studied myopathy) the nature and magnitude of the MUAP shape and firing abnormalities were usually similar at different levels of contractile force, suggesting that motor units are affected without regard to recruitment order. In upper motor neuron paresis (multiple sclerosis), the shape properties of the MUAPs were normal, but mean firing rates were reduced, and firing variability increased. These findings confirm many of the traditional criteria for distinguishing neurogenic from myopathic disease electrophysiologically at the level of the individual MUAP. In addition, they demonstrate the potential diagnostic sensitivity of MUAP firing rate measurements for detecting neuromuscular dysfunction, and for differentiating between some cases of central and peripheral paresis, but not for distinguishing peripheral neurogenic from myopathic weakness, since firing rates tend to increase in both. Increased firing rate variability may be a marker of central or peripheral neurogenic weakness.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1989AP90300005

    View details for PubMedID 2475326

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