Central motor conduction to upper and lower limbs after magnetic stimulation of the brain and peripheral nerve abnormalities in 20 patients with Friedreich's ataxia.
ABSTRACT Central motor conduction time (CMCT) to thenar and soleus muscles was measured after magnetic stimulation of the cortex in 20 cases of Friedreich's ataxia (FA) and was abnormal in all. CMCT values were related to disease duration and disability. The amplitude of CMAP after cortex stimulation was severely reduced in the most disabled patients. Reduction in amplitude of the nerve evoked potentials was related neither to disease duration nor grade of disability. These results suggest that clinical worsening in FA is mainly due to progressive central motor pathway involvement. CMCT study is a better index of disease progression than peripheral nerve examination. Abnormalities in CMCT may be the third electrophysiological diagnostic criterion in FA, after reduced amplitude of nerve action potentials and absent H reflex.