Clinical neurophysiology of multiple sclerosis

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The availability of new treatments able to modify the natural course of multiple sclerosis (MS) has generated interest in paraclinical measures to monitor disease evolution. Among these, neurophysiologic measures, mainly evoked potentials (EPs), are used in the functional assessment of central sensorimotor and cognitive networks affected by MS. EP abnormalities may reveal subclinical lesions, objectivate the involvement of sensory and motor pathways in the presence of vague disturbances, and provide indications of the demyelinating nature of the disease process. However, their diagnostic value is much lower than that of magnetic resonance imaging, and is more sensitive to brain and cervical spinal cord lesions. The application of EPs in assessing disease severity and monitoring the evolution of nervous damage is more promising, thanks to their good correlation with disability in cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, and potential use as paraclinical endpoints in clinical trials. Recent evidence indicates that EPs performed early in the disease may help to predict a worse future progression in the long term. If confirmed, these data suggest the possible usefulness of EPs in the early identification of patients who are more likely to develop future disability, thus requiring more frequent monitoring or being potential candidates for more aggressive disease-modifying treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671-679
Number of pages9
JournalHandbook of Clinical Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Event-related desyncronization
  • Event-related potentials
  • Evoked potentials
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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