Middle-latency somatosensory evoked potentials after median-nerve stimulation in mentally retarded children

Stefano Del Gracco, Raffaele Ferri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The simultaneous recording from a large number of scalp electrodes of middlelatency (ML) somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) after median-nerve (MN) stimulation allows a thorough study of the activation processes of different primary and associative somatosensory cortical areas. ML-MN-SEP components show the cortical response to peripheral somatosensory stimuli as a sequential activation of the postrolandic, posterior parietal and frontal cortex. Moreover, the bit mapping of these potentials can show also the topographic distribution of this evoked activity over the scalp. Recent works have applied ML-MN-SEP recording for neurophysiological assessment of different groups of mentally retarded children. A short review is presented of such studies performed in Down's syndrome subjects, in fragile-X syndrome subjects and in mentally retarded autistic subjects. The data allow to conclude that ML-MN-SEPs may represent a powerful tool in the study of the cortical excitability) of the parietal and frontal cortex in different developmental disorders. Moreover, they help to characterize the neurophysiological specificity of each pathological condition and may lead to a better comprehension of the basic mechanisms of mental retardation in such conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-260
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Brain Dysfunction
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1997


  • Autism
  • Down's syndrome
  • Fragile-X syndrome
  • Mental retardation
  • Somatosensory evoked potentials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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