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Muscle Nerve. 2010 Feb;41(2):191-6. doi: 10.1002/mus.21481.

Evoked myotonia can be "dialed-up" by increasing stimulus train length in myotonic dystrophy type 1.

Author information

Department of Neurology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Box 673, 601 Elmwood Avenue, Rochester, New York, USA. eric_logigian@urmc.rochester


It is unknown how evoked myotonia varies with stimulus frequency or train length, or how it compares to voluntary myotonia in myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1). First dorsal interosseous (FDI) tetanic contractions evoked by trains of 10-20 ulnar nerve stimuli at 10-50 HZ were recorded in 10 DM1 patients and 10 normals. For comparison, maximum voluntary handgrip contractions were also recorded. An automated computer program placed cursors along the declining (relaxation) phase of the force recordings at 90% and 5% of peak force (PF) and calculated relaxation times (RTs) between these points. For all stimulus frequencies and train lengths, evoked RTs were much shorter, and evoked PFs were much greater in normals than in DM1. In normals, evoked RT was independent of stimulus frequency and train length, while in DM1 RT was longer for train lengths of 20 stimuli (mean: 9 s in DM1; 0.20 in normals) than for 10 stimuli (mean: 3 s in DM1, 0.19 in normals), but it did not change with stimulus frequency. In both groups PF increased greatly as stimulus frequency rose from 10-50 HZ but only slightly as train length rose from 10-20 stimuli. Voluntary handgrip RT (mean: 1.9 s) was less than evoked FDI RT (mean: 9 s). In DM1, evoked RT can be "dialed up" by increasing stimulus train length. Evoked myotonia testing utilizing a stimulus paradigm of at least 20 stimuli at 30-50 HZ may be useful in antimyotonic drug trials, particularly when grip RT is normal or equivocal.

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