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Muscle Nerve. 1990 Jan;13(1):56-62.

Duchenne de Boulogne: electrodiagnosis of poliomyelitis.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor.


Duchenne de Boulogne was among the first to investigate neuromuscular diseases. He stimulated muscle and nerve with moistened surface electrodes, thereby avoiding tissue necrosis. Technique and self-designed equipment are discussed in his first major work de l'électrisation localisée. During his 30 years of practice, he examined several hundred patients with poliomyelitis. With electrodiagnostic evaluation, he focused on "electrocontractility," the intensity of muscle contraction elicited by electrical stimulation. Based on his electrophysiologic findings, Duchenne suggested that the responsible lesion resided within the spinal cord. He used electrical stimulation for treatment and recognized prognostic features.

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