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J Neurol Sci. 1995 Feb;128(2):188-94.

Sympathetic skin responses evoked by magnetic stimulation of the neck.

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Department of Neurology, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, School of Medicine, Fukuoka, Japan.


We studied sympathetic skin responses (SSRs) following magnetic stimulation of the neck in 40 normal subjects and 54 patients with neurological diseases and active sweat gland densities (ASGDs) at the foot induced by pilocarpine in 39 patients. SSRs at the hand following magnetic stimulation showed the lowest coefficients of variability of the latencies and amplitudes in eight consecutive responses compared with SSRs following other types of stimuli (electrical and auditory stimulation, and deep inspiration) in 12 normal subjects. Fourteen of 38 patients with neuropathies (37%) showed the presence of SSRs after magnetic stimulation, but not after median nerve stimulation, although SSRs to magnetic stimulation corresponded with those to nerve stimulation in all patients with multiple sclerosis or multiple system atrophy. These results suggest that the absence of SSRs after nerve stimulation in patients with neuropathies may be due to abnormalities of the peripheral sensory afferent fibers. ASGDs significantly correlated with SSRs at the foot following magnetic stimulation, but not with those following nerve stimulation in patients with neuropathies. Magnetic stimulation of the neck is the highly reproducible method of evoking SSRs because this technique is able to produce strong sensory afferent inputs proximally. Furthermore, SSRs following magnetic stimulation, little influenced by sensory afferent fiber involvement, are very useful for evaluating the postganglionic sympathetic function in patients with neuropathies.

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