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Transcranial magnetic stimulation after conditioning stimulation in two adrenomyeloneuropathy patients: delayed but facilitated motor-evoked potentials.


Two male patients were diagnosed with adrenomyeloneuropathy. Their chief problems were progressive spastic paraparesis, sensory impairment, hyperpigmentation and testis atrophy. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) does not easily elicit motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) in patients with a central nervous system dysfunction, even though a few methods, such as contraction of the target muscles and the Jendrassik maneuver (JM), are used in the attempt to facilitate them. In these two patients, we used a conditioning method (prior electrical stimulation over the cutaneous nerve of the left index finger) in order to facilitate MEPs, elicited by TMS, in the left tibialis anterior muscle. In patient 1, facilitation of MEPs was present at conditioning-test (C-T) intervals in the range 60-220 ms, with the maximal MEP recorded at C-T 160 ms; in patient 2, it occurred in the C-T interval range 110-140 ms, with the maximal MEP recorded at C-T 130 ms. By means of conditioning electrical stimulation, we can facilitate MEPs elicited by TMS in those subjects in whom MEPs are minimal or difficult to elicit even using the conventional JM or muscle contraction. The facilitation of MEPs by conditioning stimuli allowed us not only to assess central motor conduction time, but also to demonstrate the preserved continuity of the corticospinal tract in these two patients.