Age-related changes in peripheral and central nerve conduction in man

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Article abstract

Somatosensory evoked potential (SEP) latencies, motor and sensory nerve conduction velocities (CVs), and F-wave latenies were measured in 15 elderly normal subjects (mean age 74.1 years), and the results were used to derive indirect estimates of spinal cord CVs. These measurements were compared to those from 15 younger normal adults (mean age 31.6 years), and the nerve conduction characteristics of all 30 subjects were analyzed with respect to age. Peripheral motor and sensory CVs slowed progressively, and the onset latencies of F-waves and SEPs increased gradually with advancing age. Spinal cord CVs showed little change until approximately age 60, and declined sharply thereafter. In addition, the latencies of F-waves and SEPs were positively associated with height. Human clinical and experimental studies utilizing SEP and F-wave measurements must allow for morphologic differences between individuals, and for the systematic changes which accompany normal aging.

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