RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Stratifying disease stages with different progression rates determined by electrophysiological tests in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Muscle & Nerve 2009 March
By determining the usefulness of motor unit number estimate (MUNE) and compound muscle action potential (CMAP) amplitude in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), we tried to find an effective way to stratify the disease stages. In all, 112 consecutive ALS patients were enrolled, among whom 73 were elicited in a longitudinal study. MUNE by the standard incremental technique, the average CMAP amplitude, total Medical Research Council (MRC) score, ALS-functional rating score (ALS-FRS), Appel ALS rating scale (AARS), and forced vital capacity (FVC) were performed at baseline and months 3, 6, and 12 after study entry. We found MUNE correlated with CMAP amplitude (P < 0.01) as well as MRC score (P < 0.01) in regionally concordant distal muscles. Both MUNE and CMAP amplitude correlated significantly with ALS-FRS (P < 0.05) and AARS (P < 0.01). A MUNE decrease was observed at months 3, 6, and 12 compared with baseline, and the rate of change at month 3 was 50.47%. The decrease in MUNE over the first 3 months was significantly greater than other measurements. We arbitrarily divided the patients into three stages: (1) rapid progression: the rate of change of MUNE and CMAP amplitude during the first 3 months exceeded 50%; (2) moderate progression: the rate of change of MUNE was greater than 50% but CMAP amplitude was less than 50%; (3) slow progression: the rate of change of both MUNE and CMAP amplitude were less than 50%. Comparing the rate of ALS-FRS descent per year using one-way ANOVA showed a significant difference among the three groups (P < 0.01).

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