Abnormalities of somatosensory evoked potentials in konzo - An upper motor neuron disorder

D. Tshala-Katumbay, K. Edebol Eeg-Olofsson, T. Kazadi-Kayembe, Peo Fällmar, Thorkild Tylleskär, T. Kayembe-Kalula

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether the somatosensory pathways are involved or not in konzo. Methods: In 1998, 21 konzo subjects (15 females and 6 males; mean age 21 years) underwent a SEP study with a two-channel-equipment (Medtronic Keypoint, Denmark) whereas in 2000, 15 subjects (7 females and 8 males; mean age 21 years) participated in a study with a 4-channel-equipment. Results: Most subjects (19/21 in 1998 and 12/15 in 2000) showed normal median SEPs. The remainders had no median cortical responses. All 21 subjects in 1998 and 9 out of 15 in 2000 showed abnormalities of tibial SEPs mainly consisting of absence of cortical responses, prolonged cortical latencies, and central sensory delay to the lumbar spine. Most subjects showed normal absolute latencies both at peripheral and spinal levels. The SEP findings did not correlate with the severity, neither the duration of konzo, nor the experience or not of sensory symptoms at the onset of the disease. Conclusion: Our findings are not specific of konzo. However, they suggest involvement of intracranial somatosensory pathways and point to similarities with other motor neuron diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-15
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Evoked potentials
  • Konzo
  • Motor neuron disease
  • Somatosensory pathways

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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