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Physiologic Studies of Spasticity

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) Identifier:
First received: April 17, 2001
Last updated: June 30, 2017
Last verified: November 1, 2010

This study will provide information about changes that occur in the motor neurons of the spinal cord (the nerve cells that control the muscles) when the motor cortex (the region of the brain that controls movement) is unable to send messages to the spinal cord and muscles in the normal way. This information will help elucidate how the nervous system adapts after injury or disease of the motor cortex.

Healthy adult volunteers and adults with a spasticity disorder and moderate weakness may be eligible for this study. Patients will be screened with a medical history, physical examination and diagnostic studies as needed. Healthy volunteers will have a neurological examination. Muscle weakness and spasticity will be evaluated in both groups of subjects.

All participants will have electromyography (measurement of electrical activity in muscles) during nerve stimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation, described below. (Some patients, such as those with a pacemaker or implanted medication pumps, metal objects in the eye, history of epilepsy and others, will not have magnetic stimulation.)

Electromyography - The electrical activity of muscles will be measured either by 1) using metal electrodes taped to the skin overlying a muscle, or 2) using thin wires inserted into the muscle through a needle.

Nerve stimulation - The nerves will be stimulated by applying a small electrical pulse through metal disks on the skin of the arm or leg.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation - A brief electrical current is passed through a wire coil placed on the scalp. This creates a magnetic pulse, which stimulates the brain. During the test, the participant may be asked to tense certain muscles slightly or perform other simple actions.

Nerve block - Some patients will have a nerve block of one of the nerves in the arm. For this procedure, a local anesthetic is injected under the skin to produce numbness and weakness in some arm muscles.

Muscle Spasticity Healthy

Study Type: Observational
Official Title: Spasticity: Physiologic Studies

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):

Enrollment: 48
Study Start Date: April 13, 2001
Estimated Study Completion Date: November 1, 2010
Detailed Description:

Objective: The purpose of this protocol is to characterize abnormalities in motoneuron recruitment in adult patients with corticospinal tract dysfunction using electrophysiologic measures. We wish to determine whether the intrinsic spinal mechanisms for recruitment are abnormal or whether only inputs to motoneurons are changed. This information is pertinent for assessing ways that can ultimately be used to enhance strength in patients with corticospinal tract dysfunction using the existing spinal circuitry.

Study Design: Comparison of physiological observations in patients and age - matched control subjects.

Study Population: Adults with spastic paresis aged 21-80 and healthy volunteers.

Outcome Parameters: Measures of motor unit firing in response to peripheral nerve stimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation.


Ages Eligible for Study:   21 Years to 80 Years   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Adult patients with selective corticospinal tract dysfunction

Minimum age 21 years; maximum age 80 years

Moderate severity of weakness (greater than or equal to MRC Grade 4)

Adult normal volunteers


Severe weakness with inability to maintain voluntary contractions

Significant sensory impairment

For TMS studies only: pregnancy, implanted devices such as pacemakers, medication pumps or defibrillators, metal in the cranium except the mouth, intracardiac lines, history of seizures

  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00014976

United States, Maryland
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
  More Information

Publications: Identifier: NCT00014976     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 010148
Study First Received: April 17, 2001
Last Updated: June 30, 2017

Keywords provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):
Pyramidal Tract
Primary Lateral Sclerosis
Spastic Paraparesis
Magnetic Stimulation
Muscle Spasticity
Healthy Volunteer

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Muscle Spasticity
Muscular Diseases
Musculoskeletal Diseases
Muscle Hypertonia
Neuromuscular Manifestations
Neurologic Manifestations
Nervous System Diseases
Signs and Symptoms processed this record on September 21, 2017