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March 1960

Newer Concepts of Myelin Formation Correlated to Functional Changes

AMA Arch Neurol. 1960;2(3):260-265. doi:10.1001/archneur.1960.03840090024003

Introduction  Myelin, the phospholipid surrounding the axon, has been intimately correlated with nervous function and is adversely affected in almost all neurological diseases.Gasser,1 in 1927, described A, B, and C fibers and made mathematical correlations between the diameter of the myelin sheath and conduction velocity. Since then, other neurophysiologists have made similar correlations.* However, specific clinical correlations between demyelinating processes and functional losses have not been forth-coming.It is the purpose of this paper to point out recent observations pertaining to the genesis of myelin, to report some of the more basic correlations between function (conduction) and form (myelin), and to suggest possible clinical applications.

Background  Conduction velocity has been shown to increase during embryonic development,3 and this change has been directly related to the increase in myelin. Most of these reports have concerned the nerve trunks of rather mature animals, where myelination is well under