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January 1985

Evoked Responses: Overused, Underused, or Misused?

Author Affiliations

From the EEG and Evoked Potentials Unit, Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

Arch Neurol. 1985;42(1):76-77. doi:10.1001/archneur.1985.04060010082021

Over the last decade, three evoked potential (EP) tests have rapidly blossomed into useful clinical tools. Pattern-shift visual (PSVEP), brain stem auditory (BAEP), and shortlatency somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) are reliable diagnostic tests that yield reproducible results in routine clinical practice. These tests provide an objective measure of function in their related sensory systems and tracts; they have been studied in large groups of normal subjects and in patients with a wide variety of neurologic diseases.1,2 The clinical utility of EPs is based on their ability to demonstrate abnormal sensory system function when the history and/or neurologic examination are equivocal, to demonstrate the presence of clinically unsuspected malfunction in a sensory system when demyelinating disease is suspected because of symptoms and/ or signs in another area of the CNS, to help define the anatomic distribution of a disease process, and to monitor objective changes in a patient's status. Latencies

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