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January 1985

Abuse and Misuse of Evoked Potentials as a Diagnostic Test

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Clinical Electrophysiology, Department of Neurology, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City.

Arch Neurol. 1985;42(1):78-80. doi:10.1001/archneur.1985.04060010084022

The topic selected for the newly established section on controversies is indeed a very timely one, since the abuse and misuse of evoked potential (EP) testing has become so prevalent during recent years. My overall objection to the indiscriminate clinical application of EP as a diagnostic test must be clearly dissociated from any research effort using it as a tool of electrophysiologic investigation. In fact, such clinical and experimental studies are of vital importance if we are to define its diagnostic value and limitations precisely.1-7 The fundamental function of the nervous system lies in the transmission of impulses that can be directly assessed by EP. Thus, the technique has been and will no doubt continue to be exploited as a powerful means to evaluate the physiology and pathophysiology of the peripheral nervous system and the CNS. This is not the issue under consideration.

Rather, the point in question relates

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