The function of the peripheral nervous system was examined in a group of 32 men aged 30-65 (mean 49) with diagnosed solvent induced chronic toxic encephalopathy. The subjects were examined at the time of diagnosis and 26 were re-examined after a follow up period of 22-72 months (mean 40) and compared with a group of 50 unexposed male workers aged 27-64 (mean 42) with appropriate adjustment for age. All subjects were carefully scrutinised for alcohol abuse and other neurological diseases. The results of motor fibre neurography disclosed no difference between the groups. Nevertheless, a significant decrease in motor conduction velocity was found in the patients at follow up. Sensory fibre neurography showed signs of slight axonal degeneration with significantly decreased sensory nerve action potential amplitudes in the median and sural nerves; these amplitudes increased during follow up. The duration of sensory nerve action potentials was longer in the exposed group for the median and the sural nerves. The percentage of late components was significantly higher in the median nerve. The warm-cold sensitivity in the exposed group also indicated a slight sensory dysfunction with statistically significant wider detection limits.
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