The effects of raising body temperature on the visual (VEP) and somatosensory (SEP) evoked potentials were observed in normal subjects and in patients with multiple sclerosis. The amplitude of the VEP was significantly reduced to the same degree after heating in normal subjects and in patients with multiple sclerosis but there was no effect on the latency of the potential. Changes in amplitude could not be related to reduction in acuity. In contrast, the cervical SEP was greatly disorganised after heating in many patients with multiple sclerosis while the only effect in normal subjects was to reduce the latency by increasing peripheral conduction velocity. These results suggest that heat caused conduction block in demyelinated axons in the sensory pathways of the cervical spinal cord.
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