A simple method requiring only an ordinary ECG apparatus and a ruler has shown a hitherto unknown abnormality of the autonomic nervous sysyem in patients with multiple sclerosis. The main findings were that both long-term and short-term variations in heart rate were reduced in patients wirh multiple sclerosis. The reduction was comparable with that observed in other patients with autonomic abnormalities-for example, long-term diabetics-but in addition patients with multiple sclerosis presented unexpected large shifts in pulse rate levels, lasting from a few to 10 or 20 beats.
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