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Observations on the reflex effects seen in Parkinson's disease on terminating a period of tendon vibration.
  1. P B Matthews,
  2. F W Cody,
  3. H C Richardson,
  4. N MacDermott
  1. Department of Neurology, Manchester Royal Infirmary, United Kingdom.


    Vibration was applied to the tendon of flexor carpi radialis while recording the EMG of the wrist flexors in 29 Parkinsonian patients. Cessation of the vibration led to a small short-latency (approximately 25 ms) reduction in the level of activity which did not differ in magnitude from the normal. Moreover, there was no sign of any subsequent long-latency reduction of activity. Thus the maintained tonic activity of Parkinsonian muscles seems unlikely to be due to an enhancement of the tonic reflex actions of the Ia afferents, especially via the short-latency pathway. In addition, the findings argue against reduction of either Ia or Ib firing being responsible for the delayed excitatory "Westphal" (or "shortening") response that may occur in parkinsonism on allowing a muscle to shorten; this was never found on terminating vibration, even when present on muscle release.

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