In the long term after stroke, secondary functional deterioration may be observed while patients also get older. Possible underlying mechanisms are largely unknown. We aimed to assess neuromuscular degeneration represented by alterations in peripheral reflex loop characteristics as a function of follow-up time after stroke, controlled for age. Twenty-one stroke survivors within a small age range (62-67. years) but large variance in follow-up time after stroke (1-15. years) and both five age matched (59-62. years) and young subjects (28-36. years) participated. Short and long latency reflexes evoked by ramp and hold stretches were identified from EMG traces of the m. flexor carpi radialis. Short latency reflex onset time was not enhanced (mean difference 1.6. ms compared to age matched controls) and did not relate to follow-up time after stroke (p= 0.81). Young controls showed significantly lower reflex delay times (mean difference 7.2. ms with respect to older subjects, p= 0.009).No evidence was found for peripheral neuromuscular deterioration as a function of follow up time after stroke. Functional deterioration as a result of ageing of stroke patients that may interact with post stroke follow-up time is of further interest.
- Spinal reflexes