Journal of the neurological sciences 2016 12 30375() 35-42 pii S0022-510X(16)30860-7
To compare the duration of the cortical silent period (CSP) measured in a hand muscle in subjects with primary Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS/WED) and controls, using four different methods of analysis.
The CSP to transcranial magnetic stimulation of the dominant motor cortex was assessed in the abductor digiti minimi of 33 subjects with RLS/WED and 24 controls. CSP duration was measured by an automated and three visually-guided methods.
There were significant differences between absolute values of CSP duration according to the method of analysis. However, irrespectively of the method used for CSP assessment, no differences were found between measurements performed in subjects with RLS/WED and subjects from the control group.
Absolute values of CSP durations analyzed by different methods should not be directly compared, because significantly different results can be obtained from the same data set.
The CSP assessed from a hand muscle is unlikely to be a biomarker of primary RLS/WED. Our results highlight the importance of standardizing the definition of CSP onset and offset, as well as of describing in detail the methodology chosen to record and measure CSP duration, in order to enable comparisons between studies.