Neurology, Neurophysiology and Neuroscience, 2006, 1–12p. (2006) DOI:10.1017/S0030605306000305

Deterministic recurrences of sequential F-wave latencies

M. A. Fisher, J. Chawla, C. L. Webber, Jr.

Purpose: Historically, F-waves have been classified by various linear descriptors like persistence, latency, duration, amplitude, chrono-dispersion and number of repeater waves. But because physiological signals are notoriously nonlinear in nature, the objective of this study was to apply modern nonlinear methodology to F-waves sequences to assess the presence of underlying deterministic structures. Subtle changes in these sensitive markers could give early warnings for neurological problems. Methods: F-waves were elicited in the left abductor pollicis breivs muscle by supra-maximally stimulating the median nerve percutaneously at the wrist. Approximately 200 stimuli were applied (0.5 Hz) to three subjects for at least four trials each. F-wave latencies were measured and assembled into sequences in proper order. Recurrence quantification analysis (RQA) was applied to these F-wave sequences from different dimensional perspectives. Controls were constructed by randomly shuffling the ordered sequences. RQA has a theoretical mathematical foundation and practical performance record on numerous other physiological systems. Results: Recurrence analysis showed that sequential F-waves form recurrent patterns with parallel trajectories with deterministic and laminated structures. These features could be destroyed by randomizing the sequential orders of F-waves, upholding the hypothesis that sequences of F-waves are deterministically formed from underlying physiological rules. Conclusions: F-wave time series are fully amenable to recurrence analysis which provides a higher- dimensional perspective on the physiological dynamic. The recurrent patterns are complex, but not random, meaning that physiological rules dominate the sequence of F-waves. Disease processes within the central or peripheral nervous system may alter F-wave patterns. If so, RQA potentially may be a diagnostic tool to help discern subtleties between altered deterministic rules operating in disease'.

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