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      The natural history of Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 1A in adults: a 5-year follow-up study.

      Action Potentials, physiology, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Axons, Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, diagnosis, physiopathology, Cohort Studies, Disability Evaluation, Disease Progression, Electrodiagnosis, Electromyography, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Muscle Strength, Muscle Weakness, etiology, Muscle, Skeletal, innervation, Neural Conduction, Peripheral Nerves, Predictive Value of Tests, Severity of Illness Index, Time Factors, Young Adult

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          Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 1A is the most prevalent hereditary demyelinating polyneuropathy. The aim of this study was to investigate the natural history of the disease in adults during a 5-year follow-up and to compare the changes over time with those found in normal ageing. In a cohort of 46 adult Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 1A patients, impairments and physical disability were scored at baseline and at 1, 3 and 5 years. Standardized nerve conduction studies and electromyography were performed at baseline and at 5 years. Twenty-six healthy age- and sex-matched controls were evaluated at baseline and at 5 years. Forty-four of 46 Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 1A patients (range 17-69 years) and 26 controls (range 25-65 years) completed the 5-year follow-up. The decrease in muscle strength and in compound muscle action potential amplitudes was similar for patients and controls alike. However, in contrast to the control group, physical disability increased over time in the patient group. In patients, muscle strength and physical disability after 5 years were closely related to these parameters at baseline. None of the other assessed baseline characteristics, i.e. age, gender, compound muscle action potential amplitude and motor nerve conduction velocity, predicted the extent of deterioration of muscle strength or physical disability. In adult Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 1A patients, the decline in axonal function and in muscle strength may reflect, to a considerable extent, a process of normal ageing. The slow increase in physical disability in adulthood may well be explained by decreased reserves and compensatory mechanisms together with progression of skeletal deformations due to muscle weakness.

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