Background: Peripheral nerve conduction changes caused by malnutrition can be shown clinically and electrophysiologically. They are produced mainly due to deficiency of micro and macronutrients like vitamins, minerals, protein, fat & Carbohydrate Aim : Protein energy malnutrition (PEM) affects the myelination and growth of the nervous system. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of PEM on peripheral nerve conduction in children. Materials & Methods: Study group includes 40 malnourished children of 5 – 10 years of age from Raja Mirasudar Hospital, Thanjavur based on Indian Academy of Paediatrics & WHO classification for malnutrition. Control group consists of 40 normal children of same age group. Nerve conduction study for median nerve was performed using eight channel digital polygraph. Nerve conduction velocity was evaluated. Results were analysed statistically using unpaired student ‘t’ test. Results : Nerve conduction study (NCS) showed reduced motor and sensory nerve conduction velocity ( p < 0.05 ) in children with Grade III malnutrition. Children with Grade I, II malnutrition showed reduced sensory nerve conduction velocity ( p < 0.05 ). Conclusion: The present study shows significant reduction in nerve conducion velocity in children with malnutrition which may be due to nutritional deficiency affecting myelination of peripheral nerves which depends on duration and severity of malnutrition. So nerve conduction study can be used to detect malnutrition at its early stage.
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