Neuromagnetic correlates of adaptive plasticity across the hand-face border in human primary somatosensory cortex.
Vibration white finger or hand-arm vibration syndrome is the episodic blanching of the fingers in response to cold occurring in those who work with hand held vibrating tools. Clinically the condition differs from primary Raynaud's phenomenon as persistent paraesthesiae and pain are common in the hands and arms and these occur independently from the 'white attacks'. Symptoms can become severe enough to warrant a change of occupation. Industrial compensation may be awarded for vibration white finger but, at present, no simple or reliable objective diagnostic test is available. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is a neuropeptide with powerful vasodilator properties. A deficiency of immunoreactive CGRP nerve fibres has been previously demonstrated in the digital cutaneous microvasculature of patients with primary and secondary Raynaud's phenomenon with the distribution and quantity of other types of nerve fibres not being significantly altered. To determine if the innervation of the cutaneous microvasculature in vibration white finger was also abnormal skin biopsy samples from the fingers of 15 patients with vibration white finger, six healthy age matched controls who worked with vibrating machinery and 26 healthy age matched controls who were heavy manual workers without exposure to vibrating machinery were examined by immunohistochemistry. To try to correlate any histological abnormalities with clinical neurological deficit sensory nerve conduction studies have so far been performed in six patients with vibration white finger.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)