Distal Sensorimotor Neuropathy: Improvements in Diagnosis

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The Review of Diabetic Studies,2016,12,1-2,29-47.
Published:August 2015
Type:Review Article
Author(s) affiliations:

Prashanth R. J. Vas1, Sanjeev Sharma2, and Gerry Rayman2

1Kings College Hospital, London, UNITED KINGDOM.

2Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, Ipswich, UNITED KINGDOM . 


Neurological complications of diabetes are common, affecting up to 50% of people with diabetes. In these patients, diabetic sensorimotor neuropathy (DSPN) is by far the most frequent complication. Detecting DSPN has traditionally been a clinical exercise that is based on signs and symptoms. However, the appearance of morphometric and neurophysiological techniques along with composite scoring systems and new screening tools has induced a paradigm change in the detection and stratification of DSPN and our understanding of its natural history and etiopathogenesis. These newer techniques have provided further evidence that changes in small nerve fiber structure and function precede large fiber changes in diabetes. Although useful, the challenge for the use of these new techniques will be their sensitivity and specificity when widely adopted and ultimately, their ability to demonstrate improvement when pathogenic mechanisms are corrected. Concurrently, we have also witnessed an emergence of simpler screening tools or methods that are mainly aimed at quicker detection of large fiber neuropathy in the outpatient setting. In this review, we have focused on techniques and tools that receive particular attention in the current literature, their use in research and potential use in the clinical environment.