MRI Scans Show Early CNS Changes in Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

Article excerpt

NEW ORLEANS -- Patients with diabetes who develop peripheral neuropathy experience early central nervous system changes that can be detected rapidly and noninvasively, according to a study presented at annual scientific sessions of the American Diabetes Association.

Most research on diabetic neuropathy has focused on peripheral effects. But a pilot study showed that diabetic patients with established distal symmetrical polyneuropathy (DSP) had smaller cross-sectional cervical spinal cord areas than did diabetic patients without DSP.

In an attempt to confirm those preliminary findings. Dr. Dinesh Selvarajah and his colleagues conducted a study of 47 randomly selected men with type 1 diabetes. The goal was to determine if the CNS changes occur early enough for intervention to make a difference.

The extent of DSP, if any, was assessed by using a detailed neurologic evaluation. A total of 11 patients had no DSP, 12 patients had subclinical DSP, and 24 patients had established DSP.

The researchers then conducted MRI scans to measure the cervical spine disk space at C2/C3. "We found spinal cord involvement early on, with a significant difference in cord area versus normal diabetics," said Dr. …