Neuromuscular Disease Award funded by A. M. Cobden Estate
Investigating the causes of diabetic neuropathy.
Dr Arun Krishnan
Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute
Australia has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world. Diabetes may be complicated by the development of neuropathy, causing symptoms such as weakness and pain in the upper and lower limbs. Diabetic neuropathy leads to considerable disability and high social and economic costs. Despite the advances that have been made in possible treatments, the cause of diabetic neuropathy still remains unclear. Further progress has also been hampered by our inability to detect neuropathy in its early stages. The current study proposes to address these difficulties by assessing whether novel nerve excitability techniques may represent a more sensitive method of detecting diabetic neuropathy. These cutting-edge techniques are non-invasive, well tolerated, and can be applied to patients at the bedside. We will compare the utility of these techniques to those used in routine clinical practice. If nerve excitability techniques prove to be more sensitive than current techniques in the detection of early neuropathy, a significant advance will have been made in our ability to diagnose early neuropathy. Moreover, the insights provided by these novel techniques may allow new treatments and preventative strategies to be trialled in cases of early nerve dysfunction, before irreversible nerve injury has occurred.