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Study into causes of diabetic neuropathy underway

Scientists in Yorkshire have launched a ground-breaking study to find the cause of diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage).
Diabetic neuropathy is long-term damage to the nerve fibres that occurs as a result of prolonged, high blood glucose levels, although exactly how this causes nerve damage is not fully understood.
The damaged nerves can cause the development of infections and foot ulcers, which left untreated can lead to amputation. In fact it is estimated that just two thirds of diabetic neuropathy patients get 50 per cent pain relief, with many enduring foot deformities, ulceration and numbness in their feet.
To find out the mechanisms behind the neuropathy-diabetes connectio, experts from the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield and Sheffield University are conducting a trial that will involve using a scanning technique to look at the brain.
“Despite intensive research, the exact cause of this damage is unclear. If differences in blood flow in the brain are found, we will be able to gain a better understanding of how the processing of pain signals is altered by diabetes,” Marni Greig, clinical research fellow at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, explained.
She added that the trial “may ultimately lead to better treatments, which could alleviate the problem”.
The research is being supported by a £385,000 grant from the European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes .

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