Early Involvement of Central Nervous System in Type I Diabetic Patients

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OBJECTIVETo investigate whether the asymptomatic involvement of the central and peripheral nervous systems may be an early complication of diabetes.RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODSWe studied early impairment of the central and peripheral nervous system pathways in 15 type I diabetic patients with good metabolic control and short disease duration and in 10 healthy control subjects using a set of neurophysiological tests.RESULTSResults in diabetic subjects showed 1) impairment of motor (7%) and somatosensory (13%) pathways of the central nervous system, 2) impairment of motor and sensory conduction velocities (40-60%), and 3) normal values of the vibration perception threshold and cardiovascular autonomic tests.CONCLUSIONSThe damage is more evident in peripheral sites where hyperglycemia and aldose reductase pathways are more active. Instead, several episodes of hypoglycemia, which occur in type I diabetic patients in good metabolic control, may cause alterations of brain nervous cells.

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