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LSUHSC's England leads development of new testing guidelines for common nerve disorder
Date:12/3/2008

John D. England, MD, Professor and Chairman of Neurology at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Medicine, is the principal investigator of two studies recommending new testing guidelines for neuropathy a common degenerative nerve disorder that to this time had few evidence-based standards for evaluation and management. The studies, published in two separate papers in the December 3, 2008 online issue of Neurology, resulted in recommendations about who should be tested, when, and how. The researchers found that a combination of certain screening laboratory blood tests and other specialized testing, including autonomic, genetic, as well as skin biopsies, yielded definitive information for certain forms of the disorder, while nerve biopsies may not be as useful in certain cases.

"There are many people with a neuropathy who have been walking around for years without having been diagnosed and treated," said guidelines lead author John D. England, MD, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurology at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Medicine and Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. "Both neurologists and people with neuropathy need to know that the appropriate choice of tests is critical to accurate diagnosis."

Neuropathy is a disorder of the peripheral nervous system. More than a hundred types have been identified. It may be genetic or acquired, and different nerves can be involved producing different symptoms and levels of damage. According to the National Institutes of Health, in the most common forms of polyneuropathy (multiple nerve involvement), the nerve fibers (individual cells that make up the nerve) most distant from the brain and the spinal cord malfunction first. Pain and other symptoms often appear symmetrically, for example, in both feet followed by a gradual progression up both legs. Next, the fingers, hands, and arms may become affected, and symptoms can progress i
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Contact: Leslie Capo
lcapo@lsuhsc.edu
504-452-9166
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center
Source:Eurekalert

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