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Subclinical diabetic polyneuropathy: early detection of involvement of different nerve fibre types.
  1. P H Hendriksen,
  2. P L Oey,
  3. G H Wieneke,
  4. B Bravenboer,
  5. A C van Huffelen
  1. Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, University Hospital Utrecht, The Netherlands.


    Nerve conduction studies, tests of autonomic function and terminal nerve branches, and soleus muscle H reflexes were applied to 60 patients with insulin dependent diabetes mellitus who had no clinical symptoms but abnormal vibratory or temperature perception thresholds indicating subclinical neuropathy. In most patients neurophysiological examination yielded a broad spectrum of neural dysfunction. The perception threshold for cold stimuli was sometimes selectively impaired and abnormal pupillometry results were common, suggesting that small fibres are vulnerable in the early stage of diabetic neuropathy. The arms were less frequently and less severely affected than the legs, an effect that may be related to nerve length. The neurophysiological test results did not change in 30 patients followed up for one year.

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