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03/27/2011

Do diabetic eyes foretell amputation risk...?

Australian researchers at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane have come up with a novel idea. 

About half of people with diabetes end up with nerve damage, says a New Scientist article by Wendy Zuckerman

"Diabetes affects peripheral nerves, but (researcher Nathan Efron) suspected that it might also leave a signature in the cornea – the most densely innervated tissue in the body," Zuckerman writes.

According to MayoClinic.com, "diabetes can damage the blood vessels of the retina (diabetic retinopathy), potentially leading to blindness. Diabetes also increases the risk of other serious vision conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma."

Indeed, Efron discovered "the corneas of diabetic people with nerve damage have a lower density of nerve fibres, and nerves are shorter than in healthy controls."

So imagine if your doctor could take an image of your eye and help you gage exactly how severe your nerve damage is. 

Pulse on Health
By Jeff Hansel, member Association of Health Care Journalists
Health Reporter for the Post-Bulletin newspaper, 18 1st Ave. S.E. in Rochester, Minnesota 55904 
Twitter Hansel's Pulse: @Jeff Hansel

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