Peripheral neuropathy refers to the conditions that result when nerves that carry messages to/from the brain and spinal cord, from/to the rest of the body are damaged or diseased. There are several different kinds of peripheral neuropathies that range from nerve damage linked with diabetes to carpal tunnel syndrome which is a traumatic injury common after chronic repetitive use of the hands and wrists such as with computer use. According to the study ‘Peripheral Neuropathy (Sensory Neuropathy) Global Clinical Trials Review, H1, 2018’ as a group peripheral neuropathies are common especially among people over the age of 55. Neuropathies are typically classified according to the problems they cause or what is at the root of the damage.
The diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy has many aspects apart from physical tests like blood test and neurological examination. CT or MRI scans can look for herniated disks or tumours. Electromyography records electrical activity in the muscles to detect nerve damage. Today many improvements are being made to the way tests are conducted and diseases are being diagnosed. Take for example the case of diabetic peripheral neuropathy, various tests check the sense perception in the feet but vary in type. Simple tests are those that can be conducted quickly and easily in primary care without laboratory equipment. There are some limitations to these simple tests, an example being the variable amplitude of the 128 Hz tuning fork. A new test, VibraTip, is appearing as a valuable alternative as it omits consistent amplitude and may offer improved diagnostic accuracy.
McCallan Medical Ltd. Is a US based company that manufactures medical and dental equipments. It has been acquired by UK based Bionical Group. Both companies expect to mutually benefit from this acquisition as it will not only increase Bionical’s global reach, support and expertise but McCallan’s established US base and distribution channels which will also enhance and advance Bionical’s foothold in the US.
McCallan Medical, UK has developed the VibraTip which has been specifically designed to overcome the limitations of tuning fork for testing the integrity of vibration sense in clinic and even by the bedside. It provides a vibratory stimulus for the purpose of detecting diabetic peripheral neuropathy in patients with type 1 or 2 diabetes. It has sufficient battery life for several months of routine use and can easily be wiped or cleaned. It is small enough to be concealed in the hand while its silent switch and quiet operations minimize cueing. Even its head has been carefully designed as it is rounded which allows vibration sense to be assessed specifically and rapidly from almost any angle.
Apart from this, researchers are also testing a new non-addictive treatment inspired from a surprising source. This development comes in response to several cases in which doctors were not able to identify the cause of peripheral neuropathy. Currently a new drug is being tested that will tackle neuropathic pain and is inspired from the toxin found in Japanese pufferfish as the drug copies how the fish toxins disrupt signals to the body. As of now it is only known as CC8464. The drug is expected to target only peripheral nerve fibers and not the brain. Researchers say that since the drug bypasses the brain and affects only the peripheral nerves it may not be addictive. The potential new drug is being developed by the New Jersey based company Chromocell. The US FDA has granted the drug ‘fast-track’ status and it is in phase one clinical trials.
Peripheral neuropathic research has led to developments in equipment as well as knowledge base. New devices and drugs are being researched and examined by globally recognized agencies which ensure reliability. Medical developments in this respect are also bringing businesses together with US and UK companies leading the way.
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications