Our sense of pain is important for helping us to avoid injury, but imagine feeling pain without a cause. Patients with Sensory Peripheral Neuropathy suffer from tingling, numbness or burning pains, usually in their hands or feet. Symptoms occur when damaged sensory neurons [nerve cells] take incorrect pain messages from the skin to the brain. A skin tissue sample from a neuropathy patient (left) shows the almost complete loss of sensory nerve endings (indicated by green arrows), due to degeneration, in comparison with normal tissue on the right. The most common cause of nerve degeneration is diabetes but in around half of all neuropathy cases the cause is unknown. Current research is seeking causes of neurodegeneration in the hope of informing preventative measures and novel treatments for this debilitating condition.
Written by Mary-Clare Hallsworth
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