Monday, July 25, 2011

Chaos science: Novel device to detect damage to nerves in diabetic neuropathy

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, July 21: In a major technological breakthrough that could prevent amputation of legs in
diabetics, a city doctor has successfully patented a medical device that helps doctors to monitor and treat
nerve damage or neuropathy in patients.
At present there's no perfect medical device that could tell doctors the quantum of nerve damage (diabetic
neuropathy) in the feet of diabetics.Though glucometers tell the sugar levels in the blood, they do not inform physicians about the damage
diabetes has caused to nerves. It is the damage to the nerves that causes diabetic sores, gangrene, or diabeticfoot, which may ultimately result in amputation.
Senior chronobiologist Dr C Jairaj Kumar, who is currently a visiting faculty in Ludwig-Maximilians
University, Germany, developed the medical device based on "chaos science". Dr Jairaj's technology was
one of the seven indigenous technologies selected by the Central government for presentation before US
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in New Delhi earlier this week.
"As high salt content in water corrodes water pipes, high glucose levels in the blood damage the blood
vessels. The first to be affected are small blood vessels. Medium and large blood vessels are affected
gradually. The damage to small blood vessels impacts the eyes and feet, while damage to medium size
blood vessels hurts kidneys and heart. In case of heart it even causes myocardial infarction. Our device
helps in knowing the extent of damage caused to such nerves. The problem can be treated at initial stages,
preventing amputation in case of diabetic foot, and death in case of heart muscle damage," Dr Jairaj said.
The device works on the concept of chaos science and neuropathy. It measures the progression of diabetic neuropathy and predicts foot ulcer development. "It is a novel concept based on the theory of chaoticmovement of the foci in the sole of the foot," he added.
All that a diabetes patient has to do is to stand on the device for a few minutes. The report is generated
within five minutes. The equipment studies the feet of the patient in detail and identify areas which are
prone to ulcers. It will pinpoint high risk ulcer prone zones in the feet, thus allowing the doctor to take
preventive measures. Nerve damage as less as seven per cent can be found out through this device.
Dr Jairaj said every year about 25 per cent of diabetics develop ulcer-related complications. Of them 50 per
cent become infected and 20 per cent of those require amputation. "Regular screening enables a physician
to assess and benchmark progression of neuropathy, then initiate preventative measures to proactively
prevent formation of foot ulcers, gangrene development or amputation," he said.

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