We’re looking forward to presenting “Detecting Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy Utilizing Thermoregulation of the Plantar Foot” at the upcoming 82nd Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association.
Our research aims to detect thermal (infrared) biomarkers of diabetic peripheral neuropathy on the feet of diabetic subjects who have not been diagnosed with DPN. By analyzing the regulation of blood flow by nerves in the feet of people diagnosed with diabetes, we can identify those who are predisposed to foot ulcers and further complications, such as amputation.
Identifying Biomarkers of DPN
In our clinical study of the thermoregulation of microvascular processes of the plantar foot, we included 100 subjects with diabetes, aged 25 to 76. These subjects underwent a complete clinical exam and nerve conduction study (the reference standard for neuropathy).
Our thermal imaging process followed a standard procedure: cooling the plantar foot, followed by video imaging of the plantar surface during re-warming. We also examined several thermal biomarkers on seven standard regions of the plantar foot, including initial temperature, temperature after cold provocation, and recovery temperatures.
After cooling, a normal subject’s foot registered 16°C, which increased by 6°C to 8°C after 400 seconds. For the subject with neuropathy, the temperature after cooling dropped only to 18°C and recovered 2°C to 4°C. We measured these temperature changes in the predetermined areas of the foot and detected DPN with 85% sensitivity and 70% specificity.
Improving Health Outcomes
We believe that this quantitative analysis of the thermoregulation of the foot provides a new and noninvasive method of assessing DPN in patients with diabetes. Identifying these at-risk patients in earlier stages of disease progression may prevent the lower extremity amputations that often result from DPN and improve health outcomes for the millions of people now living with diabetes.