Peripheral Neuropathy in Adolescents and Young Adults With Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes From the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Follow-up Cohort

A pilot study

  1. for the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study Group
  1. 1Department of Neurology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  2. 2Department of Biostatistical Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  3. 3Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  4. 4Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  5. 5Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora, Colorado
  6. 6Sansum Diabetes Research Institute, Santa Barbara, California
  7. 7Division of Diabetes Translation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
  8. 8Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
  9. 9Division of Endocrinology, Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
  10. 10Kuakini Medical Center, University of Hawaii School of Medicine, Honolulu, Hawaii
  1. Corresponding author: Eva L. Feldman, efeldman{at}


OBJECTIVE To estimate the prevalence of and risk factors for diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) in a pilot study among youth participating in the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS DPN was assessed using the Michigan Neuropathy Screening Instrument (MNSI) (examination for foot abnormalities, distal vibration perception, and ankle reflexes). An MNSI exam (MNSIE) score >2 is diagnostic for DPN.

RESULTS The MNSIE was completed in 399 subjects, including 329 youth with type 1 diabetes (mean age 15.7 ± 4.3 years, duration 6.2 ± 0.9 years) and 70 with type 2 diabetes (mean age 21.6 ± 4.1 years, duration 7.6 ± 1.8 years). Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) was similar in both groups (8.8 ± 1.8% for type 1 vs. 8.5 ± 2.9% for type 2). The prevalence of DPN was significantly higher in youth with type 2 compared with those with type 1 diabetes (25.7 vs. 8.2%; P < 0.0001). In unadjusted analyses, diabetes type, older age, longer duration of diabetes, increased waist circumference, elevated blood pressure, lower HDL cholesterol, and presence of microalbuminuria (urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio >30 mg/g) were associated with DPN. The association between diabetes type and DPN remained significant after adjustment for age and sex (odds ratio 2.29 [95% CI 1.05–5.02], P = 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS DPN prevalence among youth with type 2 diabetes approached rates reported in adult populations with diabetes. Our findings suggest not only that youth with diabetes are at risk for DPN but also that many already show measurable signs of DPN.

  • Received May 23, 2013.
  • Accepted July 31, 2013.

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  1. Diabetes Care vol. 36 no. 12 3903-3908
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