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Science News: Polyneuropathy Relates to Impairment in Daily Activities, Worse Gait, and Fall-Related Injuries

12/18/2017
 
Submitted by David B. Rosenfield, MD, News Science Editorial Board
Edited by Niranjan N. Singh, MD, News Science Editorial Board
 
Hanewinckel R, Drenthen J, Verlinden VJA, et al. Polyneuropathy relates to impairment in daily activities, worse gait, and fall-related injuries. Neurology 2017: 89:76-83.
 
The ability to walk and perform daily activities obviously is very important. Disability in activities of daily living or ADL (ADL referring to activities such as dressing, grooming/hygiene, arising, eating, walking, gripping, reaching, etc.) and associated “Instrumental” ADL or IADL (IADL referring to activities such as shopping, meal preparation, laundry, housekeeping, traveling alone, telephone use, etc.) can severely compromise one’s ability to function independently in society and lead to institutionalization and decreased quality of life.

The authors studied 1,445 participants in a population-based Rotterdam Study (mean age 71 years; 46% male; 54% women) and addressed physically-based ADL and cognitively-based IADL. They demonstrated that patients with definite polyneuropathy not only had increased difficulty performing ADLs but also the cognitively, more challenging IADLs, especially housekeeping, traveling, and shopping.  Further, these patients were two times more likely to fall and three times more likely to develop an injury.

Comment: In this population-based study, the authors highlight that a compromised peripheral nervous system impacts areas of activity that extend beyond the pure physical realm – it can impact more cognitive activities and cause patients to fall, highlighting the importance of diagnosing and treating these patients.


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