Author(s): MacKenzie JR, LaBan MM, Sackeyfio AH
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Abstract A prospective, controlled study was conducted to determine the prevalence of peripheral neuropathy (PN) in patients with anorexia nervosa (AN). Fifty-one patients (49 females, 2 males) between the ages of 12 and 47 (means = 22.5) who met the criteria for AN of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition, were randomly selected from an inpatient eating disorders unit during 15 months. Fifty healthy volunteers (41 females, 9 males) between the ages of 17 and 50 (means = 26.5) served as controls. After a neurologic history, all patients were evaluated by physical examination and standardized electrodiagnostic testing. Chi-square contingency testing was used to assess data. Four study group patients (8\%) had electrodiagnostic evidence of a sensorimotor PN compared with none in the control group. This is approaching statistical significance (p = 0.13). Three of four patients with AN for at least ten years were among those with PN. The prevalence of subjective symptoms among the study group (65\%) as compared to the control group (4\%) was of marked significance (p = 5.62 x 10(-10]. In addition, three anorexic patients were found to have an isolated peroneal nerve palsy. We conclude that PN is a notable complication of AN, particularly in long-standing cases. The PN is most likely a product of chronic malnutrition rather than a specific nutrient deficiency. Patients with AN also appear to be at increased risk for developing localized compression neuropathies secondary to subcutaneous tissue loss.
This article was published in Arch Phys Med Rehabil
and referenced in International Journal of Neurorehabilitation