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LSBU pioneers device to detect the conditions for limb loss for diabetes patients

Every week, over 100 people in the UK lose a limb as a result of complications caused by diabetes, a condition which affects 3.2 million people nationwide
10 September 2014

Researchers at London South Bank University (LSBU) have developed a pioneering piece of equipment which could significantly reduce the risk of ulceration and amputation in diabetes and obesity sufferers and make huge savings for the NHS as a result.

The diagnostic device – called the PerSeNT (Peripheral Sensory Neuropathy Test) - will scan the foot to look at major skin breaches, and through pressure mapping will detect the loss of sensation associated with ulceration. The patient will then simply press a button which will send the results directly to their GP. The device produces objective data which is significantly more accurate than the current subjective test used by GPs. The data once recorded by the device can be sent online to clinicians anywhere in the world.

So preventing travel by patients and accelerating diagnosis.

Researchers hope the device will be rolled out in clinical settings such as GP surgeries, pharmacies and care homes, and reduce the need and cost for trained clinicians to test for 'peripheral neuropathy', the condition that can lead to ulceration and subsequent limb amputation.

Dr Michelle Spruce, former Head of the Allied Sciences Department at LSBU who led the project, said: "With costs of treating diabetes set to reach £17 Billion by 2035, this new piece of equipment - developed in partnership between the Science and Engineering departments at LSBU - could have significant treatment and surgery cost savings for the NHS.

"This extraordinary and much needed diagnostic piece of equipment will offer a community-based solution to a major problem affecting millions of people.

"As a result, clinical assistants will be able to test patients much more regularly and in a more reliable and rigorous manner. Its use in care homes will also eliminate the need for patients to travel to their clinic or GP. The earlier that peripheral neuropathy is diagnosed, the lower the chance of developing serious complications later on. Overall, this affordable piece of equipment will have a dramatic effect on the quality of life and independence of many diabetes and obesity sufferers as well as clear economic benefit to health-providers worldwide."

Learn more about Allied Health Science at LSBU