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The neurology of non-alcoholic pancreatic diabetes mellitus in Nigerians

Journal of the Neurological Sciences
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0022-510x(70)90038-9
  • Medicine


Abstract The diabetic syndrome of chronic pancreatitis represents an example of acquired β-cell insufficiency and hence of insulinopenia in man, and is thus a valuable clinical model for studying the effects of this disorder in human beings. Of 830 Nigerian patients with diabetes mellitus seen at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria, 74 (8.6%) had non-alcoholic pancreatic diabetes mellitus. As in insulinopenic juvenile diabetes mellitus, all the patients with chronic pancreatic diabetes were under-weight. A study of the neuropathy complicating pancreatic diabetes shows that there is no difference in the pattern of the neuropathy when compared with neuropathic complications of diabetes occurring in non-pancreatic diabetes mellitus. Pancreatic diabetes may rarely present primarily with neuropathy or more commonly may show evidence of neuropathy at the time of diagnosis of diabetes mellitus or else it may subsequently develop during the treatment of diabetes. Poor control of diabetes is associated with the development of neuropathy. There is a positive correlation between the duration of diabetes mellitus and neuropathy. Clinical manifestations of diabetic microangiopathy are rare in Nigerian diabetics and rarer still in pancreatic diabetics, although in 2 patients, aged 15 and 17 years respectively, pancreatic diabetes was complicated by diabetic retinopathy; there was no associated neuropathy and albuminuria. Motor nerve conduction velocity is reduced in pancreatic diabetics with neuropathy, and to a lesser extent, in those without neuropathy when compared with normals. It is concluded that the neuropathy of pancreatic diabetes, which is similar to the neuropathic complications of non-pancreatic diabetes, is probably due to a metabolic defect, rather than to a vascular lesion, and that it is conditioned by acquired insulin deficiency.

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