Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions the world over, with India being touted as the "Diabetes Capital of the World". Amongst the many serious diseases that diabetics can be affected with, diabetic neuropathy is also one. Neuropathy is the deterioration of nerves in the body. A diabetic patient with neuropathy has a 15 percent chance of undergoing one or more amputations. It has been found that more than half of all patients with diabetes will develop neuropathy.
A study by researchers at the University of California at San Diego shows that proteins that are essential for normal nervous system development may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy. Their research has shown a connection between the sonic hedgehog protein, a human protein named after a video-game character, and diabetic neuropathy. Researchers say the hedgehog pathway may play a role in the maturing of the nervous system. They found treating diabetic rats with sonic hedgehog protein fully restored their motor and sensory nerves.
A researcher from the University of Michigan, in an accompanying commentary said that this study indicated that restoration of hedgehog activity could be beneficial to those diabetics with neuropathy. She concluded that a combination therapy of hedgehog protein with antioxidants could provide the first effective treatment for diabetic neuropathy.