Can sensation return after years of profound loss?

Complications of diabetes

20 million Americans live with diabetes. About 1 in 4 will experience diabetic neuropathy. For millions, their neuropathy progresses to a loss of protective sensation in their feet. The loss of sensation leads to a cascade of falls, injuries, wounds, amputations and early death.

Current interventions may help relieve pain but are not intended to restore loss of sensory or motor functions. There is little expectation that protective sensation can return to nearly normal.

Rarely, energy-based therapies prompt the return of sensation. The surprise of this unexpected event, without recorded data, leads to diminution of its relevance.


Testing the new algorithm

PhotoMed’s team developed its Instant Feedback System™ to make its algorithm more efficient. Testing the algorithm for seemingly disparate disorders yielded unexpected responses and outcomes.

The recordings in this presentation show touch-mapping errors that properly align upon the man’s observations of where he is being touched.

These events are no longer rare. 2 in 3 patients have little or no response. The 1 in 3 who respond are typically startled throughout their entire body. A gasp, flinch, or spontaneous remark confirm that something unexpected happened. Thanks go to William Conard, M.D. the PI of this IRB study in Sacramento, California. Allan Gardiner recorded this data.

How can sensation resume so quickly that the person doesn’t accurately know where they are being touched?


What happened during testing?

George (not his real name) had diabetes for 42 years. He experienced a profound loss of sensation in his feet for 8 - 10 years. He arrived looking at his feet to maintain his balance. He volunteered to learn if PhotoMed’s algorithm might relieve his back pain. George and his wife had not considered the possibility of his regaining sensation in his feet.

During his first visit, his back pain was partially relieved, and therapy was applied only to his left foot. He regained slight awareness of heavy pressure on his left foot.

One week later, George looked at the operator as he walked in. When asked, he reported that he hadn’t noticed much change in his feet. Von Frey monofilament testing found weak sensation at 19+ grams force. While an improvement, this level is not considered “protective” to prevent falls, etc.

Therapy, during his second visit, was applied only to his right foot. George complied with the request to keep his feet still and to NOT look at his feet. The goal was to avoid cross-sensory perception during the testing.

Within 6 minutes of the first treatments, monofilament testing found significant sensation at 5+ grams force. Video clips show the importance of real-time recordings of unexpected events. These may be the first recordings of an event that we hope will become commonplace.

 
 

Demonstration of touch mapping errors upon the restoration of sensation lost to diabetes. (0:37)

 
 

You might be wondering how family members react to the sudden return of sensation that has been sleeping for years. Operators of PhotoMed’s algorithm frequently observe family dynamics through their response, questions, and doubts. The focus on restoring function avoids some of the problems faced by patients when their pain vanishes.

George describes the lack of sensation in his feet and the low expectation of his doctors for its return. His wife bends his toes to confirm that sensation has returned. (1:01)