About 30 percent of neuropathy cases are labeled idiopathic, meaning that the cause is unknown. These idiopathic cases are probably caused by a complex interaction of systemic genetic (hereditary) and environmental (metabolic) factors.
A recent study published in the Annals of Neurology has identified a single gene that may be responsible for the pain suffered by many of the people with neuropathy labeled idiopathic.
The authors of the study, out of the Yale Veterans Affairs Medical Center, recruited twenty-eight Dutch patients who were screened for any possible known causes of the disorder. Genetic analysis revealed that eight of these men had mutations in the SCN9A gene, which, the study notes, has been associated with other pain-causing disorders.
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