Research & reports

Title: Altered accelerator pedal control in a driving simulator in people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy

Organisation: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date uploaded: 12th June 2019
Date published/launched: May 2019

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This study set out to investigate whether the sensory‐motor impairment attributable to diabetic peripheral neuropathy would affect control of the accelerator pedal during a driving simulator task.

A total of 32 active drivers, 11 with diabetic peripheral neuropathy (mean sd age 675.0 years), 10 with diabetes but no neuropathy (diabetes group; mean sd age 6210 years), and 11 healthy individuals without diabetes (healthy group; mean sd age 6011 years), undertook a test on a dynamometer to assess ankle plantar flexor muscle strength and ankle joint proprioception function of the right leg, in addition to a driving simulator task.

The results showed that participants with diabetic peripheral neuropathy had a lower speed of strength generation (P<0.001), lower maximal ankle plantar flexor muscle strength (P<0.001) and impaired ankle proprioception (P=0.034) compared to healthy participants.

The researchers concluded that muscle function, ankle proprioception and accelerator pedal control are all affected in people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, adversely influencing driving performance, but potential for improvement with targeted practice remains possible.

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