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Foundation Announces Commitment to UT Neuropathy Research


The newly established Neuropathy Research Foundation and UTHSC announced a long-term commitment to fund research and establish a lab devoted to studying peripheral neuropathy.

The newly established Neuropathy Research Foundation and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center announced a long-term commitment to fund research and establish a lab devoted to studying peripheral neuropathy.

Headquartered in Memphis, the foundation’s mission is to support vital research that will, hopefully, lead to a cure for this disease, which affects more than 20 million people in the United States. The foundation’s initial contribution will be $300,000 over a period of three years.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, peripheral neuropathy describes damage to the peripheral nerves, the vast communications network that transmits information from the brain and spinal cord to every other part of the body. It may be caused by diseases of the nerves or as the result of systemic illnesses. There are more than 100 types of peripheral neuropathy, each with its own set of symptoms, pattern of development and prognosis.

The foundation’s founder and president of Olympic Optical Company, Winston Wolfe, suffers from peripheral neuropathy. He commented, “We are committed to and passionate about finding a cure for this debilitating and often crippling disease. UT clinician, researcher and foundation board member, Dr. Daniel Menkes, already specializes in working with peripheral neuropathy patients. By providing these funds, Dr. Menkes will have the opportunity to employ additional staff solely committed to exploring the causes of this crippling disease, as well as a potential cure.”

Dr. Menkes stated, “Peripheral neuropathy is often misdiagnosed because it is difficult to identify. This funding will go a long way in providing the resources necessary for us to research this disease and how it attacks the nervous system. In doing so, we hope to begin finding a cure.”

“Often known as a silent disease, symptoms can develop suddenly or slowly over a period of years. These can include numbness or tingling in the nerve endings of the feet or hands and pain in the arms, hands, legs and/or feet,” Dr. Menkes said.

Dean of the UT College of Medicine, Henry G. Herrod, MD, commented, “We are so pleased that Mr. Wolfe had enough confidence in our team of researchers to make this type of commitment. Certainly, this is the first step in establishing an expanded research program devoted to peripheral neuropathy.”

The lab, which was officially dedicated this morning, will be known as the “Winston Wolfe Peripheral Neuropathy Research Laboratory.”

Individuals may learn more about the disease by going to: www.neuropathyresearch.org or calling 888-400-0059.