Immune Globuin (IVIG)
DDF uses its funds to support outstanding research in areas focused on dysimmune diseases. Currently, the focus is on the promising uses of IVIG for treatment of Neurological Disorders, Dermatological Diseases and Rheumatologic Disorders. The research funding is targeted at special aspects of each disease. Below is information on some of the diseases that the DDF is currently exploring.
Small Fiber Neuropathy
Small fiber neuropathy is a condition characterized by severe pain attacks that typically begin in the feet or hands. As a person ages, the pain attacks can affect other regions. Some people initially experience a more generalized, whole-body pain. The attacks usually consist of pain described as stabbing or burning, or abnormal skin sensations such as tingling or itchiness. In some individuals, the pain is more severe during times of rest or at night. The signs and symptoms of small fiber neuropathy usually begin in adolescence to mid-adulthood.
Individuals with small fiber neuropathy cannot feel pain that is concentrated in a very small area, such as the prick of a pin. However, they have an increased sensitivity to pain in general (hyperalgesia) and experience pain from stimulation that typically does not cause pain (hypoesthesia). People affected with this condition may also have a reduced ability to differentiate between hot and cold. However, in some individuals, the pain attacks are provoked by cold or warm triggers.
Some affected individuals have urinary or bowel problems, episodes of rapid heartbeat (palpitations), dry eyes or mouth, or abnormal sweating. They can also experience a sharp drop in blood pressure upon standing (orthostatic hypotension), which can cause dizziness, blurred vision, or fainting. Small fiber neuropathy is considered a form of peripheral neuropathy because it affects the peripheral nervous system, which connects the brain and spinal cord to muscles and to cells that detect sensations such as touch, smell, and pain.
Diabetic neuropathy is a peripheral nerve disorder caused by diabetes or poor blood sugar control. The most common types of diabetic neuropathy result in problems with sensation in the feet. It can develop slowly after many years of diabetes or may occur early in the disease. The symptoms are numbness, pain, or tingling in the feet or lower legs. The pain can be intense and require treatment to relieve the discomfort. The loss of sensation in the feet may also increase the possibility that foot injuries will go unnoticed and develop into ulcers or lesions that become infected. In some cases, diabetic neuropathy can be associated with difficulty walking and some weakness in the foot muscles.
There are other types of diabetic-related neuropathies that affect specific parts of the body. For example, diabetic amyotrophy causes pain, weakness and wasting of the thigh muscles, or cranial nerve infarcts that may result in double vision, a drooping eyelid, or dizziness. Diabetes can also affect the autonomic nerves that control blood pressure, the digestive tract, bladder function, and sexual organs. Problems with the autonomic nerves may cause lightheadedness, indigestion, diarrhea or constipation, difficulty with bladder control, and impotence.