Biomarkers Could Warn of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

They might be used to spot repetitive stress disorders before the pain starts

WEDNESDAY, March 14, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. researchers say they've spotted biomarkers that herald carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress injuries.

This is the first time that such biomarkers (different kinds of chemicals) have been identified in humans, and the finding could someday lead to early detection and prevention of carpel tunnel, tendonitis and other related conditions, says a team from Temple University in Philadelphia.

"While not a diagnostic test, because the biomarkers could also indicate another type of injury, they do provide a red flag where before there was none," Ann Barr, an associate professor of physical therapy at Temple's College of Health Professions, said in a prepared statement.

Her team analyzed blood samples from 22 people and found the body's immune system pumps out these biomarkers as the body begins to suffer damage due to repetitive stress.

Currently, health providers have to rely on physical examinations and symptoms reported by the patient in order to diagnose repetitive motion injuries. But most people with these types of injuries don't suffer symptoms of pain until the damage has already started, the Temple researchers noted. Finding a way to detect the problem in the early stages could help prevent long-term damage and disability.

The study is published in the March issue of Clinical Science.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about repetitive motion disorders.

SOURCE: Temple University, news release, March 6, 2007
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