This chapter focuses on peripheral neuropathy, which is the third or fourth most common neurologic disorder, even among the elderly. It begins with a description of the classification system for peripheral neuropathies. Because the underlying etiology or precipitating events of peripheral neuropathy are identifiable for the majority of affected individuals, epidemiologic research has largely focused on descriptive studies of disease frequency or on identifying the factors that modify the influence of the already existing risk factors. Three of the most common neuropathies are covered in detail: diabetic neuropathy, carpal tunnel syndrome, and Guillain–Barré syndrome. Each of these conditions is discussed in terms of distribution and risk factors, and is concluded with a discussion of future research directions to address unanswered questions. The chapter emphasizes methodologic approaches that that could be employed to improve the rigor of studies of these conditions.
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