Neurometrix NC-stat, a New Nerve Conduction Test, a Moneymaker, Divides Doctors

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Neurometrix's new nerve-testing system, called the NC-stat, is used to diagnose peripheral neuropathy in cases such as CTS carpal tunnel syndrome, and came under fire today with a New York Times expose on the marketing schemes promoted to the family physicians who make a tidy $250 from this 15 minute test.

Although their marketing practices do sound shady, I'm more interested in knowing if their test performs as well as the gold standard for diagnosing peripheral neuropathy - sensory nerve conduction study (NCS). It's not clear to me from reviewing the evidence posted at their website, how well it performs in this regard. From the NYT article, a surgeon receiving referrals for CTS was wary of the diagnoses and referred the patients to neurologists. This is only one physician's opinion, and I find it curious that he'd refer to a neurologist rather than simply ordering the EMG himself. It's probably because surgeons like to operate, focusing on that rather than the diagnostic process.

If it acutally works, the device sounds like a painless alternative to the sometimes uncomfortable sensory nerve conduction study (NCS) gold standard. For not, I'd trust sensory nerve conduction study (NCS) for my diagnoses of peripheral neuropathy until larger studies show validity to the company's claims. I'll forgo the potential income, as most physicians would, until the evidence shows it's accurate.

Others reporting: TailRank, KevinMD, Mcarthur Web.

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About the Author


MD, FACP, FASN

Dr. Schwimmer's blog explores the intersection of medicine, new technologies, and the Internet.

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