The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) is a multicenter randomized clinical trial studying the effect of intensive insulin therapy on the early vascular and neurological complications of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). During the feasibility phase of the DCCT, baseline neurological histories, physical examinations, and laboratory measurements of somatic and autonomic nerve function were obtained in 278 well-characterized IDDM subjects. Subjects were free of advanced complications, including the presence of peripheral or autonomic neuropathy sufficiently severe to require treatment. Analyses of the cross-sectional data reveal that clinically detectable peripheral neuropathy was present in 39% of the subjects. The presence of clinical neuropathy correlated with greater age, longer duration of IDDM, and male gender. The somatic and autonomic test results confirm the relationship between age, diabetes duration, and male gender and diabetic neuropathy. These results support an effect of age and gender on the development of diabetic complications.

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