History of Neurology |

An Early Description of Painful Neuropathy in Hittite Tablets

şerefnur Öztürk, MD
Arch Neurol. 2006;63(2):296. doi:10.1001/archneur.63.2.296.
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Neuropathic pain occurs with many illnesses but is particularly typical of diabetic neuropathy. Neuropathy affects approximately one third of diabetic patients, and 11% to 20% of diabetic neuropathies are painful.1

A very early report, likely the first, of possible painful diabetic neuropathy is found in a Hittite tablet dating from approximately 1250 BC. The text recounts a description by Queen Putuhepa of her husband, Hattushili III, who ascended to the throne in 1275 BC. Queen Putuhepa made frequent offerings to the gods and goddesses to restore her husband, who had chronically poor health, and in one record she said, “If my Sun is cured from the fire that burns his feet, I will give a golden cup with a handle of lapis lazuli to Goddess Ningal.”2(p145) The tablets also state that the king could not attend his daughter's wedding because of his burning feet.2

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