Symptomatology of Peripheral Neuropathy in an African LanguageReport as inadecuate




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The terminology used to describe neuropathic pain appears to be conserved across languages, which facilitates the translation of validated neuropathic pain screening tools into other languages. However, this assumption has not been assessed in an African language. Therefore we investigated the terminology used by 54 patients whose native language was isiZulu, a major Bantu language of Africa, when describing their symptomatic HIV-associated sensory neuropathy. Also, because English is a commonly spoken second-language in the region, we assessed these patients’ knowledge and understanding of 21 English terms commonly used to describe neuropathic pain. English translations of the most commonly used isiZulu symptom descriptors included: -hot-burning- 50% -cramping- 35% -painful-sore-aching- 32% -itching- 22% -numb- 22% -cold-freezing- 17%, and -stabbing-pricking-pins-and-needles- 13%. Thus, the isiZulu terminology to describe neuropathic pain was very similar to that used in non-African languages. However, knowledge and understanding of English neuropathic pain descriptors by these non-native English speakers was highly variable. For example, knowledge of English terms ranged from>98% -hot- -cold-freezing- -cramping- to <25% -pricking- -radiating- -throbbing-, and true understanding of English terms ranged from>90% -hot- -burning- -cramping- to <35% -tingling- -jumping- -shooting- -radiating-. In conclusion, we show significant similarity in the terms used to describe neuropathic pain in isiZulu compared to non-African languages, thus indicating that translation of existing neuropathic pain screening tools into this, and possibly other Bantu languages, is a viable option. However, the usefulness of English-language screening tools in this non-native English speaking population may be limited.



Author: Asma Shaikh, Alison Bentley, Peter R. Kamerman

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/



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