Self-assessment and objective determination of dexterity in patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus.


First published in Current Medical Research and Opinion on 2012 Jan.
Curr Med Res Opin. 2012 Jan;28(1):15-21. doi: 10.1185/03007995.2011.638911.

Authors: Pfützner A, Musholt PB, Schipper C, Niemeyer M, Qvist M, Schorsch A, Forst T



Insulin-treated patients perform complex treatment activities during daily routine, such as blood glucose measurements and insulin injections. We aimed to identify suitable dexterity and cognitive function tests for diabetes patients, and to compare the patient self-assessment of their dexterity skills with the test results (Jebsen-Taylor hand function test, (JHFT), motoric performance test (MLS), number connection test).


We enrolled 90 diabetes patients (36 females, 54 males): 15 type 1 with clinically suspected dexterity impairment (A: age: 60 ± 9 years), 30 type 2 with clinically suspected dexterity impairment (B: 61 ± 10 years), 30 type 1 or type 2 patients with visual impairment (C: 64 ± 6 years), and 15 type 1 or type 2 patients without obvious impairment (control group: D: 64 ± 5 years).


There were no differences regarding neuropathy and slight impairments in the number connection test in all groups. Patient self-assessment revealed that 33.4% in group A, 33.3% in group B, 36.7% in group C and 13.7% in group D, considered themselves to have dexterity impairment. However in the JHFT test, all patients from A (100%) and B (100%), 33% from C, and 0% from D presented with dexterity impairment by only passing less than four subtests.


Impairment of dexterity was much more frequent than believed by the patients themselves. It may be worthwhile to consider these findings when classifying patients regarding their capabilities to perform certain treatments or when assessing diabetes technology with human subjects.

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