Clinical tests of thermal sensation are poorly quantified and not strictly modality specific. Previous automated thermal testing systems have had limited usefulness with high intra-and inter-individual variability. This paper describes an automated thermal system (Glasgow system) which is an extensive modification of previous techniques to answer these criticisms. It comprises a microprocessor-driven Peltier element and utilises the forced choice method of psychophysical analysis to determine the thresholds to thermal stimulation. In a control group of 106 healthy subjects the mean heat threshold for the wrist was found to be 0.23 degree C (SD = 0.06 degree C) and the mean cold threshold 0.15 degree C (SD = 0.05 degree C). Repeated determinations showed a maximum of 5% intra-individual variation in comparison to previously reported values of up to 150%.
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