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Revising two-point discrimination assessment in normal aging and in patients with polyneuropathies
  1. S I van Nes1,
  2. C G Faber2,
  3. R M T P Hamers2,
  4. O Harschnitz2,
  5. M Bakkers2,
  6. M C E Hermans2,
  7. R J Meijer3,
  8. P A van Doorn1,
  9. I S J Merkies1,2,3,
  10. on behalf of the PeriNomS Study Group
  1. 1
    Department of Neurology, Erasmus Medical Centre Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2
    Department of Neurology, University Hospital Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  3. 3
    Department of Neurology, Spaarne Hospital, Hoofddorp, The Netherlands
  1. S I van Nes, Department of Neurology, Erasmus Medical Centre Rotterdam, PO Box 2040, 3000 CA, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; s.vannes{at}


Objectives: To revise the static and dynamic normative values for the two-point discrimination test and to examine its applicability and validity in patients with a polyneuropathy.

Methods: Two-point discrimination threshold values were assessed in 427 healthy controls and 99 patients mildly affected by a polyneuropathy. The controls were divided into seven age groups ranging from 20–29, 30–39,…, up to 80 years and older; each group consisted of at least 30 men and 30 women. Two-point discrimination examination took place under standardised conditions on the index finger. Correlation studies were performed between the scores obtained and the values derived from the Weinstein Enhanced Sensory Test (WEST) and the arm grade of the Overall Disability SumScore (ODSS) in the patients’ group (validity studies). Finally, the sensitivity to detect patients mildly affected by a polyneuropathy was evaluated for static and dynamic assessments.

Results: There was a significant age-dependent increase in the two-point discrimination values. No significant gender difference was found. The dynamic threshold values were lower than the static scores. The two-point discrimination values obtained correlated significantly with the arm grade of the ODSS (static values: r = 0.33, p = 0.04; dynamic values: r = 0.37, p = 0.02) and the scores of the WEST in patients (static values: r = 0.58, p = 0.0001; dynamic values: r = 0.55, p = 0.0002). The sensitivity for the static and dynamic threshold values was 28% and 33%, respectively.

Conclusion: This study provides age-related normative two-point discrimination threshold values using a two-point discriminator (an aesthesiometer). This easily applicable instrument could be used as part of a more extensive neurological sensory evaluation.

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  • Additional figures 1 and 2 are published online only at

  • Funding: No sponsors.

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethics approval: Ethics approval was obtained from the medical ethics committe of the University of Maastricht.

  • Patient consent: Informed consent was obtained for publication of the details described in this report.

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