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Keywords:

  • Biothesiometry;
  • Vibration perception threshold;
  • Type 1 diabetes;
  • Children

The vibration perception threshold (VPT) was investigated by biothesiometry in 61 children (28 boys) with Type 1 diabetes, mean age 15.5 (range 10–21) years, duration of diabetes 6.9 (range 1–19) years, and in 76 healthy children (39 males), mean age 13.8 (range 10–19) years. The measurements were performed in triplicate on the right second finger and on the right first toe. The vibration perception threshold was significantly increased (p < 0.0001) in the young diabetic patients (mean ± SD, finger 4.1 ± 1.1 V, toe: 5.7 ± 1.3 V) compared to healthy children (finger 3.4 ± 0.9 V, toe: 3.6 ± 1.3 V). Twenty percent of adolescents with Type 1 diabetes had a VPT above the 95th percentiles (finger: 5 V, toe 6.5 V) for normal control children. In healthy controls a significant correlation (r = 0.27, p < 0.01) was found for VPT in finger versus toe. This relationship was not significant in the diabetic group and may be due to reduced sensitivity of the fingertips caused by frequent blood glucose testing. Age, Tanner stage and height were significantly correlated to VPT (toe) in both diabetic and normal boys, while duration of diabetes, HbA1c, arterial blood-pressure and body mass index were not significantly associated with VPT in any of the groups. The results indicate that changes in VPT appears early in childhood and emphasize a need for further studies of subclinical neuropathy in young patients with Type 1 diabetes.