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Handedness, insulin sensitivity and pancreatic B-cell function in Type 2 diabetes


Michel P. Hermans, MD, PhD, Université catholique de Louvain, Division of Endocrinology and Nutrition, avenue Hippocrate UCL 54.74, B-1200 Brussels, Belgium. E-mail:


Background  Laterality is associated with various health conditions. No study has addressed the influence of handedness on Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) phenotype, including glucose homeostasis, glucose-lowering therapies and metabolic control.

Methods  Five hundred and seventy-six consecutive adult T2DM outpatients underwent homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) of pancreatic B-cell function (B), insulin sensitivity (S), hyperbolic product (B × S) and age-standardized B × S deficit. Right-handed patients (87.5%; RH; = 504) had similar age, gender, diabetes duration and education than non-right-handed patients (12.5%; non-RH; = 72).

Results  Non-RH were more insulin-sensitive: 66% (39%) vs. 52% (36%) [mean (1 sd); P = 0.0024] and had significantly higher B × S and lower age-adjusted B × S deficit: 35% (20%) vs. 26% (17%) and 1.08% (0.40%) vs. 1.32% (0.55%)/year (non-RH; P = 0.0005 and P < 0.0001, respectively).

Conclusions  Non-right-handed T2DM patients are more insulin-sensitive, have higher hyperbolic product and less age-standardized B × S deficit. These may modulate glucose-lowering therapy requirements and glycaemic control.