Linking Sensory and Motor Abilities in Diabetes

Linking Sensory and Motor Abilities in Diabetes

For people to adequately process and respond to sensory inputs, their brains must efficiently integrate sensory information from different sources. Older adults with diabetes often experience sensory and motor impairments that affect quality of life, but the link between sensorimotor function and diabetes severity has not been well studied.

In a paper published online on February 25 in Brain Sciences, Jeannette R. Mahoney, Ph.D., and colleagues investigated whether the ability of people with diabetes to integrate multisensory information was associated with motor abilities including gait and balance. Participants with and without diabetes were given tasks combining visual and somatosensory stimulation and asked to respond to all events as quickly as possible. Individuals with severe diabetes showed reduced multisensory integration abilities and worse motor outcomes compared with people with less-severe diabetes or no diabetes.

The findings suggest that assessing how well individuals with diabetes integrate multisensory information could predict their risk for falling and help physicians develop strategies to prevent injury. Dr. Mahoney is an assistant professor in the Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology at Einstein.

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