Fifty years of somatosensory research: from the Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments to the Weinstein Enhanced Sensory Test

J Hand Ther. 1993 Jan-Mar;6(1):11-22; discussion 50.


In this paper, the author's long history with somatosensation is overviewed with special emphasis on the creation of objective tests of sensibility. Objective testing is discussed using numerous examples from the author's experiences. The creation of the Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments is discussed. Tests employing the Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments, two-point discrimination, and point localization are discussed with reference to the fact that these tests reflect specific differences between the central and peripheral nervous systems. Towards that end, contrasts are made between the Semmes-Weinstein esthesiometer and both the two-point discrimination and the point-localization tests. A new enhancement of the original Semmes-Weinstein monofilament test, the Weinstein Enhanced Sensory Test (WEST), is introduced. Advantages of the WEST are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory*
  • Hand / innervation*
  • Humans
  • Neurology / instrumentation
  • Neurology / methods*
  • Sensation*