Scientific Reports

Exploratory analysis using machine learning of predictive factors for falls in type 2 diabetes

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We aimed to investigate the status of falls and to identify important risk factors for falls in persons with type 2 diabetes (T2D) including the non-elderly. Participants were 316 persons with T2D who were assessed for medical history, laboratory data and physical capabilities during hospitalization and given a questionnaire on falls one year after discharge. Two different statistical models, logistic regression and random forest classifier, were used to identify the important predictors of falls. The response rate to the survey was 72%; of the 226 respondents, there were 129 males and 97 females (median age 62 years). The fall rate during the first year after discharge was 19%. Logistic regression revealed that knee extension strength, fasting C-peptide (F-CPR) level and dorsiflexion strength were independent predictors of falls. The random forest classifier placed grip strength, F-CPR, knee extension strength, dorsiflexion strength and proliferative diabetic retinopathy among the 5 most important variables for falls. Lower extremity muscle weakness, elevated F-CPR levels and reduced grip strength were shown to be important risk factors for falls in T2D. Analysis by random forest can identify new risk factors for falls in addition to logistic regression.