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Proximal movements compensate for distal forelimb movement impairments in a reach-to-eat task in Huntington's disease: New insights into motor impairments in a real-world skill

Proximal movements compensate for distal forelimb movement impairments in a reach-to-eat task in Huntington's disease: New insights into motor impairm

Proximal movements compensate for distal forelimb movement impairments in a reach-to-eat task in Huntington's disease: New insights into motor impairments in a real-world skill   (Citations: 1)
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Huntington's disease (HD) causes severe motor impairments that are characterized by chorea, dystonia, and impaired fine motor control. The motor deficits include deficits in the control of the forelimb, but as yet there has been no comprehensive assessment of the impairments in arm, hand and digit movements as they are used in every-day tasks. The present study investigated the reaching of twelve HD subjects and twelve age-matched control subjects on a reach-to-eat task. The subjects were asked to reach for a small food item, with the left or the right hand, and then bring it to the mouth for eating. The task assesses the major features of skilled forelimb use, including orienting to a target, transport of the hand to a target, use of a precision grasp of the target, limb withdrawal to the mouth, and release of the food item into the mouth, and the integration of the movements into a smooth act. The movements were analyzed frame-by-frame by scoring the video record using an established movement element rating scale and by biometric analysis to describe limb trajectory. All HD subjects displayed greater reliance on more proximal movements in reaching. They also displayed overall jerkiness, a significant impairment in end point error correction (i.e. no smooth trajectories), deficits in timing and terminating motion (overshooting the target), impairments in rotation of the hand, abnormalities in grasping, and impairments in releasing the food item to the mouth. Although impairment in the control of the distal segments of the limb was common to all subjects, the intrusion of choreatic movements produced a pattern of highly variable performance between subjects. The quantification of reaching performance as measured by this analysis provides new insights into the impairments of HD subjects, allows an easily administered and inexpensive way to document the many skilled limb movement abnormalities, and relates the impairments to a real-world context. The protocol can serve as a useful clinical tool to evaluate innovative therapeutic interventions in HD such as physiotherapy, drug therapy, or functional neurosurgical procedures.
Journal: Neurobiology of Disease - NEUROBIOL DISEASE , vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 560-569, 2011
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