Quantitative Assessment of Arm Tremor in People with Neurological Disorders
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Abnormal oscillatory movement (i.e. tremor) is usually evaluated with qualitative assessment by clinicians, and quantified with subjective scoring methods. These methods are often inaccurate. We utilized a quantitative and standardized task based on the Fitts' law to assess the performance of arm movement with tremor by controlling a gyration mouse on a computer. The experiment included the center-out tapping (COT) and rectangular track navigation (RTN) tasks. We report the results of a pilot study in which we collected the performance for healthy participants in whom tremor was simulated by imposing oscillatory movements to the arm with a vibration motor. We compared their movement speed and accuracy with and without the artificial "tremor." We found that the artificial tremor significantly affected the path efficiency for both tasks (COT: 56.8 vs. 46.2%, p <; 0.05; RTN: 94.2 vs. 67.4%, p <; 0.05), and we were able to distinguish the presence of tremor. From this result, we expect to quantify severity of tremor and the effectiveness therapy for tremor patients.
author list (cited authors)
Kim, J., Parnell, C., Wichmann, T., & DeWeerth, S. P.