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Grip force abnormalities in de novo Parkinson's disease



In recent years it has been shown that a variety of movement disorders are associated with abnormalities of the fine motor control of the hand. In Parkinson's disease (PD), these changes consist of a slowing of the rate of grip force development and the use of abnormally large grip forces both during lifting and static holding of an object. It has been suggested, however, that these changes are a direct effect of the patient's levodopa medication or associated with levodopa induced dyskinesias. Accordingly, we examined the performance of de novo Parkinson patients in a precision lifting task. All patients (n = 6) were newly diagnosed and showed rigidity, bradykinesia, or both, but were unaffected by tremor or dyskinesia. None of the patients had received antiparkinson medication. Grip force was abnormally high in both the lifting and hold phases. This exaggeration was equal in magnitude to that observed previously in medicated patients. Thus we conclude that the abnormalities in grip force observed here are intrinsic features of PD and not the result of dopamine medication or its side effects. © 2004 Movement Disorder Society