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Keywords:

  • multiple-system atrophy;
  • precision grip;
  • manual transport;
  • Parkinson's disease;
  • hand;
  • bradykinesia

Abstract

We examined the effects of the parkinsonian variant of multiple-system atrophy (MSA-P) on grasp and forward transport and release of an object. Twelve patients with MSA-P and 10 age-matched control subjects performed the task with each of three object weights (200, 400, 800 gm). Subjects moved at a self-selected pace using a precision grip. The grip (normal) and load (tangential) forces and the object position were recorded. Results indicate subjects with MSA-P have temporal and force coordination deficits. Temporal delays were seen in all subjects with MSA-P, leading to prolonged overall movement times compared to control subjects. These delays occurred throughout the task, with significantly longer transport phases and delays releasing the object. Despite demonstrating an appropriate anticipatory scaling of forces, with increasing grip and load forces for heavier weights, force coordination was compromised in subjects with MSA-P. These subjects generated significant negative load forces prior to transporting the object. In addition, during the transport phase, subjects with MSA-P generated highly variable grip forces. Overall, the results indicate that subjects with MSA-P demonstrate bradykinesia and difficulty coordinating components of an object transport task. © 2005 Movement Disorder Society