Pedrocchi, Alessandra L.G.
Sanger, Terence D.
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Background Even if movement abnormalities in dystonia are obvious on observation-based examinations, objective measures to characterize dystonia and to gain insights into its pathophysiology are still strongly needed. We hypothesize that motor abnormalities in childhood dystonia are partially due to the inability to suppress involuntary variable muscle activity irrelevant to the achievement of the desired motor task, resulting in the superposition of unwanted motion components on the desired movement. However, it is difficult to separate and quantify appropriate and inappropriate motor signals combined in the same muscle, especially during movement. Methods We devise an innovative and practical method to objectively measure movement abnormalities during the performance of a continuous figure-eight writing task in 7 children with dystonia and 9 age-matched healthy controls. During the execution of a continuous writing task, muscle contractions should occur at frequencies that match the frequencies of the writing outcome. We compare the power spectra of kinematic trajectories and electromyographic signals of 8 upper limb muscles to separate muscle activity with the same frequency content of the figure-eight movement (task-correlated) from activity occurring at frequencies extraneous to the task (task-uncorrelated). Results Children with dystonia present a greater magnitude of task-uncorrelated muscle components. The motor performance achieved by children with dystonia is characterized by an overall lower quality, with high spatial and temporal variability and an altered trade-off between speed and accuracy. Conclusions Findings are consistent with the hypothesis that, in childhood dystonia, the ability to appropriately suppress variable and uncorrelated elements of movement is impaired. Here we present a proof-of-concept of a promising tool to characterize the phenomenology of movement disorders and to inform the design of neurorehabilitation therapies. Show more
Journal / seriesJournal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation
Pages / Article No.
SubjectChildhood dystonia; Writing; EMG-kinematics; Spectral analysis; Task-uncorrelated activity
Organisational unit03654 - Riener, Robert / Riener, Robert
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