Finger Coordination in Neurological Patients

Open Access
Sallade, Thomas Douglas
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Mark Latash, Thesis Supervisor
  • Peter J Butler, Honors Advisor
  • Olivopontocerebellar atrophy
  • Maximum Voluntary Contraction
  • Enslaving
  • Synergy
  • Finger Coordination
ABSTRACT It is known that disorders of the cerebellum have the potential to affect coordination of movements. The purpose of this thesis is to examine changes in motor coordination in individuals with olivopontocerebellar atrophy (OPCA) during multi-finger force production tasks. In particular, maximum forces, multi-finger synergy (the ability to show error compensation among finger forces), and enslaving (index of finger independency) were examined in three multi-finger pressing tasks. Seven OPCA subjects and seven age and gender matched control subjects participated in this study. Task 1 required maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) of all fingers simultaneously. Task 2 required a single finger (task-finger) to produce a linearly increasing amount of force while non-task finger forces were measured to quantify finger force enslaving (E). Task 3 required production of a constant level of total force by four fingers followed by production of a force pulse in order to examine properties of synergy (steady-state value (∆VZ,SS), change prior to impulse (∆∆VZ), time of change initiation prior to impulse (tASA)) amongst the fingers. . In OPCA subjects, higher non-task finger force production (enslaving) and lower maximal finger forces were observed as compared to the control subjects. The OPCA data is in conflict with several previous studies where MVC and enslaving were found to be proportional. Additionally, ∆VZ,SS, ∆∆VZ, and tASA all decreased in OPCA patients relative to control subjects. Future studies must gather more data from the OPCA patients to further characterize gender effects, develop a disease progression model of OPCA, and understand the altered MVC-enslaving relationship.