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Dexterity Training Improves Manual Precision in Patients Affected by Essential Tremor


Francesco Budini, Madeleine Lowery, Michael Hutchinson, David Bradley, Luke Conroy, Giuseppe De Vito

Publication Type: 
Refereed Original Article
Objective: To evaluate the effect of a short-term dexterity-training program on muscle tremor and the performance of hand precision tasks in patients with essential tremor (ET). Design: Three testing sessions: baseline, after 4 weeks without any interventions (control), and after 4 weeks of dexterity-training carried out 3 times per week. Setting: Biomechanics research laboratory. Participants: Patients (N Z 8) with a diagnosis of ET. Intervention: Training program consisted of 12 dexterity training sessions where each session comprised 4 tasks involving both goal-directed manual movements and hand postural exercises. Main Outcome Measures: Testing included an ET-specific quality of life questionnaire and postural and kinetic tremor assessments. Each training session was scored to evaluate the performance. Results: After training, improvements were observed in the performance of the 2 goal-directed tasks ( P < .01); however, postural and kinetic tremor did not change. Conclusions: This study suggests that dexterity training could be effective in increasing fine manual control during goal-directed movements, which are known to be the most compromised in this pathology. The absence of a decrease in tremor severity highlights the necessity for developing this novel training technique further, perhaps over a longer period of time. This study could provide guidelines for the prescription of self-directed and pers onalized home-based exercises and will offer clinicians a treatment that might be used as an adjuvant or an alternative to the classical pharmacotherapy. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2014;95:705-10
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Publication Date: 
Elsevier - Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Research Group: 
National University of Ireland, Dublin (UCD)
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