Journal of Neural Transmission

, Volume 121, Issue 11, pp 1377–1386

Hand function is impaired in healthy older adults at risk of Parkinson’s disease

  • Gabrielle Todd
  • Miranda Haberfield
  • Patrick L. Faulkner
  • Caroline Rae
  • Michael Hayes
  • Robert A. Wilcox
  • Janet L. Taylor
  • Simon C. Gandevia
  • Jana Godau
  • Daniela Berg
  • Olivier Piguet
  • Kay L. Double
Neurology and Preclinical Neurological Studies - Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00702-014-1218-y

Cite this article as:
Todd, G., Haberfield, M., Faulkner, P.L. et al. J Neural Transm (2014) 121: 1377. doi:10.1007/s00702-014-1218-y

Abstract

Abnormal substantia nigra morphology in healthy individuals, viewed with transcranial ultrasound, is a significant risk factor for Parkinson’s disease. However, little is known about the functional consequences of this abnormality (termed ‘hyperechogenicity’) on movement. The aim of the current study was to investigate hand function in healthy older adults with (SN+) and without (SN−) substantia nigra hyperechogenicity during object manipulation. We hypothesised that SN+ subjects would exhibit increased grip force and a slower rate of force application compared to SN− subjects. Twenty-six healthy older adults (8 SN+ aged 58 ± 8 years, 18 SN− aged 57 ± 6 years) were asked to grip and lift a light-weight object with the dominant hand. Horizontal grip force, vertical lift force, acceleration, and first dorsal interosseus EMG were recorded during three trials. During the first trial, SN+ subjects exhibited a longer period between grip onset and lift onset (i.e. preload duration; 0.27 ± 0.25 s) than SN− subjects (0.13 ± 0.08 s; P = 0.046). They also exerted a greater downward force prior to lift off (−0.54 ± 0.42 N vs. −0.21 ± 0.12 N; P = 0.005) and used a greater grip force to lift the object (19.5 ± 7.0 N vs. 14.0 ± 4.3 N; P = 0.022) than SN− subjects. No between group differences were observed in subsequent trials. SN+ subjects exhibit impaired planning for manipulation of new objects. SN+ individuals over-estimate the grip force required, despite a longer contact period prior to lifting the object. The pattern of impairment observed in SN+ subjects shares similarities with de novo Parkinson’s disease patients.

Keywords

Substantia nigra Transcranial ultrasound Hand Object manipulation 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabrielle Todd
    • 1
  • Miranda Haberfield
    • 1
  • Patrick L. Faulkner
    • 1
  • Caroline Rae
    • 2
    • 3
  • Michael Hayes
    • 4
  • Robert A. Wilcox
    • 5
    • 6
  • Janet L. Taylor
    • 2
    • 3
  • Simon C. Gandevia
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jana Godau
    • 7
    • 8
  • Daniela Berg
    • 7
  • Olivier Piguet
    • 2
    • 3
  • Kay L. Double
    • 2
    • 9
  1. 1.School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences and Sansom InstituteUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Neuroscience Research AustraliaRandwickAustralia
  3. 3.University of New South WalesKensingtonAustralia
  4. 4.Concord Repatriation General HospitalConcordAustralia
  5. 5.Department of NeurologyFlinders Medical CentreBedford ParkAustralia
  6. 6.Human Physiology, Medical SchoolFlinders UniversityBedford ParkAustralia
  7. 7.Department of NeurodegenerationHertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research and German Center of Neurodegenerative DiseasesTübingenGermany
  8. 8.Department of NeurologyKlinikum Kassel GmbHKasselGermany
  9. 9.Discipline of Biomedical Science, School of Medical SciencesSydney Medical School, University of SydneyDarlingtonAustralia

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