Optical Hand Tracking: A Novel Technique for the Assessment of Bradykinesia in Parkinson's Disease

Paulina J.M. Bank*, Johan Marinus, Carel G.M. Meskers, Jurriaan H. de Groot, Jacobus J. van Hilten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Evaluation of therapies for Parkinson's disease (PD) may benefit from objective quantification of the separate movement components of bradykinesia (i.e., velocity, amplitude, and rhythm). This study evaluated the sensitivity and reliability of parameters derived from recently available optical hand tracking techniques for patient-friendly, automated quantification of bradykinesia of the upper extremity in PD. Methods: Fifty-seven patients with PD and 57 healthy individuals (controls) performed repetitive finger tapping (RFT), alternating hand movements (AHM), and alternating forearm movements (AFM). Movement components of bradykinesia (i.e., velocity, frequency, amplitude, hesitations, and halts) were quantified using optical hand tracking. Reliability was quantified using intraclass correlation coefficients in a subgroup of 12 patients with PD and 12 controls (test-retest) and in all 57 controls (intra-trial). Results: RFT and AHM were successfully recorded in 94% of all participants. Movement components differed between patients with PD and controls and were correlated with clinical ratings. Velocity and halt duration appeared to be most useful (i.e., the largest difference between the PD and control groups, good reliability) for the quantification of RFT, whereas frequency appeared to be most useful for the quantification of AHM. Other variables, such as frequency and amplitude of RFT, showed poor test-retest reliability, because they were susceptible to changes in movement strategy. AFM was excluded from the analysis because of problems with hand recognition. Conclusion: Novel optical hand tracking techniques yield promising results for patient-friendly quantification of bradykinesia of the upper extremity in PD. Future work should aim to optimize optical hand tracking and reduce susceptibility to changes in strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)875-883
Number of pages9
JournalMovement Disorders Clinical Practice
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017

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