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Retention of touchscreen skills is compromised in Parkinson's disease.

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

Fine motor skill impairments likely have a severe impact on the use of touchscreens in Parkinson's disease (PD). Although recent work showed positive effects of intensive writing training, many questions remained regarding the consolidation of motor learning in PD. The current study examined the effects of PD on practicing the manipulation of touchscreen technology and whether this can lead to 24h-retention and transfer. We developed the Swipe-Slide Pattern (SSP)-task, similar to handling a touchscreen unlock-trace. On day 1, 11 patients and 10 healthy, age-matched controls underwent two consecutive runs of early and late learning (9 × 36 s SSP and 36 s rest). This was followed by a retention test after 24 h, including the assessment of transfer. Movement time (MT, s), Euclidean distance (ED) and a performance index (PI = MT/ED) were compared across the learning phases (early, late, retention and transfer) for both groups. Additionally, a learning, retention and transfer index were compared between groups and correlated to clinical characteristics. Both groups significantly improved in MT and PI across practice. However, while healthy adults showed further improvements after a 24h-retention period, patients presented with impaired retention indices. This was correlated with disease duration, disease severity and performance on a daily life mobile phone task. Finally, transfer to a similar, but untrained pattern was comparable between both groups. Overall, short-term practice of the SSP-task results in improvements for PD patients, albeit with impaired retention. Future work should investigate whether prolonged touchscreen skill training can be retained in motor memory in PD.
Tijdschrift: Behavioural Brain Research
ISSN: 0166-4328
Volume: 378
Pagina's: 112265
Jaar van publicatie:2020