Background Quantitative digital assessments in clinical trials may increase effect sizes while reducing population sizes, resulting in more accurate and cost effective trials and less burden for participants, compared to qualitative scales. In an internship program (University of Tübingen - TüREx), we explored the feasibility of dual-task assessments using the Q-Motor devices, to amplify differentiation between HD gene carriers and healthy controls.
Aims To assess feasibility of a dual-task design of Q-Motor finger tapping and target pointing task in a small cohort.
Methods 10 healthy controls (non-gene carriers or status unknown) and 5 manifest and pre-manifest HD gene carriers have been enrolled in this proof-of-concept project. Participants were asked to perform three Q-Motor tasks: 1) Speeded finger tapping (non-dominant hand); 2) 3D pointing with the position tracking Polhemus Stylus to defined targets on a x-y plane installed in front of the subject in a pre-defined sequence (dominant hand); 3) Interference task, performing both tasks simultaneously.
Results We found that while neither task single performed task could differentiate between the participant groups, the interference task showed good differentiation (p < 0.01) between the groups for defined parameters. Specifically, HD gene carriers tended to use higher tapping forces in finger tapping, when doing target pointing simultaneously.
Conclusions We found assessment of the described dual-tasks using Q-Motor devices feasible and well tolerated. While we acknowledge the limitations of the small sample size and unmatched groups, the results are encouraging and support confirmation of these findings in a larger cohort longitudinal study.
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