This article is part of the Research Topic Fine motor skills in movement disorders

Mini Review ARTICLE

Front. Neurol., 10 May 2013 |

Measures of fine motor skills in people with tremor disorders: appraisal and interpretation

  • 1School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada
  • 2Centre for Neuroscience Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada
  • 3Neuroscience Research Australia, Sydney, NSW, Australia

People with Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, or other movement disorders involving tremor have changes in fine motor skills that are among the hallmarks of these diseases. Numerous measurement tools have been created and other methods devised to measure such changes in fine motor skills. Measurement tools may focus on specific features – e.g., motor skills or dexterity, slowness in movement execution associated with parkinsonian bradykinesia, or magnitude of tremor. Less obviously, some tools may be better suited than others for specific goals such as detecting subtle dysfunction early in disease, revealing aspects of brain function affected by disease, or tracking changes expected from treatment or disease progression. The purpose of this review is to describe and appraise selected measurement tools of fine motor skills appropriate for people with tremor disorders. In this context, we consider the tools’ content – i.e., what movement features they focus on. In addition, we consider how measurement tools of fine motor skills relate to measures of a person’s disease state or a person’s function. These considerations affect how one should select and interpret the results of these tools in laboratory and clinical contexts.

Keywords: movement disorders, tremor, fine motor skills, dexterity, outcome measures, measurement

Citation: Norman KE and Héroux ME (2013) Measures of fine motor skills in people with tremor disorders: appraisal and interpretation. Front. Neurol. 4:50. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2013.00050

Received: 25 February 2013; Accepted: 24 April 2013;
Published online: 10 May 2013.

Edited by:

Tim Vanbellingen, University Hospital Bern, Switzerland

Reviewed by:

Maria Stamelou, University College London, UK
Katya Kotschet, St. Vincent’s Hospital, Australia

Copyright: © 2013 Norman and Héroux. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

*Correspondence: Kathleen E. Norman, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen’s University, L.D. Acton Building, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada. e-mail: