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Handwriting performance in the absence of visual control in writer's cramp patients: Initial observations

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Author(s): Chakarov Vihren | Hummel Sibylla | Losch Florian | Schulte-Mönting Jürgen | Kristeva Rumyana

Journal: BMC Neurology
ISSN 1471-2377

Volume: 6;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 14;
Date: 2006;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background The present study was aimed at investigating the writing parameters of writer's cramp patients and control subjects during handwriting of a test sentence in the absence of visual control. Methods Eight right-handed patients with writer's cramp and eight healthy volunteers as age-matched control subjects participated in the study. The experimental task consisted in writing a test sentence repeatedly for fifty times on a pressure-sensitive digital board. The subject did not have visual control on his handwriting. The writing performance was stored on a PC and analyzed off-line. Results During handwriting all patients developed a typical dystonic limb posture and reported an increase in muscular tension along the experimental session. The patients were significantly slower than the controls, with lower mean vertical pressure of the pen tip on the paper and they could not reach the endmost letter of the sentence in the given time window. No other handwriting parameter differences were found between the two groups. Conclusion Our findings indicate that during writing in the absence of visual feedback writer's cramp patients are slower and could not reach the endmost letter of the test sentence, but their level of automatization is not impaired and writer's cramp handwriting parameters are similar to those of the controls except for even lower vertical pressure of the pen tip on the paper, which is probably due to a changed strategy in such experimental conditions.
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