Knecht Movement Science Laboratory

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The ability to produce, maintain, and regulate hand movements is necessary in the performance of many everyday activities, such as lifting a glass or grasping a doorknob. Impaired handgrip function is one of the most disabling symptoms of MS. The muscle weakness and altered motor control that accompanies MS often result in decreased grip strength, particularly as the disease progresses.  

It has been noted that the strength required to grip and transport an object is decreased when a sensory cue, provided by a light finger touch on the wrist by the opposite arm, is provided. The group is now testing this observation in individuals with MS by measuring grip strength and other criteria as they lift and transport a weighted cup with and without the accompanying finger touch. Results are expected to show that that the finger touch allows the subjects to exert smaller grip forces while lifting objects.  

This research may have important implications in the design of rehabilitation protocols used in MS and may lead to improved quality of life and increased independence for people with the disease.

(Grant from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society)

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