A study of arm movements in Huntington's disease under visually controlled and blindfolded conditions

F. Carella, M. Bressanelli, S. Piacentini, P. Soliveri, G. Geminiani, D. Monza, A. Albanese, F. Girotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The so-called bradykinesia of Huntington's disease (HD) seems not due to reduced movement speed alone but may also be task-dependent. We therefore investigated the influence of visual control on the ability of HD patients to perform a motor task. Ten HD patients, never treated with neuroleptic drugs and with mild functional impairment in activities of daily living, performed the task blindfolded and not blindfolded, as did 10 age- and education-matched healthy controls. The task was to use the dominant hand to trace out the contours of a 20×20 cm square in a clockwise direction, pausing at each corner. The square was marked on the table at which the subject sat. Accuracy was stressed rather than speed. A videocamera-based system recorded movement trajectories, from which kinematic and error parameters were derived. Patients and controls moved at comparable speeds but patients took longer to complete the task due to more curvilinear and hence longer trajectories. Patients spent more time in the deceleration phase of the movement, and in the blindfold condition had more variable movements as indicated by greater error variability scores. Correlation analysis showed that kinematic parameters in patients did not correlate with involuntary movement scores. These findings indicate that abnormalities of motor control are present in HD when movement accuracy (and not velocity) is required. HD patients are more dependent on visual control than normal subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-293
Number of pages7
JournalNeurological Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003


  • Huntington's disease
  • Kinematics
  • Visual control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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