Biomechanical Measures of Upper Extremity Function in MS: Marisa McGinley, DO


The staff neurologist at the Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research at Cleveland Clinic spoke to a study using the digital Manual Dexterity Test.

“The whole point of an upper extremity test is that we’re trying to gauge a dexterity or upper extremity issue, but in MS that can occur for a lot of reasons: patients can be weak, they can have a cerebellar [or] ataxia problem, [et cetera]. The whole point of the biomechanical breakdown of it is to really understand that better in a patient.”

Individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) often experience challenges with their limbs, ranging from gait issues or need for a wheelchair to impairment in hand and finger dexterity and strength. As a result, physicians often utilize tests such as the 9-hole peg test (9HPT) to measure their patients’ function in these areas. At Cleveland Clinic, the clinicians also use a technology-enabled adaptation of the 9HPT for the iPad, called the Manual Dexterity Test (MDT).

Marisa McGinley, DO, staff neurologist, Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research, Cleveland Clinic, presented data from a recent assessment with this test, done to determine the longitudinal evaluation of novel upper extremity biomechanical outcomes and prediction of change, at the 2021 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting, April 17-22. All told, McGinley and colleagues determined that these biomechanical measures, which are more multi-dimensional, may enhance the physician’s ability to detect the progression of upper extremity impairment in patients with MS.

In this conversation with NeurologyLive, McGinley shared her insight into the test and offered some details about the reasoning for conducting this study. She highlighted how this richer data collection can improve the clinical care of patients and the ability to prognosticate while planning care approaches.

For more coverage of AAN 2021, click here.

McGinley M, Felix C, Jingan Q, et al. Development of higher resolution biomechanical outcomes for upper extremity function. Presented at American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting; April 17-22. Abstract 9058.
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