Clinical Utility of Manual Dexterity Test in MS: Marisa McGinley, DO


The staff neurologist at the Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research at Cleveland Clinic discussed how novel dexterity measurements can improve prognostication of disease progression.

“In MS, one of the big gaps in the field is the ability to detect progression. The main way we look at progression in MS right now is with the EDSS…and that is heavily weighted toward lower extremity function and walking. Not all MS patients [experience that] as their primary issue.”

At the 2021 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting, April 17-22, Marisa McGinley, DO, staff neurologist, Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research, Cleveland Clinic, presented data from a recent assessment she and colleagues conducted with the Manual Dexterity Test (MDT), a digital, iPad adaptation of the traditional 9-hole peg test (9HPT) for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). What they found, according to McGinley, is that some of these novel outcome measures from the test were more sensitive to change in patients.

Individuals with MS can experience limb-related issues that can vary from challenges with gait or need for a wheelchair to impairment in hand and finger dexterity and strength. The 9HPT is often used to gauge the function in the upper extremities, but as McGinley noted in a conversation with NeurologyLive, it does not include the longitudinal evaluation of novel upper extremity biomechanical outcomes and prediction of change that the MDT measures. These more multi-dimensional outcomes might improve the physician’s ability to detect the progression of upper extremity impairment in patients with MS.

In this interview, McGinley offered her perspective on the current assessments of progression in this patient population and shared how improving its prognostication and measurement can improve not only care but clinical trials as well. Additionally, she provided the clinical community with the main takeaways from her and her colleagues’ data and the use of digital technologies.

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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