Trunk-arm coordination in reaching for moving targets in people with Parkinson's disease: Comparison between virtual and physical reality

Hui Ing Ma, Wen Juh Hwang, Ching Yi Wang, Jing Jing Fang, Iat Fai Leong, Tsui Ying Wang

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10 Citations (Scopus)


We used a trunk-assisted prehension task to examine the effect of task (reaching for stationary vs. moving targets) and environmental constraints (virtual reality [VR] vs. physical reality) on the temporal control of trunk and arm motions in people with Parkinson's disease (PD). Twenty-four participants with PD and 24 age-matched controls reached for and grasped a ball that was either stationary or moving along a ramp 120% of arm length away. In a similar VR task, participants reached for a virtual ball that was either stationary or moving. Movement speed was measured as trunk and arm movement times (MTs); trunk-arm coordination was measured as onset interval and offset interval between trunk and arm motions, as well as a summarized index-desynchrony score. In both VR and physical reality, the PD group had longer trunk and arm MTs than the control group when reaching for stationary balls (p< .001). When reaching for moving balls in VR and physical reality, however, the PD group had lower trunk and arm MTs, onset intervals, and desynchrony scores (p< .001). For the PD group, VR induced shorter trunk MTs, shorter offset intervals, and lower desynchrony scores than did physical reality when reaching for moving balls (p< .001). These findings suggest that using real moving targets in trunk-assisted prehension tasks improves the speed and synchronization of trunk and arm motions in people with PD, and that using virtual moving targets may induce a movement termination strategy different from that used in physical reality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1340-1352
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Movement Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Oct 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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