Quantifying drug-induced dyskinesias in the arms using digitised spiral-drawing tasks

Xuguang Liu, Camille B Carroll, Shou-Yan Wang, John Zajicek, Peter G Bain

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66 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we quantify the severity of drug-induced dyskinesias in the arms of Parkinson's disease (PD) patients using digitised spiral-drawing tasks. Two spiral drawings, namely a circular and a square spiral, are designed to, respectively, represent the continuous and discrete arm motions, and the size of the spiral is decided so that both the distal and proximal arm joints are involved. Fifteen PD patients, average disease duration 14.4+/-7.4 years, were assessed 30 min after a levodopa challenge whilst performing circular and square spiral-drawing tasks. The velocity of drawing movements was computed and the amplitude of the involuntary dyskinetic movements was measured as the standard deviation of the drawing velocity (SD-DV). The mean amplitude of dyskinetic movements was compared between arms and tasks and was correlated with clinical measures including the Bain dyskinesia scale and the total unified Parkinson's disease rating scale (UPDRS) score. The results showed that there was no statistically significant difference in the amplitude of dyskinesias either between the arms or between the continuous (circular) and discrete (square) spiral drawings in this group of PD patients, but interestingly the interaction between arm and drawing pattern was significant. Significant correlations were found between the magnitude of dyskinesia measured from the spiral-drawing tasks and both the 'on' or 'off' UPDRS and also the Bain dyskinesia scale. We conclude that the drawing tasks may be used to provide an objective method of quantifying the severity of drug-induced dyskinesias in the arm in PD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-52
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2005


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antiparkinson Agents
  • Arm
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Dyskinesia, Drug-Induced
  • Humans
  • Levodopa
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Parkinson Disease
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Spectrum Analysis


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