Adaptation to changes in vertical display gain during handwriting in Parkinson's disease patients, elderly and young controls

Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2002 Dec;9(2):77-84. doi: 10.1016/s1353-8020(02)00013-5.


Parkinson's disease (PD) patients, matched elderly controls, and normal young subjects were tested using a visuo-motor adaptation paradigm in which the gain of the vertical component of the visual feedback of handwriting was manipulated in real-time. Handwriting was performed on a digitizer tablet and displayed in real-time on a computer screen in front of the participant. Vision of the hand and pen was occluded. Feedback could be normal (pre- and post-exposure conditions), smaller, or larger than the actual handwriting (exposure conditions). All groups showed a gradual adaptation that compensated for the distorted visual feedback during the exposure conditions. Moreover, all the groups showed significant after-effects during the post-exposure conditions suggesting that all the participants learned to compensate for the novel display gains. Taken together, these data suggest that the mechanisms for visuo-motor adaptation to changes in vertical display gain during handwriting are robust to aging and early stage of PD. These results may have implications for the treatment of micrographia in Parkinsonism.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Feedback, Psychological / physiology*
  • Female
  • Handwriting*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology*
  • Patients / statistics & numerical data
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*