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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 2358386, 8 pages
Research Article

The Effect of Dopaminergic Medication on Joint Kinematics during Haptic Movements in Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease

1Department of Occupational Therapy and Graduate Institute of Behavioral Sciences, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan
2Healthy Aging Research Center, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan
3Department of Neurology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taoyuan, Taiwan
4Tan Tock Seng Hospital Rehabilitation Centre, Singapore
5Occupational Therapy Program, Department of Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Kuan-yi Li

Received 12 January 2017; Revised 7 March 2017; Accepted 19 March 2017; Published 19 April 2017

Academic Editor: Xiaoling Hu

Copyright © 2017 Kuan-yi Li et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study examined whether altered joint angular motion during haptic exploration could account for a decline in haptic sensitivity in individuals with PD by analyzing joint position data during haptic exploration of a curved contour. Each participant’s hand was passively moved by a robotic arm along the edges of a virtual box (5 cm × 15 cm) with a curved left wall. After each trial, participants indicated whether the contour was curved or straight. Visual, auditory, and tactile cues were occluded, and an electrogoniometer recorded shoulder and elbow joint angles during each trial. The PD group in the OFF state had a higher mean detection threshold (4.67 m−1) than the control group (3.06 m−1). Individuals with PD in the OFF state also had a significantly greater magnitude of shoulder abduction than those in the ON state () and a smaller magnitude of elbow flexion than those in the ON state or compared to the control group (both ). These findings suggest that individuals with PD employ joint configurations that may contribute to haptic insensitivity. Dopamine replacement therapy improved joint configurations during haptic exploration in patients with PD, suggesting a role for dopaminergic dysfunction in PD-related haptic insensitivity.