A Suite of Automated Tools to Quantify Hand and Wrist Motor Function after Cervical Spinal Cord Injury



Background: Cervical spinal cord injury (cSCI) often causes chronic upper extremity disability. Reliable measurement of arm function is critical for development of therapies to improve recovery after cSCI. In this study, we report a suite of automated rehabilitative tools to allow simple, quantitative assessment of hand and wrist motor function. Methods: We measured range of motion and force production using these devices in cSCI participants with a range of upper limb disability and in neurologically intact participants at two time points separated by approximately 4 months. Additionally, we determined whether measures collected with the rehabilitative tools correlated with standard upper limb assessments, including the Graded Redefined Assessment of Strength, Sensibility, and Prehension (GRASSP) and the Jebsen Hand Function Test (JHFT). Results: We find that the rehabilitative devices are useful to provide assessment of upper limb function in physical units over time in SCI participants and are well-correlated with standard assessments. Conclusions: These results indicate that these tools represent a reliable system for longitudinal evaluation of upper extremity function after cSCI and may provide a framework to assess the efficacy of strategies aimed at improving recovery of upper limb function. ©2019 The Author(s).



Medical care—Needs assessment, Cervical vertebrae—Wounds and injuries, Hand, Joints—Range of motion, Spinal Cord Injuries, Wrist—Wounds and injuries, Adult, Aged, Body height, Body weight, Disabilities, Females, Hand Injuries, Humans, Males, Middle Aged, Muscle strength—Testing, Musculoskeletal system—Diseases, Quantitative analysis, Arm, Young adults


This work was supported by National Institutes of Health R01NS085167 and R01NS094384.


CC BY 4.0 (Attribution), ©2019 The Authors