CEC Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Timothy Ellis

Committee Member

Cheryl Hill

Committee Member

Stephen Terrell

Abstract

Computer assisted psychomotor training is recognized as an appropriate tool in motor skill acquisition in adults with and without physical limitations. In specialized populations of individuals with physical deficits such as Parkinson's disease, previous researchers have examined the application of computer assisted training during upper extremity psychomotor skill acquisition. Presently, there is a lack of controlled studies regarding computerized functional psychomotor task training in persons with Parkinson's disease. The specific purpose of this study is to test the efficacy of a computerized functional balance training protocol in a specialized population of individuals with Parkinson's disease. Experimental group subjects practiced functional balance activities with computer generated visual cues and feedback utilizing the Balance Master SystemTM (BMS). This computerized system integrates visual cues and visual feedback into graded psychomotor training protocols. The BMS has been used to evaluate persons with PD, but as yet, has not been tested in controlled training studies.

The performance of the experimental group was compared to a control group receiving training under non-visually cued, non-computerized conditions. All subjects' functional status was assessed pre and post training utilizing the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test and Functional Reach Test (FRT). Both of these measures quantify an individual's ability to adapt their movement patterns and perform functional activities. Post-testing occurred following the completion of ten training sessions and at four weeks. The experimental group showed improvements in their TUG scores over the three testing intervals as compared to the control group (F(1,18) = 32.86, p = .000). The experimental group subjects demonstrated a trend towards improvement in TUG scores while the control group demonstrated a trend towards baseline levels by post test two. The experimental group did display improvements in FR scores compared to the control group, but these trends were found to be insignificant (F(1,18) = 3.46, p = .079). Subjects that practiced under computerized, externally cued conditions displayed persistent improvements in functional activity (TUG measurement) over time as compared to control group subjects.

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