Management of upper extremity dysfunction in people with Parkinson disease and Huntington disease: Facilitating outcomes across the disease lifespan
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Parkinson Disease (PD) and Huntington Disease (HD) are degenerative neurological diseases, which can result in impairments and activity limitations affecting the upper extremities from early in the disease process. The progressive nature of these diseases poses unique challenges for therapists aiming to effectively maximize physical functioning and minimize participation restrictions in these patient groups. Research is underway in both diseases to develop effective disease-modifying agents and pharmacological interventions, as well as mobility-focused rehabilitation protocols. Rehabilitation, and in particular task-specific interventions, has the potential to influence the upper extremity functional abilities of patients with these degenerative conditions. However to date, investigations of interventions specifically addressing upper extremity function have been limited in both PD, and in particular HD. In this paper, we provide an update of the known pathological features of PD and HD as they relate to upper extremity function. We further review the available literature on the use of outcome measures, and the clinical management of upper extremity function in both conditions. Due to the currently limited evidence base in both diseases, we recommend utilization of a clinical management framework specific for degenerative conditions that can serve as a guideline for disease management.
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