Text Size: a  |   a 

Online Keyboard Tapping Assessment Can Accurately Evaluate Disease Severity in MS

January 22, 2018

The BRadykinesia Akinesia INcoordination (BRAIN) is an online keyboard-tapping assessment tool that is used to identify disability and disease severity related to multiple sclerosis (MS).

Investigators of the study observed akinesia times which was the mean dwell time on each key, kinesia scores which were the number of key taps in 30 seconds, and incoordination scores which were the variance of traveling time between keys. They observed all of these variables by utilizing the BRAIN test on 39 MS patients. Following the assessment, these scores were correlated against pyramidal and cerebellar functional system scores, Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) scores and the 9-hole peg test.

The EDSS scores were found to correlate with akinesia times as well as the incoordination scores, and there was also a significant correlation found between the 9-hole peg test and the pyramidal scores with kinesia scores. Cerebellar scores were also found to be correlated with akinesia times and incoordination scores. It was also discovered that KS could be used to determine the absence or presence of cerebellar and pyramidal dysfunction with an area under the curve of 0.829 and 0.840.

Although, the BRAIN test does have some limitations. The test only evaluates upper limb function, which limits the overall ability of the tool to assess other indicators for examining disability and MS disease severities. Investigators did not prospectively examine changes in BRAIN scores with EDSS over a long-term period of time, which ultimately limited the overall findings.

Researchers said administering BRAIN tests online “raises the possibility of using it in clinical trials for assessing disability in patients from their own home” as well as reducing the need for repeated hospital visits.