Background: Although significant response time deficits (both reaction time and movement time) have been identified in numerous studies of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), few attempts have been made to evaluate the use of these measures in screening for PD.
Methods: Receiver operator characteristic curves were used to identify cutoff scores for a unit-weighted composite of two choice response tasks in a sample of 40 patients and 40 healthy participants. These scores were then cross-validated in an independent sample of 20 patients and 20 healthy participants.
Results: The unit-weighted movement time composite demonstrated high sensitivity (90%) and specificity (90%) in the identification of PD. Movement time was also significantly correlated (r = 0.59, p < 0.025) with the motor score of the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS).
Conclusions: Measures of chronometric speed, assessed without the use of biomechanically complex movements, have a potential role in screening for PD. Furthermore, the significant correlation between movement time and UPDRS motor score suggests that movement time may be useful in the quantification of PD severity.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/andrewjohnson/101/