Adapting the Physiological Profile Assessment (PPA) to assess upper limb function

NeuRA’s Physiological Profiling Assessment’ (PPA) is widely recognised as the gold standard” diagnostic tool for quantifying the physiological capacity of the lower limb. As part of the Motor Impairment program, we now plan to adapt this ground-breaking physiological profiling approach to measure the performance of the upper limbs in the population over the adult lifespan. This approach requires measurement of performance in tests or tasks, which if defective, would cause poor performance in everyday tasks involving the upper limb. The tests are inexpensive and simple to perform, provide quantitative data and cover the range of physiological functions that are required for satisfactory movement control. We have assembled a suite of such tests which measure functions including near-field vision, arm and hand strength, hand sensation, manual dexterity and coordination and are now recruiting 20 men and 20 women per decade from 20 – 90+ years of age (total N = 320). This study will produce simple tests that can be used in population studies and patient group clinics. It will provide normative data for documenting the type and severity of upper limb Motor Impairments and provide the impetus to develop strategies to improve function in ageing and other disorders, such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis and peripheral neuropathy.