HAMMS - Hand-Arm Movement Monitoring System

Project Collaborators (sorted by Institute): 
Longitudinal Studies Section, Translational Gerontology Branch, NIA
Section on Clinical Psychoneuroendocrinology and Neuropsychopharmacology, NIAAA
Molecular Mechanisms of Cellular Stress and Inflammation, Integrative Neuroscience Research Branch, NIDA
Project Brief: 

HAMMS was originally conceived by NIDA as a system for pre-symptomatic diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease by monitoring a patient’s fine locomotor abilities. SPIS designed HAMMS to be a clinic-friendly (i.e., low cost, portable, and quick routine diagnostic) system consisting of a camera and custom video processing algorithm.  The system tracks the hand of a patient performing a set of motions as defined by a path outlined on a computer screen, and also provides visual feedback (i.e., real-time machine vision) to the participant as to how well they are maintaining the desired path. Recently, HAMMS has been adapted for use in the NIA Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA). BLSA is a long-running (over 50 years) observational study designed to describe various age-related physical and cognitive changes, identify the factors which affect those changes, and understand the relationship between disease and aging. Participants in the study undergo a variety of testing over several days, including physical and functional evaluations; returning on a regular basis (at first every 4 years, then every 2 years, then yearly, depending on age). Since HAMMS integration within the BLSA, over 100 participants have already used the system.  HAMMS adds a new and complementary modern diagnostic to the extensive BLSA protocol, which could enable NIA to enhance and innovate BLSA research, as well as facilitate NIDA and SPIS HAMMS design refinement.  Despite the initial goal for use in Parkinson’s disease research, HAMMS has generated interest from diverse fields and numerous organizations, including: NIAAA (for use in a pilot study involving the use of baclofen to reduce alcohol cravings), Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (for the study of traumatic brain injury), and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (for use in occupational therapy research).