de Bruin Nutley, Natalie

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    Functional improvements associated with upper extremity motor stimulation in individuals with Parkinson's disease
    (Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins, 2015) Bartoshyk, Patrick J.; De Bruin, Natalie; Brown, Lesley A.; Doan, Jon B.
    Background: While traditional neurotherapy promotes motor function in people living with Parkinson’s disease (PD), the benefits may be limited by compounding physical, cognitive, and attentional barriers. Since the nontraditional exercise of ice-skating is proving to positively influence motor function and postural control, the purpose of this study was to explore whether the addition of an upper body sensory-driven motor coordination task (stickhandling) would provide upper extremity neuromotor benefit among people with moderate PD. Methods: Seven non-PD control (CTRL) and 22 PD (14 ON-ICE, 8 OFF-ICE) participants completed three trials of a reaching-to-eat (fine motor) task and a button-push (gross motor) task, PRE-and POST-completion of two dynamic – either on- or off-ice – stickhandling tasks. Reaching-to-eat and button-push scores were compared between time periods (PRE, POST) and groups (CTRL, PD ON-ICE, PD OFF-ICE). Results: CTRL participants demonstrated higher scores when compared to the PD groups. Both PD groups demonstrated an improvement in reaching-to-eat and button-push scores immediately following the intervention. Conclusions: These findings suggest that sport-derived exercise programs may provide neuromotor benefit to people living with PD.
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    Walking with music is a safe and viable tool for gait training in Parkinson's disease: the effect of a 13-week feasibility study on single and dual task walking
    (Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 2010) de Bruin Nutley, Natalie; Doan, Jon B.; Turnbull, George; Suchowersky, Oksana; Bonfield, Stephan; Hu, Bin; Brown, Lesley
    This study explored the viability and efficacy of integrating cadence-matched, salientmusic into a walking intervention for patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Twenty-two people with PD were randomised to a control (CTRL, n = 11) or experimental (MUSIC, n = 11) group. MUSIC subjects walked with an individualised music playlist three times a week for the intervention period. Playlists were designed to meet subject’s musical preferences. In addition, the tempo of the music closely matched (±10– 15 bpm) the subject’s preferred cadence. CTRL subjects continued with their regular activities during the intervention. The effects of training accompanied by “walking songs” were evaluated using objective measures of gait score. The MUSIC group improved gait velocity, stride time, cadence, and motor symptom severity following the intervention. This is the first study to demonstrate that music listening can be safely implemented amongst PD patients during home exercise.
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    Obstacle crossing among people with Parkinson disease is influenced by concurrent music
    (U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs, 2010) Brown, Lesley; de Bruin Nutley, Natalie; Doan, Jon B.; Suchowersky, Oksana; Hu, Bin
    Multitasking situations exacerbate gait impairments and increase the risk of falling among people with Parkinson disease (PD). This study compared obstacle negotiation among 10 subjects with PD and 10 nonparkinsonian control (CTRL) subjects in two test conditions differentiated by the presence of music played through a personal music player. Subjects walked the length of a 10 m walkway at a self-selected pace, crossing a 0.15 m obstacle placed at the midpoint of the walkway. The results indicated that subjects with PD crossed the obstacle slower than CTRL subjects and that concurrent music differentially altered obstacle crossing behaviors for the CTRL subjects and subjects with PD. Subjects with PD further decreased obstacle-crossing velocities and maintained spatial parameters in the music condition. In contrast, CTRL subjects maintained all spatiotemporal parameters of obstacle crossing with music. The alterations to crossing behaviors observed among the subjects with PD support our previous suggestion that listening to music while walking may be an attentionally demanding task.
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    Assessing visuospatial abilities in healthy aging: a novel visuometor task
    (Frontiers Media, 2016) de Bruin Nutley, Natalie; Bryant, Devon C.; MacLean, Jessica N.; Gonzalez, Claudia L. R.
    This study examined the efficacy of a novel reaching-and-grasping task in determining visuospatial abilities across adulthood. The task required male and female young (18–25 years) and older adults (60–82 years) to replicate a series of complex models by locating and retrieving the appropriate building blocks from an array. The task allows visuospatial complexity to be manipulated independently from the visuomotor demands. Mental rotation and spatial visualization abilities were assessed. The results showed that the time taken to complete the tasks increased with increased mental rotation complexity. Patterns of hand use were also influenced by the complexity of the models being constructed with right hand use being greater for the less complex models. In addition, although older adults consistently performed the visuomotor tasks slower than the younger adults, their performance was comparable when expressed as the percent change in task demands. This is suggestive that spatial abilities are preserved in older adults. Given the ecologically validity, the described task is an excellent candidate for investigating: (1) developmental; (2) sex-based; and (3) pathology-based differences in spatial abilities in the visuomotor domain.
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    "Left neglected," but only in far space: spatial biases in healthy participants revealed in a visually guided grasping task
    (Frontiers Media, 2014) de Bruin Nutley, Natalie; Bryant, Devon C.; Gonzalez, Claudia L. R.
    Hemispatial neglect is a common outcome of stroke that is characterized by the inability to orient toward, and attend to stimuli in contralesional space. It is established that hemispatial neglect has a perceptual component, however, the presence and severity of motor impairments is controversial. Establishing the nature of space use and spatial biases during visually guided actions amongst healthy individuals is critical to understanding the presence of visuomotor deficits in patients with neglect. Accordingly, three experiments were conducted to investigate the effect of object spatial location on patterns of grasping. Experiment 1 required right-handed participants to reach and grasp for blocks in order to construct 3D models.The blocks were scattered on a tabletop divided into equal size quadrants: left near, left far, right near, and right far. Identical sets of building blockswere available in each quadrant. Space use was dynamic, with participants initially grasping blocks from right near space and tending to “neglect” left far space until the final stages of the task. Experiment 2 repeated the protocol with left-handed participants. Remarkably, left-handed participants displayed a similar pattern of space use to right-handed participants. In Experiment 3 eye movements were examined to investigate whether “neglect” for grasping in left far reachable space had its origins in attentional biases. It was found that patterns of eye movements mirrored patterns of reach-to-grasp movements.We conclude that there are spatial biases during visually guided grasping, specifically, a tendency to neglect left far reachable space, and that this “neglect” is attentional in origin.The results raise the possibility that visuomotor impairments reported among patients with right hemisphere lesions when working in contralesional space may result in part from this inherent tendency to “neglect” left far space irrespective of the presence of unilateral visuospatial neglect.