The effects of large scale writing on micrographia as a symptom of Parkinson's Disease

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Hoiberg, Anna
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Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression
Iowa State University Conferences and Symposia

The Symposium provides undergraduates from all academic disciplines with an opportunity to share their research with the university community and other guests through conference-style oral presentations. The Symposium represents part of a larger effort of Iowa State University to enhance, support, and celebrate undergraduate research activity.

Though coordinated by the University Honors Program, all undergraduate students are eligible and encouraged to participate in the Symposium. Undergraduates conducting research but not yet ready to present their work are encouraged to attend the Symposium to learn about the presentation process and students not currently involved in research are encouraged to attend the Symposium to learn about the broad range of undergraduate research activities that are taking place at ISU.

The first Symposium was held in April 2007. The 39 students who presented research and their mentors collectively represented all of ISU's Colleges: Agriculture and Life Sciences, Business, Design, Engineering, Human Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, and the Graduate College. The event has grown to regularly include more than 100 students presenting on topics that span the broad range of disciplines studied at ISU.


The purpose of this proposed research was to examine the effects of a 4-week intervention training focused on exaggerating the size of hand writing in people with Parkinson’s Disease (PD). This intervention will be effective using an elbow strategy while writing on a large scaled, lined, white board. It is hypothesized that the intervention would improve the PD symptom of micrographia, or tiny handwriting. The design is a pretest-posttest on 3 participants with PD. The intervention consists of 20-30 minute sessions, three self training sessions per week, one supervised training per week, for four consecutive weeks. The participants will write their cursive alphabet, 4 set sentences (written in cursive) and then finishing again with their cursive alphabet. The white board provided will be 22x28 inches, with line height at 4 inches and middle dotted line at 2 inches. The pre- and posttesting conditions are: free writing, writing a well-known phrase “Able was I ere I saw Elba,” and writing their cursive alphabet. It is hypothesized that the absolute letter size increase for all participants in post test. With this proposed research, we hope to support the hypothesis and indicate that this type of intervention may be helpful to reduce symptoms of micrographia. A larger study will most likely be needed to better determine the efficacy of this intervention.