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Index Finger Pointing Observed in Movement Disorders

Front Neurol; ePub 2018 Jul 4; Vives-Rodriguez, et al

Index finger pointing (IFP) during gait, likely a subtle form of hand dystonia, was observed in 14.4% of movement disorder patients, a recent study found. The highest prevalence was in dystonia, the second highest in a disease that is often accompanied by dystonia (Parkinson disease [PD]), a lower prevalence among individuals with a disease that is rarely accompanied by dystonia (essential tremor [ET]), and the lowest in healthy controls. Researchers recruited patients with an established diagnosis of PD, dystonia, or ET, and healthy controls. All participants were videotaped while walking. Videotapes were evaluated by the authors, blinded to diagnosis, to assess the presence or absence of IFP. They found:

  • 250 participants included 50 dystonia, 50 PD, 80 ET, and 70 controls.
  • IFP was present in 29/250 (11.6%) participants: 10 dystonia (20.0%), 8 PD (16.0%), 8 ET (10.0%), and 3 controls (3.8%).
  • There was a significant evidence of a trend in the odds of having this sign among disorders with higher risk of dystonic features.


Vives-Rodriguez A, Louis ED. Index finger pointing (likely a subtle form of hand dystonia): Prevalence across movement disorders. [Published online ahead of print July 4, 2018]. Front Neurol. doi:10.3389/fneur.2018.00542.

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