OBJECTIVE. This study examined whether weighting the forearm during feeding decreased tremors and increased functional feeding in adults with intention tremor caused by static brain lesions.
METHOD. Five individuals with various diagnoses, ages 30–81, were videotaped during 8 or 16 meal sessions, alternating treatment and control conditions within each meal. In this single-case design, treatment consisted of application of a weighted fabric wrist cuff and the baseline (control) condition employed an identical cuff with the weights removed. Dependent variables studied were time to acquire and deliver a bite, grams of food eaten, number of times food was spilled, number of times a compensatory technique was used, participant self-rating, and investigator rating of the severity of the tremor.
RESULTS. All five participants demonstrated improvement during treatment in one or more of the dependent variables. t Tests of the means of baseline and treatment half-sessions incorporating conservative control of Type I error revealed the following statistically significant improvements under the weighted condition: Participants 3, 4, and 5 took less time to acquire a bite; Participants 4 and 5 made fewer spills; Participants 3 and 5 showed a diminished tremor. There were no statistically significant decreases in function on any variable for any participants during the weighted condition.
CONCLUSION. The application of weight to the wrist of a person with upper-extremity tremor is accompanied by some functional improvement in self-feeding for some individuals. The size of benefit seems to be sensitive to the amount of weight used.