A team of researchers conducted a study to identify major cognitive domains involved in learning to use the DEKA Innovative Solutions DEKA arm. They also sought to specify cognitive domain-specific skills associated with basic users versus advanced users, and examine whether baseline memory and executive function predicted learning to use the device. Their results indicate that the cognitive domains of attention and processing speed were statistically significantly related to proficiency of DEKA arm use and predicted level of proficiency, which may help set expectations for the duration and intensity of training and set reasonable proficiency goals.
The study sample included 35 people with upper-limb amputations. They were administered a brief neuropsychological test battery prior to the start of DEKA arm training, and physical performance measures were conducted at the beginning of and following training. The study authors concluded that the results support use of neuropsychological tests to predict learning and use of a multifunctional prosthesis.
The study was published online April 6 in Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology.