Finger Tapping Patterns Detect mTBI and Malingering

man in hospital bed

finger_tapping_testFinger tapping is a common neurological assessment in which the neurologist asks the patient to tap his finger as fast as possible. Slowed or abnormal finger tapping can be a sign of brain disturbances, including traumatic brain injury.

In a recent study, computerized finger tapping was found to be a sensitive measure of motor impairment after a mild TBI. The researchers compared the slowed finger tapping of mild TBI patients to malingering subjects, and found that the finger tapping of the malingering subjects was abnormally slower than that of the mild TBI patients.

Finger tapping may therefore be a reliable tool to differentiate between the motor speed of patients with mild TBI from people exhibiting malingering behaviors.

Hubel KA, Yund EW, Herron TJ, & Woods DL. Computerized measures of finger tapping: Reliability, malingering, and traumatic brain injury. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology. (August 2013).