Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Pan, Zhujun

Committee Member

Chander, Harish

Committee Member

Chen, Chih-Chia

Committee Member

Aiken, Christopher

Committee Member

Lamberth, John

Other Advisors or Committee Members

Knight, Adam

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Exercise Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Education


Department of Kinesiology


Introduction: Persons with Parkinson’s disease (PD) experience changes cortically, subcortically and behaviorally. This dissertation examines the asymmetry of motor behavior to explore the role of asymmetry in persons with PD and its connection to clinical symptoms. Purpose: Project 1: To assess the hand asymmetry difference in young adults versus older adults. Project 2: To investigate the difference in hand asymmetry in older adults and persons with PD. Project 3: To explore the correlation between function and clinical symptoms of persons with PD. Methods: 55 right-handed participants [Young Adults (YA) = 20, Female = 10; Older Adults (OA) = 20, Female = 10; Persons with PD = 15, Female = 5] were recruited and performed motor tasks: Purdue Pegboard test, grip strength test, response task, thumb opposition task, tapping task, three variations of timed-up-and-go test (TUG), single leg stance task (SLS), Weight Distribution test and Limits of Stability test. The two-way ANOVA was conducted to examine a variance between YA and OA. A separate two-way ANOVA was conducted comparing variance between OA and persons with PD. The purpose was to explore asymmetries, characterized by a significant difference between groups’ left and right sides. Pearson’s correlation was implemented to examine connection of clinical symptoms and motor behavior. Statistics: IBM SPSS 24 software was used. Two 2-way ANOVAs with the between group factor of group (Young vs. Older in Project 1; Older vs. PD in project 2), and within group factor of hand (Right vs. Left in Study 1 & Study 2) were used to examine if age (or PD) changes hand asymmetry. Pearson’s correlation coefficient was used to determine correlations between Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) and motor tasks in PD patients (Study 3). Results: Project 1: Results indicate asymmetry reduces with age in fine motor tasks containing speed, dexterity and strength components. Project 2: The basal ganglia dysfunction does not overall further exacerbate the reduced asymmetry with age. Project 3: Clinical symptoms of PD measured by the UPDRS are generally not associated with fine motor tasks of this study.