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      The Manual Function Test: Norms for 20- to 90-Year-Olds and Effects of Age, Gender, and Hand Dominance on Dexterity


      Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability. Accurate assessment of motor function is important for documenting disability and the effectiveness of rehabilitative treatment. The Manual Function Test (MFT) was developed to evaluate unilateral manual performance in hemiparetic patients after stroke. This test consists of eight items, including the pegboard task, an item assessing dexterity. The total MFT score can range from 0 (severely impaired) to 32 (full function). We sought to determine normative data and explore influences of age, gender, and hand dominance. Three-hundred thirty-three healthy adult subjects between 20 and 90 years old were studied. Total MFT scores showed negative relationship to age. Compared with subjects in their 20s, those 50 or more years old had lower total MFT scores for dominant hands, as did those 40 or more years old for nondominant hands. For subjects in their 30s and 50s, total MFT scores for women were greater than for men concerning nondominant hands. No such gender difference in total MFT scores was noted for dominant hands. In the pegboard test, the number of pegs achieved for dominant hands was related to age when age was 50 or over, and when age 40 or over for nondominant hands. However, rates of decline in numbers of pegs achieved were similar between hands. In determining MFT norms, total score and items testing dexterity were influenced by age, gender, and hand dominance.

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