Defining Hand Stereotypies in Rett Syndrome: A Movement Disorders Perspective

Marisela E. Dy, Jeff L. Waugh, Nutan Sharma, Heather O'Leary, Kush Kapur, Alissa M. D'Gama, Mustafa Sahin, David K. Urion, Walter E. Kaufmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Introduction Hand stereotypies (HS) are a primary diagnostic criterion for Rett syndrome (RTT) but are difficult to characterize and quantify systematically. Methods We collected video on 27 girls (2-12 years of age) with classic RTT who participated in a mecasermin trial. The present study focused exclusively on video analyses, by reviewing two five-minute windows per subject to identify the two most common HS. Three raters with expertise in movement disorders independently rated the five-minute windows using standardized terminology to determine the level of agreement. We iteratively refined the protocol in three stages to improve descriptive accuracy, categorizing HS as “central” or “peripheral,” “simple” or “complex,” scoring each hand separately. Inter-rater agreement was analyzed using Kappa statistics. Results In the initial protocol evaluating HS by video, inter-rater agreement was 20.7%. In the final protocol, inter-rater agreement for the two most frequent HS was higher than the initial protocol at 50%. Conclusion Phenotypic variability makes standardized evaluation of HS in RTT a challenge; we achieved only 50% level of agreement and only for the most frequent HS. Therefore, objective measures are needed to evaluate HS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-95
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Neurology
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • Rett syndrome
  • actigraphy
  • hand stereotypies
  • operational definitions
  • video analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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