As common clinical measures for Friedreich's ataxia (FRDA) can lack sensitivity, we explored whether (a) the quantitative motor assessments of the Q-Motor battery can enhance clinical characterisation of FRDA; (b) clinical measures can predict Q-Motor outcomes and (c) Q-Motor is sensitive to longitudinal change. At baseline 29 patients and 23 controls and in a 1-year follow-up 14 patients and 6 controls were included. The Q-Motor included lift (manumotography), finger tapping (digitomotography) and pronate/supinate (dysdiadochomotography) tasks. To model responses, a search of generalised linear models was conducted, selecting best fitting models, using demographic and clinical data as predictors. Predictors from selected models were used in linear mixed models to investigate longitudinal changes. Patients with FRDA performed worse than controls on most measures. Modelling of the pronate/supinate task was dominated by SCAFI (SCA functional index) subtasks, while tapping task and lift task models suggested a complex relationship with clinical measures. Longitudinal modelling implied minor changes from baseline to follow-up, while clinical scales mainly showed no change in this sample. Overall Q-Motor likely has favourable properties for assessing distinct motor aspects in severe FRDA as it can be administered in wheelchair-bound patients. Further longitudinal research is warranted to fully characterise its relation to routinely used measures and scales for FRDA.
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