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HD-DRUM, a tablet-based drumming training App intervention for people with Huntington Disease: App development study

Metzler-Baddeley, Claudia ORCID:, Busse-Morris, Monica ORCID:, Drew, Cheney ORCID:, Pallmann, Philip ORCID:, Cantera Gomez, Jaime, Ioakeimidis, Vasileios and Rosser, Anne ORCID: 2023. HD-DRUM, a tablet-based drumming training App intervention for people with Huntington Disease: App development study. Journal of Medical Internet Research 2023 (7) , e48395. 10.2196/48395

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Background: Huntington disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative condition that leads to progressive loss of cognitive-executive and motor functions, largely due to basal ganglia (BG) atrophy. Currently, there are no therapeutic interventions tailored to address executive and motor dysfunction in people with HD. Music-based interventions may aid executive abilities by compensating for impaired BG-reliant timing and rhythm generation using external rhythmic beats. Here, we applied an integrated knowledge translation (IKT) framework to co-design a tablet-based rhythmic drumming training app (HD-DRUM) to stimulate executive and motor abilities in people with HD. Objective: The primary aim was to develop the HD-DRUM app for at-home use that addressed the accessibility needs of people with HD and allowed for the quantification of performance improvements and adherence for controlled clinical evaluation. Methods: The IKT framework was applied to iteratively refine the design of HD-DRUM. This process involved 3 phases of knowledge user engagement and co-design: a web-based survey of people with HD (n=29) to inform about their accessibility needs, usability testing of tablet-based touch screens as hardware solutions, and usability testing of the design and build of HD-DRUM to meet the identified accessibility needs of people affected by HD and their clinicians (n=12). Results: The survey identified accessibility problems due to cognitive and motor control impairments such as difficulties in finding and navigating through information and using PC keyboards and mouses to interact with apps. Tablet-based touch screens were identified as feasible and accessible solutions for app delivery. Key elements to ensure that the app design and build met the needs of people with HD were identified and implemented. These included the facilitation of intuitive navigation through the app using large and visually distinctive buttons; the use of audio and visual cues as training guides; and gamification, positive feedback, and drumming to background music as a means to increase motivation and engagement. The co-design development process resulted in the proof-of-concept HD-DRUM app that is described here according to the Template for Intervention Description and Replication checklist. HD-DRUM can be used at home, allowing the quantification of performance improvements and adherence for clinical evaluation, matching of training difficulty to users’ performance levels using gamification, and future scale-up to reach a wide range of interested users. Conclusions: Applying an IKT-based co-design framework involving knowledge user engagement allowed for the iterative refinement of the design and build of the tablet-based HD-DRUM app intervention, with the aim of stimulating BG-reliant cognitive and motor functions. Mapping the intervention against the Template for Intervention Description and Replication framework to describe complex interventions allowed for the detailed description of the HD-DRUM intervention and identification of areas that required refinement before finalizing the intervention protocol.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)
Publisher: JMIR Publications
ISSN: 1438-8871
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 22 August 2023
Date of Acceptance: 4 August 2023
Last Modified: 04 Jan 2024 16:59

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