Adapted Feeding Utensils for People with Essential Tremor or Tremor Related to Parkinson’s Disease

Principal Investigator: Joyce Sabari, PhD, OTR, FAOTA

SUNY Downstate Medical Center is looking for participants from the ET community in New York City to help clinically study a variety of adapted feeding utensils designed for people affected by essential tremor or a parkinsonian tremor.

Various products have been developed to help people compensate for essential tremor during feeding. These include weighted utensils, utensils with built-up handles, and, more recently, the Liftware line of utensils, which uses Active Cancellation of Tremor (ACT) technology to stabilize a person’s involuntary tremor. Health professionals often recommend these devices to patients and there is some preliminary evidence supporting and refuting the efficacy of individual products. However, there has never been a structured investigation comparing the effectiveness of these different products for individuals who experience essential tremor.

In this study, Dr. Sabari will recruit individuals who experience difficulty with feeding tasks due to mild to moderate essential tremor. Please download and complete a Screening Test, to ensure your tremor falls within the mild to moderate range. Having mild to moderate essential tremor is one of the inclusion criteria for participation in this study.

Once you’ve completed the Screening Test, contact Sr. Sabari’s team for further qualification information. If you qualify, you will be asked to complete a questionnaire about the impact of tremor on your daily activities. Each participant will also perform a simulated feeding task under 5 conditions:

  • A standard teaspoon (the control condition);
  • A weighted teaspoon – with standard handle circumference;
  • A swivel spoon with built-up handle;
  • A weighted teaspoon with built-up handle; and
  • A Liftware spoon.

The participant will then compare each utensil to the standard teaspoon and self-rate the device in terms of speed, accuracy, and appearance of performance.

Complete this Screening Test first, and then contact Dr. Sabari’s team for more information: Email or call 718.270.7731 for more information.