Study Assesses Computer Use in Individuals With RA
Adults with rheumatoid arthritis typed at normal speed, but often were slower when using mouse
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Many people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can type on a computer as quickly as someone without the condition, but their use of a mouse may be slower, according to research published in the February issue of Arthritis Care & Research.
Nancy A. Baker and Joan C. Rogers, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh analyzed data from 45 people with RA who used a computer. Participants underwent tests of their hand function and range of motion, general activity limitations, and keyboard and mouse ability.
The researchers found few significant associations between impairments in hand function and participants' speed in using the keyboard and mouse. Speed on the keyboard was associated with age and training in touch-typing, while mouse speed was associated with age. On average, the participants' keyboarding speed was similar to that of users without impairment in earlier research, but their mouse speed was slower.
"In conclusion, impairments in hand function have a limited association with reduced computer use speed; it is task-specific skill training that appears to have the strongest relationship. Many computer users with RA will not experience reduced productivity in typing speeds, although some may be slower than their non-impaired counterparts for mouse use. This reduced productivity has the potential to place workers with RA at risk for work disability," the authors conclude.