Hold that pose: capturing cervical dystonia's head deviation severity from video

Zheng Zhang, Elizabeth Cisneros, Ha Yeon Lee, Jeanne P. Vu, Qiyu Chen, Casey N. Benadof, Jacob Whitehill, Ryin Rouzbehani, Dominique T. Sy, Jeannie S. Huang, Terrence J. Sejnowski, Joseph Jankovic, Stewart Factor, Christopher G. Goetz, Richard L. Barbano, Joel S. Perlmutter, Hyder A. Jinnah, Brian D. Berman, Sarah Pirio Richardson, Glenn T. StebbinsCynthia L. Comella, David A. Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: Deviated head posture is a defining characteristic of cervical dystonia (CD). Head posture severity is typically quantified with clinical rating scales such as the Toronto Western Spasmodic Torticollis Rating Scale (TWSTRS). Because clinical rating scales are inherently subjective, they are susceptible to variability that reduces their sensitivity as outcome measures. The variability could be circumvented with methods to measure CD head posture objectively. However, previously used objective methods require specialized equipment and have been limited to studies with a small number of cases. The objective of this study was to evaluate a novel software system—the Computational Motor Objective Rater (CMOR)—to quantify multi-axis directionality and severity of head posture in CD using only conventional video camera recordings. Methods: CMOR is based on computer vision and machine learning technology that captures 3D head angle from video. We used CMOR to quantify the axial patterns and severity of predominant head posture in a retrospective, cross-sectional study of 185 patients with isolated CD recruited from 10 sites in the Dystonia Coalition. Results: The predominant head posture involved more than one axis in 80.5% of patients and all three axes in 44.4%. CMOR's metrics for head posture severity correlated with severity ratings from movement disorders neurologists using both the TWSTRS-2 and an adapted version of the Global Dystonia Rating Scale (rho = 0.59–0.68, all p <0.001). Conclusions: CMOR's convergent validity with clinical rating scales and reliance upon only conventional video recordings supports its future potential for large scale multisite clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)684-694
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Clinical and Translational Neurology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022


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