Navah Z. Ratzon


4 The Correlation between Eye Movements, Attentional Shifting, and Driving Simulator Performance among Adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Authors: Navah Z. Ratzon, Anat Keren, Shlomit Y. Greenberg


Car accidents are a problem worldwide. Adolescents’ involvement in car accidents is higher in comparison to the overall driving population. Researchers estimate the risk of accidents among adolescents with symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to be 1.2 to 4 times higher than that of their peers. Individuals with ADHD exhibit unique patterns of eye movements and attentional shifts that play an important role in driving. In addition, deficiencies in cognitive and executive functions among adolescents with ADHD is likely to put them at greater risk for car accidents. Fifteen adolescents with ADHD and 17 matched controls participated in the study. Individuals from both groups attended local public schools and did not have a driver’s license. Participants’ mean age was 16.1 (SD=.23). As part of the experiment, they all completed a driving simulation session, while their eye movements were monitored. Data were recorded by an eye tracker: The entire driving session was recorded, registering the tester’s exact gaze position directly on the screen. Eye movements and simulator data were analyzed using Matlab (Mathworks, USA). Participants’ cognitive and metacognitive abilities were evaluated as well. No correlation was found between saccade properties, regions of interest, and simulator performance in either group, although participants with ADHD allocated more visual scan time (25%, SD = .13%) to a smaller segment of dashboard area, whereas controls scanned the monitor more evenly (15%, SD = .05%). The visual scan pattern found among participants with ADHD indicates a distinct pattern of engagement-disengagement of spatial attention compared to that of non-ADHD participants as well as lower attention flexibility, which likely affects driving. Additionally the lower the results on the cognitive tests, the worse driving performance was. None of the participants had prior driving experience, yet participants with ADHD distinctly demonstrated difficulties in scanning their surroundings, which may impair driving. This stresses the need to consider intervention programs, before driving lessons begin, to help adolescents with ADHD acquire proper driving habits, avoid typical driving errors, and achieve safer driving.

Keywords: ADHD, Eye Movements, driving simulator, attentional shifting

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3 The Effectiveness of an Occupational Therapy Metacognitive-Functional Intervention for the Improvement of Human Risk Factors of Bus Drivers

Authors: Navah Z. Ratzon, Rachel Shichrur


Background: Many studies have assessed and identified the risk factors of safe driving, but there is relatively little research-based evidence concerning the ability to improve the driving skills of drivers in general and in particular of bus drivers, who are defined as a population at risk. Accidents involving bus drivers can endanger dozens of passengers and cause high direct and indirect damages. Objective: To examine the effectiveness of a metacognitive-functional intervention program for the reduction of risk factors among professional drivers relative to a control group. Methods: The study examined 77 bus drivers working for a large public company in the center of the country, aged 27-69. Twenty-one drivers continued to the intervention stage; four of them dropped out before the end of the intervention. The intervention program we developed was based on previous driving models and the guiding occupational therapy practice framework model in Israel, while adjusting the model to the professional driving in public transportation and its particular risk factors. Treatment focused on raising awareness to safe driving risk factors identified at prescreening (ergonomic, perceptual-cognitive and on-road driving data), with reference to the difficulties that the driver raises and providing coping strategies. The intervention has been customized for each driver and included three sessions of two hours. The effectiveness of the intervention was tested using objective measures: In-Vehicle Data Recorders (IVDR) for monitoring natural driving data, traffic accident data before and after the intervention, and subjective measures (occupational performance questionnaire for bus drivers). Results: Statistical analysis found a significant difference between the degree of change in the rate of IVDR perilous events (t(17)=2.14, p=0.046), before and after the intervention. There was significant difference in the number of accidents per year before and after the intervention in the intervention group (t(17)=2.11, p=0.05), but no significant change in the control group. Subjective ratings of the level of performance and of satisfaction with performance improved in all areas tested following the intervention. The change in the ‘human factors/person’ field, was significant (performance : t=- 2.30, p=0.04; satisfaction with performance : t=-3.18, p=0.009). The change in the ‘driving occupation/tasks’ field, was not significant but showed a tendency toward significance (t=-1.94, p=0.07,). No significant differences were found in driving environment-related variables. Conclusions: The metacognitive-functional intervention significantly improved the objective and subjective measures of safety of bus drivers’ driving. These novel results highlight the potential contribution of occupational therapists, using metacognitive functional treatment, to preventing car accidents among the healthy drivers population and improving the well-being of these drivers. This study also enables familiarity with advanced technologies of IVDR systems and enriches the knowledge of occupational therapists in regards to using a wide variety of driving assessment tools and making the best practice decisions.

Keywords: bus drivers, IVDR, human risk factors, metacognitive-functional intervention

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2 Estimating the Efficiency of a Meta-Cognitive Intervention Program to Reduce the Risk Factors of Teenage Drivers with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder While Driving

Authors: Navah Z. Ratzon, Talia Glick, Iris Manor


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a chronic disorder that affects the sufferer’s functioning throughout life and in various spheres of activity, including driving. Difficulties in cognitive functioning and executive functions are often part and parcel of the ADHD diagnosis, and thus form a risk factor in driving. Studies examining the effectiveness of intervention programs for improving and rehabilitating driving in typical teenagers have been conducted in relatively small numbers; while studies on similar programs for teenagers with ADHD have been especially scarce. The aim of the present study has been to examine the effectiveness of a metacognitive occupational therapy intervention program for reducing risk factors in driving among teenagers with ADHD. The present study included 37 teenagers aged 17 to 19. They included 23 teenagers with ADHD divided into experimental (11) and control (12) groups; as well as 14 non-ADHD teenagers forming a second control group. All teenagers taking part in the study were examined in the Tel Aviv University driving lab, and underwent cognitive diagnoses and a driving simulator test. Every subject in the intervention group took part in 3 assessment meetings, and two metacognitive treatment meetings. The control groups took part in two assessment meetings with a follow-up meeting 3 months later. In all the study’s groups, the treatment’s effectiveness was tested by comparing monitoring results on the driving simulator at the first and second evaluations. In addition, the driving of 5 subjects from the intervention group was monitored continuously from a month prior to the start of the intervention, a month during the phase of the intervention and another month until the end of the intervention. In the ADHD control group, the driving of 4 subjects was monitored from the end of the first evaluation for a period of 3 months. The study’s findings were affected by the fact that the ADHD control group was different from the two other groups, and exhibited ADHD characteristics manifested by impaired executive functions and lower metacognitive abilities relative to their peers. The study found partial, moderate, non-significant correlations between driving skills and cognitive functions, executive functions, and perceptions and attitudes towards driving. According to the driving simulator test results and the limited sampling results of actual driving, it was found that a metacognitive occupational therapy intervention may be effective in reducing risk factors in driving among teenagers with ADHD relative to their peers with and without ADHD. In summary, the results of the present study indicate a positive direction that speaks to the viability of using a metacognitive occupational therapy intervention program for reducing risk factors in driving. A further study is required that will include a bigger number of subjects, add actual driving monitoring hours, and assign subjects randomly to the various groups.

Keywords: Occupational therapy, ADHD, simulator, teenagers, driving, driving monitoring, metacognitive intervention

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1 The Correlation between Musculoskeletal Disorders and Body Postures during Playing among Guitarists

Authors: Sigal Portnoy, Navah Z. Ratzon, Shlomit Cohen


This work focuses on posture and risk factors for the musculoskeletal disorder in guitarists, which constitutes the largest group of musicians today. The source of the problems experienced by these musicians is linked to physical, psychosocial and personal risk factors. These muscular problems are referred to as Playing Related Musculoskeletal Disorder (PRMD). There is not enough research that specifically studies guitar players, and to the extent of our knowledge, there is almost no reference to the characteristics of their movement patterns while they play. This is in spite of the high prevalence of PRMD in this population. Kinematic research may provide a basis for the development of a prevention plan for this population and their unique characteristics of playing patterns. The aim of the study was to investigate the correlation between risk factors for PRMD among guitar players and self-reporting of pain in the skeletal muscles, and specifically to test whether there are differences in the kinematics of the upper body while playing in a sitting or standing posture. Twenty-five guitarists, aged 18-35, participated in the study. The methods included a motion analysis using a motion capture system, anthropometric measurements and questionnaires relating to risk factors. The questionnaires used were the Standardized Nordic Questionnaire for the Analysis of Musculoskeletal Symptoms and the Demand Control Support Questionnaire, as well as a questionnaire of personal details. All of the study participants complained of musculoskeletal pain in the past year; the most frequent complaints being in the left wrist. Statistically significant correlations were found between biodemographic indices and reports of pain in the past year and the previous week. No significant correlations were found between the physical posture while playing and reports of pain among professional guitarists. However, a difference was found in several kinematic parameters between seated and standing playing postures. In a majority of the joints, the joint angles while playing in a seated position were more extreme than those during standing. This finding may suggest a higher risk for musculoskeletal disorder while playing in a seated position. In conclusion, the results of the present research highlight the prevalence of musculoskeletal problems in guitar players and its correlation with various risk factors. The finding supports the need for intervention in the form of prevention through identifying the risk factors and addressing them. Relating to the person, to their occupation and environment, which are the basis of proper occupational therapy, can help meet this need.

Keywords: motion tracking, body posture, PRMD, guitarists

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