How you hold a pen may provide information on Alzheimer’s risk

How you hold a pen may provide information on Alzheimer's risk
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How you hold your pen may give you insight into Alzheimer’s risk

Alzheimer's: How you hold a pen provides information about your risk

How you write or draw can provide information about the cognitive state of your brain


Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and is currently incurable. However, if the neurological disorder is diagnosed early, treatments can shorten the course. Researchers have now identified a potentially revolutionary early diagnosis method.

b75 percent of all dementia patients are not yet diagnosed — according to neurologists at the University of Tsukuba in Japan. The incurable brain disorder is treacherous: In the most common form of Alzheimer’s disease, nerve cells in the brain slowly die. As a result, those affected become increasingly forgetful, confused and disoriented.

it can help

Senior retired man doing puzzles, hands only.

If dementia can be detected at an early stage, the chances of slowing and counteracting the deterioration of nerve cells are at least slightly better with appropriate treatments. Researchers around the world are therefore working to develop more accurate diagnostic options for this disease.

One of them could be writing and drawing tests like those of Japanese medical professionals. University of Tsukubas found in one study. They examined 92 participants between the ages of 65 and 98 from the United States and Japan. They published their results in the journal “JMIR Preliminary Research,

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A simple writing and drawing test can provide information about the brain’s cognitive abilities

Based on the results of previous studies, doctors suspect there may be a link between the way people are attracted and potential cognitive decline, study leader Professor Tetsuki Arai explained in a statement. Press release, So far, however, most tests have been limited to only a few tasks and are not accurate. Therefore, Professor Arai and his colleagues set out to develop a more accurate diagnostic drawing test.

man on a tablet

Researchers tested with a tablet

Source: Getty Images/Westend61

This is how Alzheimer’s test happened

In the newly developed test, 92 individuals were asked to complete complex drawing and writing tasks on a tablet. The researchers analyzed 22 different characteristics of their drawing technique: such as the pressure with which the pen is held and the pen’s pressure on the writing surface, the number of pauses they take while drawing, how they hold the pen and The momentum also becomes what they draw. In addition, participants had to complete an already recognized test for a diagnosis of dementia, the so-called Montreal Cognitive Assessment,

The results were then fed into an artificial intelligence machine learning model to create a scale between “normal cognition”, “mild cognitive impairment” and “Alzheimer’s disease”. Therefore the assessment of the potential risk of Alzheimer’s depends on many factors and can only be clarified by a specialist.

elderly woman on tablet

Diagnosis of early-stage Alzheimer’s isn’t always clear

credit: Getty Images/Momo Productions

An analysis of the results showed that those with a lower cognitive index on the scale showed greater variability in their drawing speed and the way they held the pen. He also took more breaks from drawing. The difference between people with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s patients was larger than between subjects with general cognitive impairment and those with mild impairment. This may indicate that the test may also be used as an early warning sign for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

Will an online test be possible to diagnose dementia in the future?

The researchers point out that the study involved only a relatively small number of participants. However, the results are very striking and will provide a clear indication, the researchers write in their study. You can even imagine using the results to do some kind of online self-assessment.

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To do this, however, a program must first be developed that collects data from these test results anonymously and thus can provide long-term information about the course of the disease – and consequently future Alzheimer’s patients. their quality of life improves because their disease was detected earlier.

Two seniors doing Nordic walking in nature

Adequate exercise and social interaction may slow the progression of dementia

Source: Getty Images/Westend61

Researchers are still researching a cure for Alzheimer’s. However, people already with potential dementia risk factors should focus on avoiding them. An overall healthy lifestyle and diet, social mobility, ie meeting other people, and adequate exercise are of first aid.

In addition to the way you write and draw, looking into your eyes can also help detect dementia early:


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