The Way You Hold Your Pen Might Show Your Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
by Matthew Gilligan
Alzheimer’s disease is a terrible thing for any person and family to deal with. But the positive news is that there continues to be progress in figuring out early warning signs that can be spotted in people who may develop the disease later in life.
New research shows that how a person holds a pen and draws pictures could be linked to their risk of getting Alzheimer’s.
The research showed that about 75% of people who have dementia were not diagnosed with it and that the need to find an effective diagnostic tool is vital to spot the disease early. There have been earlier studies about the link between drawing and cognitive decline, but the researchers in this case decided to expand on that.
Professor Tetsuaki Arai said, “Although it’s clear that motion- and pause-related drawing traits can be used to screen for cognitive impairments, most screening tests remain relatively inaccurate. We wondered what might happen if we were to analyze these traits while people performed a range of different drawing tasks.”
Researchers studied 22 different drawing techniques of 92 older people, including how much pressure they put on the pen, drawing speed, pausing while drawing, and how they hold the pen.
The results showed that people who were categorized as having lower cognitive capabilities had more variability in their drawing speed and how they held their pens. Furthermore, the researchers noted that people with mild cognitive impairment had more differences than people with Alzheimer’s than they did with people with no impairments.
This led the researchers to argue that the test they administered could be used on people with early warning signs of Alzheimer’s to determine whether they may end up having the disease.
Professor Arai said, “Although this was a relatively small study, the results are encouraging. Our results pave the way for better screening tests for cognitive impairments.”
Let’s hope that Alzheimer’s research keeps moving in the right direction.