31st Jan 2024
Rationale: Dementia is a health condition marked by progressive cognitive decline and disability. Some motor issues become common in advanced stages. Recent studies indicate that motor issues may also appear in early stages. Handwriting, a tool for studying fine motor control or executive functioning in both healthy and unhealthy populations, displays changes at different stages of dementia.
Aims: The study aimed to develop a handwriting assessment protocol to better characterize the handwriting characteristics of individuals with dementia. This protocol is designed to deepen understanding in this area, potentially aid in early detection, and help in planning interventions.
Methods: The participants, aged 50 and above, both with and without dementia, are being recruited in the Évora region, Portugal. Sources include outpatient consultations at the Neurology Service of Hospital do Espírito Santo, day care centers, and residential facilities for the elderly. Participants are asked to complete handwriting tasks using paper, pencil, and a digital platform, while wearing an EEG cap to measure brain activity. This research, led by the University of Évora, received ethical approval (GD/40835/2021).
Results: Data are still being collected. Preliminary findings will be presented at the conference.
Summary: The study’s focus on handwriting as a putative aid in dementia diagnosis represents an innovative approach that may be of help in understanding and managing this complex condition.