Background: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative dementia of
old age, and the leading chronic disease contributor to disability and dependence among older people
worldwide. Clinically, AD is characterized by a progressive cognitive decline that interferes with the
ability to perform the activities of daily living. Handwriting and drawing are complex human activities
that entail an intricate blend of cognitive, kinesthetic, and perceptual-motor features.
Objective: To compare the kinematic characteristics of handwriting and drawing between patients with
AD, patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and healthy controls.
Methods: We used a cross-sectional and observational design to assess the kinematic and pressure features
of handwriting and drawing using a computerized system. Participants were asked to copy one
sentence, write a dictated sentence and an own sentence, copy two and-three dimensions drawings, and
to execute the clock drawing test. By means of discriminant analyses, we explored the value of several
kinematic features in order to classify participants depending on their degree of cognitive functioning.
Results: The sample consisted of 52 participants (23 AD, 12 MCI, and 17 healthy controls) with a
mean age of 69.7 years (SD=8.11). The degree of correct classification was largely dependent on the
nature of the groups to be classified and the specific task, and ranged between 63.5% and 100%. Diagnostic
accuracy based on kinematic measures showed higher specificity values for distinguishing between
normal and impaired cognition (MCI and AD), and higher sensitivity was obtained when distinguishing
between impaired cognition levels (MCI vs
Conclusion: The kinematic features of writing and drawing procedures, rather than the final product,
may be a useful and objective complement to the clinical assessment of patients with cognitive impairment.