Original Article

Assessment of finger motor skills in individuals with mild cognitive impairment and patients with Alzheimerfs disease: Relationship between finger-to-thumb tapping and cognitive function

Shota Suzumura, OTR, MA, Aiko Osawa, MD, PhD, Taishi Nagahama, OTR, Izumi Kondo, MD, PhD, Yuko Sano, MS, Akihiko Kandori, PhD
Jpn J Compr Rehabil Sci 7: 19-28, 2016

Objective: Decreased finger dexterity can impede a personfs daily activities. The present study examined finger dexterity in individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and patients with Alzheimerfs disease (AD) compared with healthy older adults using a magnetic sensing finger tapping device (UB- 1).
Methods: Finger-to-thumb tapping tasks were carried out by 23 patients who were diagnosed with AD or MCI at the authorsf hospital (AD/MCI group) and 22 members of their families (healthy control group), and measurement parameters were calculated. Mini- Mental State Examination (MMSE) was carried out to assess cognitive function and the association between finger function and the results of MMSE was evaluated. Additionally, the measurement parameters were compared between the AD/MCI group (n = 14) and the healthy control group (n = 13) after adjusting for age.
Results: A correlation between finger function and MMSE results was observed in five measurement parameters (r >- 0.6). Additionally, in the AD/MCI group, the total traveling distance was shorter compared to that in the healthy control group and rhythm perturbations were observed (p < 0.05).
Discussion: In the present study, the AD/MCI group showed decreased finger dexterity, which was also found to be associated with decline in cognitive function. It is suggested that assessment of finger dexterity can be used as an indicator of cognitive function.

Key words: Alzheimerfs disease, finger function, dexterity, finger tapping

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