Impaired graphesthesia, a prevalent finding among patients with mild cognitive impairment, may be an early sign when considered with memory loss that a patient has preclinical Alzheimer's disease, according to a study.
Some neurologists screen MCI patients with a graphesthesia test, Edward Zamrini, M.
Graphesthesia is the sense by which people identify figures or numbers drawn on their hands with a dull-pointed object.
In an assessment for graphesthesia, people hold one hand out in front of them as if reading from it with the hand's long axis perpendicular to the midline axis of the body.
If they fail to do so, they may be diagnosed with impaired graphesthesia.
The prevalence of impaired graphesthesia was 54% in the MCI group, 79% in the Alzheimer's group, and 33% in controls.
After incorporating such an exam into his practice, "I observed a disproportionately high number of my patients with MCI that have impaired graphesthesia," he said.
If additional studies support impaired graphesthesia as a predictive variable, it would be the first physical sign of preclinical Alzheimer's disease.
The parietal areas are important to interpretation of senses, including graphesthesia.
The researchers grouped patients according to whether their MMSE score was 24 or greater or less than 24 to determine the effect of cognitive impairment on graphesthesia performance.