A handwriting-based protocol for assessing neurodegenerative dementia

Maria Teresa Angelillo, Donato Impedovo, Giuseppe Pirlo, Gennaro Vessio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Handwriting dynamics is relevant to discriminate people affected by neurodegenerative dementia from healthy subjects. This can be possible by administering simple and easy-to-perform handwriting/drawing tasks on digitizing tablets provided with electronic pens. Encouraging results have been recently obtained; however, the research community still lacks an acquisition protocol aimed at (i) collecting different traits useful for research purposes and (ii) supporting neurologists in their daily activities. This work proposes a handwriting-based protocol that integrates handwriting/drawing tasks and a digitized version of standard cognitive and functional tests already accepted, tested, and used by the neurological community. The protocol takes the form of a modular framework which facilitates the modification, deletion, and incorporation of new tasks in accordance with specific requirements. A preliminary evaluation of the protocol has been carried out to assess its usability. Successively, the protocol has been administered to more than 100 elderly MCI and match controlled subjects. The proposed protocol intends to provide a “cognitive model” for evaluating the relationship between cognitive functions and handwriting processes in healthy subjects as well as in cognitively impaired patients. The long-term goal of this research is the development of an easy-to-use and non-invasive methodology for detecting and monitoring neurodegenerative dementia during screening and follow-up.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)576-586
Number of pages11
JournalCognitive Computation
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Acquisition protocol
  • Computer-aided diagnosis
  • Handwriting analysis
  • Handwriting behavior
  • Neurodegenerative disease


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