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Function of the hand as a predictor of early diagnosis and progression of Alzheimer's dementia: A systematic review.

BACKGROUND: The dominant feature of Alzheimer's dementia (AD) is gradual cognitive decline, which can be reflected by reduced finger dexterity.

OBJECTIVE: This review analyzed reports on hand function in AD patients to determine the possibility of using it for an early diagnosis and for monitoring the disease progression of AD.

METHODS: PubMed, Web of Science, EMBASE, and Cochrane library were searched systematically (search dates: 2000-2022), and relevant articles were cross-checked for related and relevant publications.

RESULTS: Seventeen studies assessed the association of the handgrip strength or dexterity with cognitive performance. The hand dexterity was strongly correlated with the cognitive function in all studies. In the hand dexterity test using the pegboard, there was little difference in the degree of decline in hand function between the healthy elderly (HE) group and the mild cognitive impairment (MCI) group. On the other hand, there was a difference in the hand function between the HE group and the AD group. In addition, the decline in hand dexterity is likely to develop from moderate to severe dementia. In complex hand movements, movement speed variations were greater in the AD than in the HE group, and the automaticity, regularity, and rhythm were reduced.

CONCLUSIONS: HE and AD can be identified by a simple hand motion test using a pegboard. The data can be used to predict dementia progression from moderate dementia to severe dementia. An evaluation of complex hand movements can help predict the transition from MCI to AD and the progression from moderate to severe dementia.

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