Text Size: a  |   a 

MS Patients' Handwriting Ability Correlates with Movement, Sensory and Cognitive Impairment

January 3, 2018

Handwriting in multiple sclerosis patients deteriorate because it aligns with the drops in their movement, sensory and cognitive skills. This was found in a study called, “The kinematics of handwriting movements as expression of cognitive and sensorimotor impairments in people with multiple sclerosis.”

This is due to the loss of hand dexterity and finger movement control that is a result of MS. It affects a patient’s capacity to manipulate objects as well as coordinate hand movements, which are all the skills needed in handwriting.

Researchers stated that, “Handwriting is an important and high-value activity, which requires complex sensorimotor, perceptual and cognitive skills.” With diseases like MS and Parkinson’s, at the rate at which these abilities decline, one’s handwriting could deteriorate.

Previous studies display that MS patients had less handwriting rhythm and control than healthy people. As for this study, researchers compared the handwriting movements of both MS patients and healthy volunteers.

The study observed 19 MS patients and 22 healthy age-matched controls. The handwriting of the MS patients in comparison to the controls had appeared to be much different. The patients also took a lot longer to write each word and space the words they were writing, which overall led them to taking much longer to write a complete sentence in comparison to the healthy controls.

The analysis of handwriting strokes also showed that the MS patients’ handwriting wasn’t as smooth as that of the controls. There was also a correlation found between patients’ movement abilities and cognitive status on the one hand and their handwriting ability on the other.

The team said it believed “these findings might be very useful when planning rehabilitative task-oriented interventions focused on handwriting abilities.”

They also said that rehabilitations specialists should consider the motor and cognitive status of those with MS in order to tailor the intervention.