Journal of Alzheimer's Disease

Characteristics of Drawing Process Differentiate Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia with Lewy Bodies

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BACKGROUND: Early differential diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is important for treatment and disease management, but it remains challenging. Although computer-based drawing analysis may help differentiate AD and DLB, it has not been studied. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to identify the differences in features characterizing the drawing process between AD, DLB, and cognitively normal (CN) individuals, and to evaluate the validity of using these features to identify and differentiate AD and DLB. METHODS: We collected drawing data with a digitizing tablet and pen from 123 community-dwelling older adults in three clinical diagnostic groups of mild cognitive impairment or dementia due to AD (n = 47) or Lewy body disease (LBD; n = 27), and CN (n = 49), matched for their age, sex, and years of education. We then investigated drawing features in terms of the drawing speed, pressure, and pauses. RESULTS: Reduced speed and reduced smoothness in speed and pressure were observed particularly in the LBD group, while increased pauses and total durations were observed in both the AD and LBD groups. Machine-learning models using these features achieved an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of 0.80 for AD versus CN, 0.88 for LBD versus CN, and 0.77 for AD versus LBD. CONCLUSION: Our results indicate how different types of drawing features were particularly discriminative between the diagnostic groups, and how the combination of these features can facilitate the identification and differentiation of AD and DLB.