Hand-eye coordination in mild cognitive impairment

This study assessed hand-eye coordination in people who have some changes in their memory function.


  • Cognitive disorders

Project type

  • Understanding the condition

About the project

The early signs of dementia are usually thought to be changes in thinking skills such as memory and attention. It is not really known whether there are also slight changes in more physical skills, like reaching out to touch or grasp objects.

This aim of this study was to assess the coordination of reaching movements in people who have had some changes in memory function. This will help us to build a better overall picture of what the early signs of dementia might be.

The study involved participants attending a 90-minute session at the University of Edinburgh to complete standard tests that assess memory, perception, language and other thinking skills. Participants were also asked to do some tests of hand-eye coordination, reaching out to touch points of light shown on a tablet computer.


The study concluded that people experiencing difficulties in physical skills such as reaching out to touch and grasp objects, are an occasional, but not a common feature of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The researchers did however observe a significant increase in the time it took people with Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment to reach out and grasp objects when compared to healthy individuals. This suggests that these conditions may cause problems with visuomotor skills (the coordination of movement and visual perception by the brain) that individuals compensate for by slowing down their reach movement to maintain accuracy.

The final results of the study have been submitted for publication in a peer reviewed scientific journal and we will share the importance of key findings once published. 


Image: DragonImages/Getty Images. Image posed by a model.


Dunhill Medical Trust





Dr Alexandra Mitchell
0131 651 3232

Eligibility criteria

People who have been identified as having experienced some changes in their memory function. A diagnosis of dementia is not needed.