Author(s): Wang HX, Ericsson K, Winblad B, Fratiglioni L
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Abstract The Human Figure Drawing (HFD) test is a non-verbal test, mainly based on visuo-spatial and constructional abilities. In screening for dementia, the HFD test can be hypothesised as a good complement to Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), which is inherently limited by its verbal nature. In order to test this hypothesis, both MMSE and HFD tests were administered to 461 individuals recruited from a community-based study of the elderly (the Kungsholmen project). According to the Third Revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 95 subjects were affected by dementia and 366 were non-demented. We calculated the sensitivity and specificity of MMSE, the HFD test, and the combination of the two. Results showed that MMSE mean scores were significantly reduced between the non-demented group and groups with different severities of dementia. The mean scores of a short version of 29 HFD body details (HFD29) and seven HFD essential body details (HFDess) showed similar, but weaker trends than MMSE. However, the sensitivity increased by 4.2\% when HFD29 and HFDess were added to MMSE, compared to the MMSE test alone. This increase partially derived from the portion of questionable and mild demented subjects. Unfortunately, a high drop-out rate was present in the HFD test. We conclude that the use of HFD test has limitations in this well-educated population, due to a high number of refusals and only a small improvement in detecting mild demented cases. The application of this test in lower educated populations requires further investigation.
This article was published in Arch Gerontol Geriatr
and referenced in Clinical and Experimental Psychology