June 2009

Document Type


Degree Name



Dept. of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology


Oregon Health & Science University


Many elderly people are affected by a decline in cognitive abilities as they age. While commonly linked to general aging processes, this decline can be indicative of disease [1]. Cognitive decline can occur as a result of natural causes but may become exacerbated by other physiological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease [2]. The ability to monitor and detect cognitive decline has diagnostic and clinical benefits [3]. This research looks to study and monitor cognitive decline through motor speed changes, as they may predict cognitive and also functional decline [4-8]. I hypothesize that keystroke speed as determined by a standard unobtrusive computer keyboard typing test can be used as a remote surrogate for a Halstead-Reitan finger-tapping test commonly used in neuropsychological testing, and that the resulting motor skill assessment will strongly correlate with cognitive function among the elderly as observed in initial assessment of our multiyear longitudinal study. Our results indicate a correlation between our typing speed assessment and results of the finger tapping test.




School of Medicine



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