Drawing Disorders in Alzheimer's Disease and Other Forms of Dementia

Luigi Trojano, Guido Gainotti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Drawing is a multicomponential process that can be impaired by many kinds of brain lesions. Drawing disorders are very common in Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, and can provide clinical information for the distinction of the different dementing diseases. In our review we started from an overview of the neural and cognitive bases of drawing, and from a recollection of the drawing tasks more frequently used for assessing individuals with dementia. Then, we analyzed drawing disorders in dementia, paying special attention to those observed in Alzheimer's disease, from the prodromal stages of the amnesic mild cognitive impairment to the stages of full-blown dementia, both in the sporadic forms with late onset in the entorhino-hippocampal structures and in those with early onset in the posterior neocortical structures. We reviewed the drawing features that could differentiate Alzheimer's disease from vascular dementia and from the most frequent forms of degenerative dementia, namely frontotemporal dementia and Lewy body disease. Finally, we examined some peculiar aspects of drawing disorders in dementia, such as perseverations, rotations, and closing-in. We argue that a careful analysis of drawing errors helps to differentiate the different forms of dementia more than overall accuracy in drawing.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberJAD160009
Pages (from-to)31-52
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 22 2016


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • constructional apraxia
  • drawing disorders
  • frontotemporal dementia
  • Lewy body disease
  • vascular dementia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Psychology


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