"We included a task which involved moving a computer mouse in the opposite direction of a visual target on the screen, requiring the person's brain to think before and during their hand movements," said Lauren Sergio, a professor from York University in Canada.

"This is where we found the most pronounced difference between those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and family history group and the two control groups," Sergio explained.

For the test, the participants were divided into three groups those diagnosed with MCI or had a family history of Alzheimer's disease, and two control groups, young adults and older adults, without a family history of the disease.

The study found that 81.8 percent of the participants that had a family history of Alzheimer's disease and those with MCI displayed difficulties on the most cognitively demanding visual motor task.

"The brain's ability to take in visual and sensory information and transform that into physical movements requires communication between the parietal area at the back of the brain and the frontal regions," Sergio noted.

"In terms of being able to categorize the low Alzheimer's disease risk and the high Alzheimer's disease risk, we were able to do that quite well using these kinematic measures," co-researcher Kara Hawkins from York University noted.

The study appeared in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

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