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The Stick Design test: A new measure of visuoconstructional ability



Visuoconstructional ability is an important domain for assessment in dementia. Use of graphomotor measures dominate this area; however, participants with low education produce results that cannot be easily interpreted. Our objective was to develop and validate a nongraphomotor assessment of visuoconstructional ability for use in dementia evaluations in persons with low or no education. In a longitudinal, population-based study of dementia among Yoruba residents of Ibadan, Nigeria aged 65 years and older, participants underwent clinical assessment with a battery of cognitive tests and consensus diagnosis. Performance on two visuoconstructional tests, Constructional Praxis and Stick Design, were compared. Gender, age, and education affected performance on both tests. The Stick Design test was more acceptable than Constructional Praxis as measured by the number of participants with total test failure (3.9% vs. 15.1%). The Stick Design test was significantly more sensitive to cognitive impairment and dementia than the Constructional Praxis test. We conclude that Stick Design is a reasonable test of visuoconstructional ability in older cohorts with very limited educational exposure and literacy. (JINS, 2005, 11, 598–605.)


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Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Frederick W. Unverzagt, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, Indiana University School of Medicine, 1111 W. 10th Street, Suite PB 218A, Indianapolis, IN 46202. E-mail:


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