Smartphone Keystrokes Dynamics and Cognitive Function in MS: Michelle Chen, PhD


The neuropsychologist at Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, spoke about her most recent published study on assessing keystrokes on a smartphone in patients with multiple sclerosis. [WATCH TIME: 4 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 4 minutes

“Maybe there was a speed and accuracy trade-off where when people are typing faster, they're foregoing that tendency to try to make it more correct because they're prioritizing the speed over the accuracy.”

When it comes to digital communication, patients with less severe symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) and improved cognitive functioning may be better at observing their typing errors. The use of keystroke dynamics with smartphone technology has shown potential as a remote tracking tool for gathering information on the real-life cognitive functioning in patients with MS.1 Thus, monitoring patients cognitive functioning remotely through keystrokes may also assist with recognition of relapses, treatment efficacy evaluations, and disability progression.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Digital Health, 16 patients with MS typed slower (P <.001) and with more variably (P = .032) than the control group of healthy patients.1 Additionally, faster typing speed had an association with processing speed (P = .016), attention (P = .022), and executive functioning. Notably, faster typing was also related to less severe impact from fatigue (P <.001) and less severe anxiety symptoms (P = .007).

In a recent interview with NeurologyLive®, Michelle Chen, PhD, a neuropsychologist at Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, offered an overview on the study with keystrokes and MS. She walked through the methods of the study as well as highlighted the major findings. In addition, Chen spoke about the unexpected findings observed with the use autocorrect and within the control group.

1. Chen MH, Leow A, Ross MK, et al. Associations between smartphone keystroke dynamics and cognition in MS. Digit Health. 2022;8:20552076221143234. Published 2022 Dec 5. doi:10.1177/20552076221143234
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