Deterioration in the frontal and prefrontal cortex associated with executive functions (EF) occurs with age and may be associated with changes in daily performance. The aim of the present study was to describe changes occurring with age in Executive Functions (EF) and handwriting activity, as well as to analyze relationships between age, EF and handwriting performance. The study population included 80 healthy participants (aged 31 to 76+) living in the community. After answering five questions about their writing habits, the participants completed the Behavioral Assessment of the Dysexecutive Syndrome (BADS). In addition, they performed a handwriting task on a digitizer included in the Computerized Penmanship Evaluation Tool (ComPET), which provides kinematic measures of the handwriting process. Significant differences were found between the four age groups for both EF and temporal and spatial handwriting measures. A series of regressions indicated that age predicted 35% of the variance of the BADS profile score (EF control) and 32% of the variance of in-air time while writing. The results of this study indicated age effect on both EF control and handwriting performance. Possible implications for further research and clinical evaluation and intervention are discussed.

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Published in: Human Movement Science, 2013, 32, 363-76