Psychologists studied the painting of seven famous artists using fractal analyses to figure out if the changes of their pattern and brush strokes can help in the detection of neurodegenerative diseases before they can be diagnosed.
A study at University of Liverpool
with their colleagues at Vale of York and Maynooth University, Ireland studied a staggering 2092 paintings of seven famous artists who experienced both normal ageing and neurodegenerative disorders.
The seven painters are: Salvador Dali and Norval Morrisseau who suffered from Parkinson's disease; James Brooks and Willem De Kooning who had Alzheimer’s disease; and Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet who had no recorded neurodegenerative disorders.
Their paintings' brush strokes were analysed using 'fractal' analysis which is a method used in all areas of science by studying fractal dimensions and characteristis using non-traditional mathematics.
Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh
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The artists' genre and style may be different but the fractal analyses can still compare the data set.
The result of the study showed significant change in the fractal dimension of the paintings of those artists who suffered neurological deterioration from those aged normally.
“We have built on this tradition by unpicking artists ‘handwriting’ through the analysis of their individual connection with the brush and paint. This process offers the potential for the detection of emerging neurological problems," explained Dr Alex Forsythe, the lead psychologist of the study.
That's some kind of art, erm paint.
“We hope that our innovation may open up new research directions that will help to diagnose neurological disease
in the early stages”
The study is published in Neuropsychology
journal at American Psychological Association.
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