London: A painting is not only a work of art, that pleases the eye and the mind. It may now even reveal if the artist is suffering from -- or is about to suffer from -- disorders like Parkinson's or Alzheimer's.
This conclusion has been reached by a new study of works of seven famous painters who experienced both normal ageing and neurodegenerative disorders.
The study, published in the journal Neuropsychology, used a method of applying non-traditional mathematics to patterns known as 'Fractal' analyses to identify complex geometric patterns.
"We have built on this tradition by unpicking artists' 'handwriting' through the analysis of their individual connection with the brush and paint," said Alex Forsythe of University of Liverpool, UK.
"This process offers the potential for the detection of emerging neurological problems" even before they are diagnosed, he said.
The study found that of the seven artists, two had suffered from Parkinson's disease, two had suffered from Alzheimer's and three had no recorded neurodegenerative disorders.
"Art has long been embraced by psychologists as an effective method of improving the quality of life for those persons living with cognitive disorders," added Forsythe.