Background: Paratonia is a dementia-induced motor abnormality. Although paratonia affects virtually all people with dementia, it is not well known among clinicians and researchers.
Objective: The aim of this study was to perform a systematic review of the literature on the definition, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and intervention of paratonia as well as to propose a research agenda for paratonia.
Methods: In this systematic review, the Embase, PubMed, CINAHL, and Cochrane CENTRAL databases were searched for articles published prior to December 2019. Two independent reviewers performed data extraction and assessed the risk of bias of the studies. The following data were extracted: first author, year of publication, study design, study population, diagnosis, assessment, pathogenesis, therapy and interventions.
Results: Thirty-five studies met the inclusion criteria and were included. Most studies included in the review mention clinical criteria for paratonia. Additionally, pathogenesis, method of assessment, diagnosis, and paratonia severity as are interventions to address paratonia are also discussed.
Conclusion: This systematic review outlines what is currently known about paratonia, as well as discusses the preliminary research on the underlying mechanisms of paratonia. Although paratonia has obvious devastating impacts on health and quality of life, the amount of research to date has been limited. In the last decade, there appears to have been increased research on paratonia, which hopefully will increase the momentum to further advance the field.