Walking Speed Helps Predict Future Dementia (MedPage Today):
Dual decline in gait speed and cognition carried a higher risk of dementia than either gait-only decline or cognitive-only decline, reported Taya Collyer, PhD, of Monash University in Victoria, Australia, and co-authors, in JAMA Network Open…
“Slowing gait and failing memory may be the best combination of clinical measures to identify people at risk of future dementia,” co-author Michele Callisaya, PhD, of the National Center for Healthy Aging at Monash University and Peninsula Health, told MedPage Today.
“By the time a diagnosis of dementia is made, there’s already been a substantial buildup of pathology in the brain,” Callisaya said. “It’s important to identify at-risk individuals early to address modifiable risk factors for dementia prevention and start new treatments as they become available.”
“Gait speed is quick to measure and only requires a measured distance and a stopwatch,” she pointed out. “Slowing of more than 0.05 meters per second per year should trigger a more comprehensive assessment.”
Association of Dual Decline in Cognition and Gait Speed With Risk of Dementia in Older Adults (JAMA Network Open Geriatrics). Key Points:
- Question: Which cognitive measure among global cognition, memory, processing speed, and verbal fluency is most useful in assessing risk of future dementia when combined with gait decline?
- Findings: In this cohort study of 16?855 relatively healthy older people in Australia and the US, a dual decline in gait and cognitive function compared with nondecliners was significantly associated with increased risk of dementia. This risk was highest in those with both gait and memory decline.
- Meaning: These results highlight the importance of gait in dementia risk assessment and suggest that dual decline in gait speed and a memory measure may be the best combination to assess future dementia.