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August 2, 2014

Slow Gait Predictor of Cognitive Decline?

Motoric cognitive risk syndrome (MCR) is a newly developed diagnosis that incorporates cognitive symptoms without dementia and slow gait or impaired mobility. Analysis of data from 26,802 older adults indicates that decreased scores on standardized cognitive tests and a walking speed 1 deviation below norm for a persons age and sex, may be predictive of cognitive decline, such as Alzheimer's Disease.

Along with simple cognitive tests, analysis of gait speed using a stopwatch to time an individual walking over a fixed distance, has the potential to predict risk for cognitive impairment more than 3 years out.

Gait speed has a common metric, high reliability between different protocols, and excellent validity in predicting health outcomes, he noted. And, unlike neuropsychological, laboratory, and imaging tests that can detect predementia syndromes, gait speed testing is readily available and practical in most settings.

This means simple screening tests could be performed in third world countries and first world country poverty settings where resources are limited. It's simple and does not have to be administered by a doctor and be done in wide variety of settings, further keeping costs down. This would allow clinicians to identify high risk individuals and flag them for further investigation.

Posted by linda at August 2, 2014 5:38 AM

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