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Dual decline in gait speed and memory function seen as most predictive of future dementia

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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.”

The Study:

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.

The Study in Context:


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