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Walking Irregularities a Harbinger of Cognitive Decline?

Discussion in 'Gerontology' started by CamWhite, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. CamWhite

    CamWhite Active Member


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    In PM News this morning, and later on MSNBC's "Morning Joe", people are talking about gait disturbances among the elderly are are potential early warning signs for cognitive decline, including Alzheimers.

    I'm not in disagreement that a diseased brain probably affects ambulation, but there are so many other pathologies that affect gait that probably have no impact on mental health. Hallux rigidus, peripheral neuropathy, and a multitude of other pathologies affect gait, but I'm not sure they lead to cognitive decay. My father-in-law is in his late 80's. He has Meniere's disease. If spinal fluid builds up too much, it affects his gait, balance and cognitive abilities. Once the pressure is released, he is fine and very aware of his surroundings.

    If gait disturbances can help identify early onset Alzheimer's disease, then I hope it is part of a multidisciplinary approach in getting an accurate diagnosis. I have seen way too many elderly people with disturbed gait that are sharp as they can be. I would hate to see them rounded up, evaluated and medicated if they have occasional "senior moments".

    I'm not disputing the findings of the studies, they seem fairly obvious. The more diseased a brain becomes, the more it affects gait. I'm just concerned that poor gait, or changing gait patterns can lead people to drawing erroneous conclusions.
     
  2. Admin2

    Admin2 Administrator Staff Member

  3. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Articles:
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  4. NewsBot

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    Articles:
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    Reproducibility of gait variability measures in people with Alzheimer's disease
    Joanne E. Wittwer, Kate E. Webster, Keith Hill
    Gait & Posture; Article in Press

     
  5. The usual thing. The study reports correlation and the press infer causation, or unique correlation.
     
  6. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Articles:
    1
    Gait Speed And Cognitive Decline Over 2 Years In The Ibadan Study Of Ageing
    Akin Ojagbemi, Catherine D’Este, Emese Verdes, Somnath Chatterji, Oye Gureje
    Gait and Posture; Article in Press
     
  7. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Articles:
    1
  8. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Articles:
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    The impact of time of day on the gait and balance control of Alzheimer's patients.
    Paillard T et al
    Chronobiol Int. 2016 Jan 19:1-8
     
  9. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Articles:
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    What can gait tell us about dementia? Review of epidemiological and neuropsychological evidence
    Vyara Valkanova, , Klaus P Ebmeier
    Gait & Posture; 9 February 2017
     
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    Lawson and Western researchers suggest walking and talking can be an early predictor of dementia
    Early dementia detection can lead to halting its progression


    MEDIA RELEASE
    For Immediate Release
    May 10, 2017

    London, Ontario – In a new study, researchers at Lawson Health Research Institute and Western University are demonstrating that gait, or motion testing, while simultaneously performing a cognitively demanding task can be an effective predictor of progression to dementia and eventually help with earlier diagnosis. To date, there is no definitive way for health care professionals to forecast the onset of dementia in a patient with memory complaints.

    Dr. Manuel Montero-Odasso, a Lawson scientist, geriatrician at St. Joseph’s Health Care London, and associate professor in the Division of Geriatric Medicine at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, is leading the “Gait and Brain Study.” His team is assessing up to 150 seniors with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a slight decline of memory and other mental functions which is considered a pre-dementia syndrome, in order to detect an early predictor of cognitive and mobility decline and progression to dementia.

    “Finding methods to detect dementia early is vital to our ability to slow or halt the progression of the disease,” says Dr. Montero-Odasso. The study, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, followed participants for six years and included bi-annual visits. Researchers asked participants to walk while simultaneously performing a cognitively demanding task, such as counting backwards or naming animals. Those individuals with MCI that slow down more than 20 per cent while performing a cognitively demanding task are at a higher risk of progressing to dementia.

    “While walking has long been considered an automatic motor task, emerging evidence suggests cognitive function plays a key role in the control of walking, avoidance of obstacles and maintenance of navigation,” says Dr. Montero-Odasso. “We believe that gait, as a complex brain-motor task, provides a golden window of opportunity to see brain function.”

    The “gait cost,” or speed at which participants completed a single task (walking) versus a dual-task, was higher in those MCI individuals with worse episodic memory and who struggle with executive functions such as attention keeping and time management.

    “Our results reveal a ‘motor signature’ of cognitive impairment that can be used to predict dementia,” adds Dr. Montero-Odasso. “It is conceivable that we will be able to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias before people even have significant memory loss. Our hope is to combine these methods with promising new medications to slow or halt the progression of MCI to dementia.”

    The study, “Association of Dual-Task Gait with Incident Dementia in Mild Cognitive Impairment”, was published in the journal, JAMA NEUROLOGY.
     
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