Possible Correlation Between Changes in Gait and Alzheimer’s

We have discussed in the past that an active lifestyle may be a deterrent to the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. Recent studies have indicated that there may be a correlation between changes in the way one moves to early signs of the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease. The New York Times reports on five studies recently released, which show that decreased cognitive function can often manifest itself in the simplest of everyday tasks, such as walking.

In one study, participants were asked to walk normally, as well as to walk while performing seemingly simple tasks, such as counting backwards. Researchers found that individuals with mild dementia or Alzheimer’s had difficulty maintaining a normal gait while performing some of these tasks. In certain cases the participants were unaware of their inability to maintain a normal pace or gait while multi-tasking.

A study conducted by the Mayo Clinic administered walking tests followed by cognitive tests. It appeared that people with difficulty adjusting their normal gait, and people with slower than average walking speeds, scored lower on cognitive tests given as a follow-up.

Doctors involved in the studies pointed out that this research is in its infancy, and much more research needs to be done. With this new knowledge, however, perhaps recognizing and treating dementia and Alzheimer’s is entering a new phase.

The full report can be found in the New York Times.

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