Old Man

Going consistent with reports linking walking speed to dementia, professionals at Alzheimer’s Association have revealed how gait changes could signify cognitive impairment. Generally walking difficulty is regarded as a natural consequence of aging.

But it is not so according to experts, who believe that slow walking could indicate the onset of cognitive decline. A group of individuals was inspected as part of the trial. Participants were divided into 3 groups of mild, medium and severe. Gait was measured with the help of a 10m electronic walkway with approximately 30,000 built-in pressure sensors. The volunteers were asked to walk and then do the same while saying animal names or counting numbers.

“With an aging baby boomer generation advancing into greater risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia, it is important for physicians to be aware of the associations between gait and mental function. These studies suggest that observing and measuring gait changes could be a valuable tool for signaling the need for further cognitive evaluation,” shared William Thies, PhD, Alzheimer’s Association® Chief Medical and Scientific Officer.

According to what was observed, walking gait seemed to change substantially and become slower as cognition declined. For all the subjects, walking speeds were supposedly slower during dual tasks, than single activities. Those with Alzheimer’s related dementia walked the slowest, followed by people with mild cognitive impairment and lastly people who were healthy.

Though gait analysis may not prove to be a diagnostic tool, it could aid the detection process and help select the course of treatment. Basically, analyzing the gait may serve as an indicator of memory issues before conventional diagnostic techniques are used.