Changes in walking speed 'offer clues about dementia'

13 June 2012

Changes in the speed of walking in later life may indicate that certain people are in the early stages of dementia, a new report has stated.

In a study involving 93 participants over the age of 70 who lived alone, 54 of whom had no cognitive impairment, 31 who had non-memory related mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and eight with memory-related MCI, it was found that those with non-memory related MCI were more likely to be slower walkers.

"In our study, we used a new technique that included installing infrared sensors in the ceilings of homes, a system designed to detect walking movement in hallways," commented Dr Hiroko Dodge, author of the study, which was published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The experiment involved getting the participants to take part in memory and thinking tests, while monitoring their pace of walking within their homes. This happened over a three-year period.

Dr Dodge said that this research would go a long way to helping elderly people maintain independence in a very sustainable way.

Posted by Edward Bartel

 

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