Gait speed under varied challenges and cognitive decline in older persons: A prospective study

Nandini Deshpande, E. Jeffrey Metter, Stefania Bandinelli, Jack Guralnik, Luigi Ferrucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: to examine whether usual gait speed, fast gait speed or speed while walking with a cognitive or neuromuscular challenge predicts evolving cognitive decline over 3 years. Design: prospective study. Setting: population-based sample of community-dwelling older persons. Participants: 660 older participants (age ≥ 65 years). Measurements: usual gait speed, fastest gait speed, gait speed during 'walking-while-talking', depression, comorbidities, education, smoking and demographics were assessed at baseline. Cognition was evaluated at baseline and follow-up. A decline in MMSE score by ≥ 3 points was considered as significant cognitive decline (SCD). Results: adjusting for confounders, only fast speed was associated with cognitive performance at 3-year follow-up. One hundred thirty-five participants had SCD over 3 years. Participants in the lowest quartile of usual speed or walking-while-talking speed were more likely to develop SCD. Conversely, participants in the third and fourth quartiles of fast speed were more likely to develop SCD. J-test showed that the model including fast speed quartiles as a regressor was significantly more predictive of SCD than the models with usual speed or walking-while-talking speed quartiles. Conclusion: measuring fast gait speed in older persons may assist in identifying those at high risk of cognitive decline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-514
Number of pages6
JournalAge and Ageing
Volume38
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Ageing
  • Cognition
  • Elderly
  • Gait speed
  • Significant cognitive decline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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