Intra-individual lap time variation of the 400-m walk, an early mobility indicator of executive function decline in high-functioning older adults?

Qu Tian, Susan M. Resnick, Luigi Ferrucci, Stephanie A. Studenski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Higher intra-individual lap time variation (LTV) of the 400-m walk is cross-sectionally associated with poorer attention in older adults. Whether higher LTV predicts decline in executive function and whether the relationship is accounted for by slower walking remain unanswered. The main objective of this study was to examine the relationship between baseline LTV and longitudinal change in executive function. We used data from 347 participants aged 60 years and older (50.7% female) from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Longitudinal assessments of executive function were conducted between 2007 and 2013, including attention (Trails A, Digit Span Forward Test), cognitive flexibility and set shifting (Trails B, Delta TMT: Trials B minus Trials A), visuoperceptual speed (Digit Symbol Substitution Test), and working memory (Digit Span Backward Test). LTV and mean lap time (MLT) were obtained from the 400-m walk test concurrent with the baseline executive function assessment. LTV was computed as variability of lap time across ten 40-m laps based on individual trajectories. A linear mixed-effects model was used to examine LTV in relation to changes in executive function, adjusted for age, sex, education, and MLT. Higher LTV was associated with greater decline in performance on Trails B (β = 4.322, p < 0.001) and delta TMT (β = 4.230, p < 0.001), independent of covariates. Findings remained largely unchanged after further adjustment for MLT. LTV was not associated with changes in other executive function measures (all p > 0.05). In high-functioning older adults, higher LTV in the 400-m walk predicts executive function decline involving cognitive flexibility and set shifting over a long period of time. High LTV may be an early indicator of executive function decline independent of MLT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115
Number of pages1
JournalAge
Volume37
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Executive function
  • Lap time variation
  • Longitudinal study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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